YEAH…THANK YOU TOM AND JOHNNY!
I am so busy here with my new friends. Each day I am feeling more and more confident in my new surroundings and I get to stay outside longer and do a bit more. The lads here are getting me ready to be ‘free’ in the paddock soon. Each day, we are making headway towards this goal! It is exciting! I’ll keep you posted when it happens.
This morning a helicopter flew overhead while I was outside…and I did not even blink. I am used to BIG AIRPLANES flying above me. They flew in and out of Los Angeles International Airport all of the time while I’d be outside grazing at Barn 55. So this was a very normal occurrence for me!
Several of you have asked questions about MY SHOES. So I asked Dottie if we could give you an explanation about this to help everyone have a basic understanding of the process. She and I consulted with John so you would have the proper information.
When I left the farm and went to the Keeneland Sale as a yearling, I had on what is called TRAINING PLATES. These are shoes made of steel. They are a heavier, larger type shoe that is used to help a horse do basic training. (I also wore them at Jeanne Mayberry’s farm when I was there as a yearling and a newly turned 2 year old.) They handle the wear and tear of basic training very well…especially in the early stages. A thoroughbred race horse normally gets new shoes one time per month. Of course, individual differences do apply…this is just a baseline.
When racing, John would have me use ALUMINUM SHOES. This is a lighter-weight type of shoe and it can be tapered to a horse’s foot. Tom Halpenny was my blacksmith while racing. He is a lovely Irish gentleman who has worked in this field and been around many very accomplished race horses his entire life. Tom would work with John on my feet…and they would constantly be reviewing how my shoes would be customized just for my needs. This is a real skill and a blacksmith is extremely important to a horse!
After my last race, John had Tom take off my Aluminum Shoes (the ones I wore in the Breeders’ Cup Classic)…and put Training Plates (Steel shoes) on me. As I was still at the barn and doing some light exercise each day on the training track, the steel shoes were the best ones for my feet. They were perfect for this stage of my day to day activity. Additionally, they were another baby-step in getting me ready for farm life. I wore them to KY last week.
After a couple days at the farm, last Thursday to be precise, my shoes were taken off. NOW…are you ready for this…my blacksmith here at Lane’s End is the same person who took care of my feet years ago when I lived in Kentucky! His name is Johnny Collins. He is the same man who put on my shoes when I went to the Keeneland Sale in September, 2005! He took care of my feet when I was a little girl! Now, here he is taking off my shoes at the farm several years later. This is absolutely adorable! Johnny told me he’d been keeping track of me and all of my progress since then! It was so great to touch base with him, my first blacksmith, after all of these years! We had a blast sharing all of the FUN times since we last saw each other!
Now, I’m BAREFOOT (no shoes)…which is great for a horse at the farm. You are outside playing in the field, thus, no shoe issues/problems can develop! It is very safe! That is why I commented the snow felt so good beneath my feet…no shoes! It is fun! From this point forward, Lane’s End and Johnny will monitor my feet. My darling ’4 hooves’ will be constantly checked…and ‘trimmed’ as needed. FYI—-Trimming a horse’s feet…is like you trimming your nails and keeping them properly groomed and cared for as needed. The objective of ‘trimming’ is to keep the horse’s feet nice and healthy!
I hope this information is helpful.
Now…HOW CUTE IS THIS! Johnny is back taking care of MY FEET! I am still smiling about this. Isn’t it amazing how so many things in life go FULL-CIRCLE! I am so fortunate!
Hugs to ALL!
Z's Diary December 14, 2010