Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Serendipity and Shoeing

Many of my blog readers may know that I am currently writing the rough draft manuscript for the third book in my Claire Hanover gift basket designer mystery series. The first book, A Real Basket Case, was set in my home town of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the second book, To Hell in a Handbasket, was set where my vacation home is in Breckenridge, Colorado and where I hope to live full-time soon. The third book will return to Colorado Springs, where Claire's brother Charlie moves his trail-riding stable business to from Durango.

The story kicks off with the death of a wrangler at the stable, who at first seems to have been stomped to death by a horse. An important clue is found by a farrier while re-shoeing that horse. I was writing that scene yesterday during one of my regular visits to Breckenridge, when I took a break in the afternoon to hike with my husband to a geocache on the ski mountain. We found the cache, Maggie's Cache, not too far from where Breckenridge Stables has their summer operation set up in the middle of one of the Peak 9 ski runs. So, on our way back from the geocache, we decided to stop by the stables and find out what kinds of rides they provide and look at the horses.

And serendipity struck!

Their farrier was there, taking care of the hooves on three of the horses. His name is Chris May and his business is Chris Farrier Service. He seemed to be very good with the horses, even a skittish one that wanted nothing to do with Chris touching his hooves. If anyone in Colorado is interested in contacting him to arrange farrier services for their horses, go to my website and click on "Contact Me" to send me an e-mail, and I'll send you his phone number and e-mail address.

The first two photos below shows Chris at work on one of the front hooves of a horse, using nippers in the first photo to trim the hoof wall, and using a file in the second photo to smooth down the surface of the hoof after trimming. Notice how he holds the hoof between his legs so the horse's leg is immobilized and he can work on it. Also notice his gray steel tool cart on wheels and the green hoof lift, which will come in handy later.

In the last two photos, Chris is doing the same work on a back hoof of the horse, but this time, he has placed the hoof on the hoof lift, so the horse can rest it on the sling. However, Chris still has his legs on either side of the horse's leg to immobilize it, and he's also pushing his shoulder against the horse to prevent it from shifting and knocking him over. Being a farrier is definitely physically demanding work!

I want to thank Chris for letting us observe his work and take photos and for answering my questions. I came home brimming with ideas for my scene and sat right down to finish it off!

No comments: