On Hooves & Love

Aval and his half sister, Acorn, resting by the wild apple trees this past summer. Horses know a summer meadow is the answer to the mystery of life.

Aval and his half sister, Acorn, resting by the wild apple trees this past summer. Horses know a summer meadow is the answer to the mystery of life.

I finally got to trim Aval’s hooves yesterday. I’ve been trying for weeks but the weather has been very uncooperative.  Aval is such a kindly fellow. You look at this massive animal and realize what power and speed he possesses, and yet if he disapproves of something–like moving his leg sideways a bit more than he is comfortable with (necessary to rasp the inner hoof wall)–all he does is turn his head back and gently nibble my pocket. He has kind eyes and can only be described as a kindly horse for all his fearsome size. He rests his head on my shoulders when I take the reins to position him and loves to be hugged. He is always calm and willing. In fact, Aval’s only fault is he would like to lay down and fall asleep with his head on my lap, as he used to do when he was colt a mere few weeks old. But those days are long past, and with an animal that weighs as much as a small car he must always respect my space. Now Aval has an arm’s length rule–no closer than an arm’s length without my permission. He doesn’t like it, but he abides it.

Trimming went well and his hooves are strong and healthy, though the ground had snow and mud, and every time I had to set a foot down to change between hoof knife, nippers or rasp, I had to clean the hoof again. The grit dulled all the tools and I’ll have to resharpen them today so I can touch up the other horses this weekend. The weather won’t be good for that much longer.

Because of the fading snow, the paths were slippery, so I couldn’t saddle him after and take him for a run as I usually do after a trimming. Poor Aval–he was very unhappy about that. He stood at the edge of the meadow and waited an hour for me to bring out the saddle. But I think today, after woodcutting, we’ll saddle up and make a run up to the cabin in the Old Wood. He should like that. Tomorrow, if the weather holds, perhaps we can get a ten mile ride in.

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