Friday, April 11, 2014

NEVER say Never

Looking back, becoming a professional trimmer wasn't even in my wildest dreams, let a lone a career upon which I'd ever thought to have embarked.  I never dreamed I'd one day be looking at foundered & laminitic horses with the eyes of a professional Barefoot Trimmer.  Then I lost my long-time, boring desk job.

Fortunately I'd been trimming some of my own horses for almost 20 years.  When you have 20+ horses it's just a little hard to afford to pay someone to trim them all on a regular schedule.  I was so VERY lucky to meet a professional Barefoot Trimmer who was a great mentor & teacher, & who's now a great friend as well.  She trimmed my stallion, DreamCatcher Alshain, when he was being shown to his Region III Reserve Champion SHIH Stallion title.  She used my horses to teach others to trim, & in that process she also taught me to do more than just a flat, pasture trim.  About a year before I lost my job, she even told me she'd refer clients to me if I wanted.  Uh, no, I was working a 20+ year, 40 hour a week job that I'd never quit to strike out on my own.  Then came budget cuts.

As the terror of being unemployed struck me, several friends, including my trimmer friend, reminded me that I could start trimming professionally.  Really?  Could I really?  It was then that I joined Pacific Hoof Care Practioners & began my journey into the professional hoof care world.  As one of my required mentorships, I spent a 14 hour day with a vet who's also a hoof care professional with PHCP.  Her specialty is foundered & laminitic horses.  After that long, eye opening day I vowed to NEVER trim a foundered or laminitic horse.  It was shortly after that, that I learned to NEVER say never.

One of my first trims as a professional was a severely foundered gelding.  I'd been told he was a little lame, but when I got there I was in for a surprise.  He could barely walk & his feet were LONG & already "dishing".  The poor owner told me how the vet said he was only colicking & that was why he kept laying down.  When her shoer came out, he's the one who told her the gelding was foundering & that she needed to call someone else as he didn't work on foundered horses.  Lucky me!  Actually, it WAS lucky me because I learned so much with that gelding.  I recalled everything I could from my mentorship with the vet & slowly started working.  In the beginning I trimmed him every 2 weeks.  His owner was great in fixing his diet; feeding soaked hay in nets, muzzling him to keep him off the grass, & starting him on CA Trace, a wonderful, balanced mineral supplement.  She also kept him in boots.  It was amazing to watch that gelding improve.  At first it was just a slight improvement in the way he stood.  Then he started walking with a bounce in his step.  I'd been so focused on his trim that when I finally noticed his hooves were looking "normal", I was happily surprised.  It took a few months but the time came when that gelding was sound enough in boots to be lightly ridden.

That gelding gave me the confidence to accept more & more foundered & laminitic horses as clients.  Today close to 1/2 my clientele is foundered or laminitic horses.  It was so horrifyingly surprising to learn there were that many horses in metabolic crisis.  I'm so fortunate in so many ways.  I'm actually thankful I lost my job because I LOVE my CAREER.  I'm so happy to be called for foundered & laminitc horses because I love helping them.  After the scary time of having my very own foundered horses, I've learned so much & come so far.  Today I welcome the foundered & laminitic horses who come into my life.  Each one teaches me something that can possibly help me help the next horse.  I'm so thankful I did a mentorship with such a wonderful vet & trimmer.  That day when I said NEVER, came back to haunt me.  But I overcame & today the word is I WILL.

My journey down the founder & laminitis road has been rough & rocky.  But it's been so worth it.  Yes, today I WILL.