I finished the trimming course on Wednesday with a trim on a live horse. This happened under Claudia's watchful eye. Trimming a real horse (vs. a cadaver hoof) was a lot harder, but it also made a lot more sense. It also gave me more confidence that I will be able to trim Little Love. Perhaps I can't fix the problems she has on a larger scale, but at least I can perform a basic trim that will balance her hooves and help them grow (and wear) the right way. I thank Kristi, the pony, for being an absolute saint and letting me trim her feet, even if it took a while!
It has been amazing to watch Claudia trim different horses with her more advanced students. I never realized how big of a difference a good trim could make in a horse until I saw it with my own eyes. Often this change to the better can be seen instantly and doesn't require drastic changes in the hoof. A few swipes with the knife and rasp in the right places can add an elastic quality to a flat trot or relax the horse's shoulder so that it can reach more with every stride. Claudia's philosophy actually states just that: after the trim the horse should always walk away better than before the trim. I wish I could provide this for Little Love! Maybe some day?
I have also been looking for a place for Little Love here in Finland next summer. We'll be moving in July and obviously she needs a place to stay. When searching for a new barn, there are certain things I'm looking for in particular such as small and quiet with welcoming atmosphere, lots of outside time for horses, lots of hay and great trails. I think I would prefer an open stable (no stalls, horses can go in and out as they please), but finding such a place with enough space for the horses and well built structures is quite hard.
Today I visited a barn that I feel could be our next home. I had a really good feeling when I was there and the lady who runs the place has similar ideas about horses than I do (bitless, shoeless and no force). The barn has four stalls (perfect size) and the horses go outside together as a heard for the entire day. No arena, but the trails are phenomenal. The location is also quite good, as we are looking to move into the area. Of course, it's not the open stable I was hoping for, but perhaps for now this could work? Naturally I don't want to move Little Love here and then start "barn hopping", so I really need to think this over. I haven't really seen what else is out there, which makes me hesitant... but it also gives me hope that I could find a place where we both would feel comfortable.