A Hot Shoe and European Torch

Though the title sounds like items on a great, and hopefully true, adventure with Indiana Jones. The adventure is really about witnessing my first hot shoeing with a farrier and watching my first equine dentist in action.

The patient was no other than the ham Eldorado's Tune, better known in short as "'Dorado" or "D" (if you are my 2YO nephew "orado"). Dorado is an OTTB with a nice track record and has discovered he absolutely rocks at jumps in the eventing world for a second career.

Dorado was first examined by his dentist, or the trained veterinarian. The vet was impressed with how good D's teeth looked and asked about how much grain he eats. D definitely enjoys eating and horses that eat a lot of grain typically need their teeth floadted on a pretty regular basis. A regular diet of beet pulp and other grainy goodness hasn't phased D's pearly whites. "We will try again in six months" said the vet...yet it had already been six plus months since his last float! 

This was my first time observing all the tools up close and I was interested in learning about the various foods that do help keep teeth from wearing to points. Unfortunately for me, but fortunately for D and his owner, I did not get to see the tools in action with such pristine teeth.  Though watching Dorado's facial expressions was fun, I will have to wait another day to see the equine dentist in action!

I did however gnab a few photos of the examination by the vet/dentist. Thus the flashlight being used with D's mouth (in the UK flashlights are known as torches).

However, what I was able to witness was the hot shoeing of Dorado. When I was a boyscout, we were trained on how to do the grooming aspect of hoof care, but Dorado's owner kindly has been giving me a refresher course. I never can get past the smell from the dirt that is cleaned out of the hooves. Trim, prim, file and form. Man, a finely tailored shoe every time, I have a right to be jealous!

The farrier did all the normal farrier things I have seen before, but like I said, the twist was the literal hot shoe. I enjoyed watching the shoes being placed in the portable metal furnace on the back of a work truck. Then glowing bright orange once removed to be hammered if needed, but placed on the hoof to sear the shoe's form. 

Farriers are craftsmen indeed. I am always impressed with how much can be done just by feel and experience in shoeing horses. Watching the nails being removed and new nails hammered precisely back in place in rapid movement reveals years of practice and thousands of shoes reworked. All of these seemingly delicate tasks being performed while carrying full, pleasent conversation. If you know me, I enjoy meeting new people and this was an interesting guy who had an interesting story. If the barn ever had to be compared to a social setting analogy, the barber shop set up and conversation may fit best.


Dorado's Story Continued...second careers

In 2011 I ventured out to Antebellum Farm in Lexington, KY for the Antebellum Combined Tests with a couple of co-workers. One of my co-workers was Erica Larson who owns an Off the Track Thoroughbred (OTTB) that she competes with.

The purpose of the trip was to support Dorado as well as learn about grooming and understand OTTBs in second careers better.

While setting up my camera during warm ups for Dorado's division, one discussion particularly caught my attention between two ladies. One of the girls was waiting to go on course for jumping in Erica's division. This competitor mentioned that she was an assistant trainer for a Thoroughbred racing trainer. Thus she was discussing how she has always been around the track and competed in events and combined tests with OTTB's, but horses leased or borrowed from her trainer.

She mentioned "I always have preferred Thoroughbreds and have competed with several over the years." She went on to reminisce on past OTTBs she has evented with, but excitedly explained the horse she was on today was actually chosen and possessed by her, versus being borrowed or possibly leased from her trainer. How great that she accomplished her goal of rescuing and owning her own horses, let alone a second career OTTB.

Come full circle to 2012 and I have already been to Dorado's first Combined Tests competition. He has his second competition coming up this weekend! Both competitions held at the Kentucky Horse Park. The first competition at the horse park held an award division for Thoroughbeds, highlighting specifically OTTBs. The competition Dorado is in this weekend, is for Thoroughbreds only.

Through venturing out and learning more on how people in second career opportunities view Thoroughbreds, I have been encouraged and impressed. Let's specifically point out the success of the Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program. This program has resulted in bringing more Off The Track Thoroughbreds and non-raced Thoroughbreds to competitions such as combined tests and events. With numbers up and increased attention and value to second careers, I am very proud our industry supports these athletes.

Follow Erica and Dorado's progress at their blog:

See Erica and Dorado's 2011 Dressage Test:



Angel's in the Photo Library
I raided The Blood-Horse photo library to scavenge for early Angel Cordero photos a few months ago. We have a guest blog in The Racing Hub on Cordero's race where he was injured , ending his career. Check that out here: http://cs.bloodhorse.com/blogs/racinghub/archive/2012/01/11/angel-cordero-s-last-ride.aspx

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