I just returned from Kentucky while attending the World Horseshoeing Classic at the Kentucky Horseshoeing School. Congratulations to Team Great Britain for coming from behind and winning the Classic. We have an article coming in the April issue about this year’s competition.
As you can imagine, the greater Lexington area is one of the best spots in the United States for finding a good horse story. Taking advantage of some downtime, I stopped at one of those places — Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital.
I spent the better part of the afternoon with Dr. Raul Bras, a Hall Of Fame vet who also is a farrier, and farrier Sam Zalensky. They worked on a few cases, which we’ll write about in an upcoming edition of American Farriers Journal.
Toward the end of the day, we were visiting with Victor Camp, a local retired farrier, who had stopped by to do some forge work. A frequent guest to the hospital’s farrier shop, Camp noted how he has never seen Bras crack when he’s under pressure. As you’re well aware, farriery can be quite stressful at times. Add the weight of a difficult case or an owner with high expectations when the situation is grim, and you are placed inside the pressure cooker.
Bras says it is important to remain calm and keep a positive attitude throughout your work. Always be aware of how your attitude can impact your work, as well as how it affects others’ perceptions of you.
“It is easy to be the hero and remain positive when things are going well,” explains Bras. “But when things aren’t going well, that’s when it is tough to remain positive.” Furthermore, he says when you encounter difficult situations, it becomes even more critical to remain calm and collected. Trusting in your skill and knowledge should help you in the face of adversity.
Bras says he’s had his fair share of difficult cases. Sometimes the decisions you make to help a horse won’t improve its problem. In those situations, your attitude in front of the owner helps foster their confidence in you. He recalls a case in which a horse came into the clinic, but after he worked on it, it walked away as lame as it had come in. The owner was staying in the area, so he instructed her to bring the horse back in the morning. It took a while that day, but he got that horse to where it was comfortable, sound and back to work. Despite the extra investment of time, the owner left happy because the end result was accomplished. A confident and positive attitude never dissuaded from what the outcome should be.
From reading a horse when it is brought to you to after you finish its feet, there are many decisions and steps to trimming and shoeing a horse. And while many of those are critical for maintaining soundness, don’t let a sour or frayed attitude in between those steps leave a poor impression of what was terrific work overall.