Saturday, September 15, 2007

Hometown Hoedown at the Co-op

Last night, after we trimmed a new customer's horses (Charlotte & Jackson) we went to the Ashland City Co-op's Hometown Hoedown. It is the first time to my husband's recollection that the co-op ever did something like this and it was great family fun. First, supper was free and plentiful. They did not run out of hot dogs, hamburgers or BBQ the entire night. I know my son went back for fourths and fifths in addition to staking out the drinks. Then the entertainment was free and very good. I don't remember the name of every group by the Briar Patch folks were amazing. And last but certainly not least, many folks we knew were there even though there was a pretty major home football game going on at the same time (Sycamore vs. Cheatham Central).

The trimming job was for some new customers who were just the sweetest. The Mrs. invited us in and we talked about babies and rooster decor and fun video games. It is always lovely to meet people who are pleasant to be with. Don't mistake trimming for shoeing. We don't shoe horses because it is not good for the horses. Many will disagree but first things first.

Let me tell about trimming horses. Most folks believe that "real" working horses are and have to be shod and that leaving your horse barefoot is somehow somewhat negligent or at least underclass on the part of the owner. Not so. There are plenty more experts out there on this than me, but here's how I understand it.

A horse's hoof expands and contracts as it moves. This expansion and contraction allow blood and oxygen to flow to the hoof and thus help it grow which in turn protects the horse's feet and allow them to carry weight and absorb shock more effectively. When you pick up a horses hoof to clean or trim it, it is contracted while you are holding it, because there is no weight on it. When you put it down and the horse stands on it, the hoof expands to absorb the downward thrust of the horse's weight.

Horses are shod, by necessity, by lifting up their hooves in turn and nailing the shoe on. So the shoe is fitted and applied when the hoof is contracted. Then you let the hoof down and the horse is standing on the shoe. The hoof doesn't expand because the shoe holds its shape. The force of the downward pressure is increased by 70-80 percent, I'm told.

I keep thinking of glue-on fingernails. When I put these nails on for the first time, it was cool. I had long fingernails and they looked absolutely fabulous. Later, like 6 weeks later, I decided that long nails and housework just were not working well together, so I took them off. Well, started to, anyway. My nails underneath were longer than they would usually have been but they were so thin and flimsy, I had to trim them back right away to keep them from tearing off. So my plan to secretly grow my nails, did not work out so well. I think shoes are like that. The hoof can't grow right with a shoe on it. It's just that simple. Go Barefoot by contacting at (WARNING: we work in the middle Tennessee area, so if you live in Oregon or someplace like that, we probably will refer to another farrier).

Back to the hoe-down (I feel so much better for getting that out there). I loved it, the kids loved it and I'll bet the co-op made a little money, too. Benny, the assistant manager, has a lovely daughter who is also very talented. She played her fiddle and sang with Briar Patch. She was wonderful and performed many oldie but goody bluegrass tunes. It was foot stompin' toe-tappin' time. My sweetie and I even pretended to dance for the camera. She was also working on her stage patter and told some hilarious blond jokes. Here is one she did with her teacher, who fiddles with Briar Patch.

Young girl: "You just got back from vacation didn't you."

Teacher: "Why, yes we did. We were supposed to go to Disney World for two weeks."

Young girl: "You told me you came back early because when you got there and saw the sign, it said Disney World, Left. So you did, too."

he he he

Great showmanship in a small town is not to be missed. We saw several notable folks there and got to talk shop with almost everyone. The folks I got my goats from were there and I was able to get information on Buddy's ever growing horns. Apparently billy goats' horns continue to grow out after they've been removed but the goat typically sloughs the growth off in play. Does do not grow anymore horn once they've been debudded. I saw their daughter taking photos for the local hometown paper. Thank you to the Pennick's for their community support.

Mr. Tom was there, too, camera in hand, talking with folks. We touched base on the regrowth of our poor vegetables that managed to survive this summer's lack of rain. He's been eating squash blossoms daily, also. And his okra has revived itself for one last burst of energy. Thank you, Mr. Tom, for your dead chicken story.

My good friend, Leslie and her gang came out a little later after chores were finished. Her tweens and teens had great fun socializing with their friends, while we made plans to get together for some riding and swapping on Sunday.

Also sighted were several city officials, including the sheriff and his wife. Our friends Allen and Teresa were helping out by selling t-shirts. The boys who load up my weekly feed order were there and were thoroughly enjoying the evening. Mr. West was there talking about how the drought affected his turnip green crop, but he sure enjoyed the fiddlin'.

It was so good to get out and relax, eat and visit. We all hope the Co-op does this again in the future.
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