There are two people who, once you've found the right ones, you never want to lose - hair stylists and farriers. We've been through our fair share of farriers in the last five years - seven, I think. There was one who got mad and jabbed my horse in the ribs with her clippers - for leaning on her. There was another who wanted to drug every horse he touched, for his own safety - even though we work very hard to have calm, easy-to-shoe horses. There was the one who was habitually two DAYS late, two who just did really crap jobs.
So when we tried this farrier last summer, and he was so wonderful, I tattooed his number on my arm for safe-keeping. Not really. But I did put it in my phone, in my husband's phone, and on my computer. Oh, and on a paper hung in our tack room. And tattooed on my arm.
He's calm, confident, moves quietly around the horses, expects fidgeting when there are flies, does a fantastic job on their feet, will work with even tiny Cookie ... But this last time, he went above and beyond. Hannah asked to help and he gave her the all-important job of picking up the nail ends with his long-handled magnet.
And he answered every question the girls had while he worked.
I've always kept them away while he worked before, but this time it was just the one horse, so it was more safe, and he really seemed to enjoy their chatter and questions - and blatant admiration. When I tried to move them away, he said "No, don't. They're listening when I tell them where to be to stay safe and I like their questions." So I left them.
Ainsley got distracted because, well, she's four years old.
But the farrier's dog never got distracted.
She's trained never to leave the truck at a client's home, but that doesn't mean she can't keep a close eye on the cats. Once that kitten laid down there, just laughing at the dog, the dog never moved. Just stood there and stared.