Chester is a wonderful worker, but he has a reputation for being the most difficult horse on their farm to shoe. He doesn’t like people touching his feet.
According to Farmer Jeremy, the job of carefully shoeing Chester can sometimes take three hours for just two shoes. But on this morning, he and Ian were finished within an hour and a half, which is probably record time.
What made the difference? So far, the farmers can only speculate. For one, Jeremy and Ian took Chester to a different part of the barn, onto the new concrete threshing floor. The area here is much more open than where the horse stalls are, and the open doors practically make it feel like you’re standing outside. Was it the open space that put Chester at ease? Or was it the solid concrete footing underneath? Or was it the scenic views? Or maybe he liked the rain?
Through the years I’ve heard from people who know horses well that sometimes just a change of scenery can make a big difference. Horses are prey animals, and their memory of a scary experience can be long and deep. Perhaps Chester once had a bad experience while being shoed in a confined space, and still stresses about it.
What can make horsemanship so challenging is that every horse has its own personality and a set of life experiences that influence its behavior. It’s not nearly so complicated with a tractor, but then again, perhaps not so interesting.