I’ve always been fascinated by the art of farriery.  From a small age with my own ponies I loved the days we had to visit the farrier.  My first farrier, Bryan, didn’t travel.  An old fashioned farrier with a forge in the centre of town.  We went to him, past the bakery and the shoppers.  Through traffic lights, standing with the lorries the red light. One of my favourite smells in the world is a hoof being singed for a shoe.  Bizarre I know, because burning in general is a horrible smell.  This though evokes fabulous childhood memories.  It always transports me back to days of silly fun.   My interest still continues today.

When a shoot was bought as a gift for a lady farrier I was really happy!

 

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Hayley Ellis (Foy) was the only girl on her course at college when she was studying to be a farrier.  Now around 15 years into running her own business in the Dorset, she’s still one of a minority in the trade.

Argent came into Hayley’s life by accident really, she wasn’t even looking.  However one day was working on a yard where Argent had come in to be sold.  After someone else had ridden him, Hayley downed tools and asked if she could take him down the road.  She liked him but carried on shoeing.  Not long after this she was hunting another horse and Argent was in the field.  The two riders swapped horses and Hayley decided that this handsome grey gelding could be her new eventer.    He came home, and that was about 18 months ago.

Although there’s a background in Pony Club, alongside her sister, Hayley admits that she’s never really been overly competitive over the years.  General rallies and typically events like Hunter Trials were the basis of their days out.  Today though this pair are aiming higher.  They’ve got 3 BE events under their belt from last year and thats very much the direction that all eyes are on for this year too.  There’s been a lot to work on though Hayley admits.  When she first got Argent he was very strong and was in a Waterford Gag.  Now after lots of dressage lessons and plenty of time to get to know each other he’s much easier to ride and generally is now in a snaffle for most phases.

Proving once again that so much can be achieved by learning how the kinks work!

I’ve seen Hayley out once or twice in the hunting field this past season.  The pair REALLY enjoy their time in the field, it’s their down time together. Ideal to switch off from the stresses of flatwork or gridwork.  It’s also been a fabulous way to learn more about each other.

Argent is kept at the family farm in a pretty village.  Quiet lanes and pretty stone walls lined my route there.  Hayley’s wedding was held there 3 years ago. As we wandered together she pointed out the gorgeous spots they used.  Such a lovely setting!  It’s also been great for their schooling and fitness work, Flat fields and long hills creating a great combination.  There’s no fancy facilities and this hasn’t stopped the pair.  I think this can drive you to find different ways that work for you.  Plans for the weekend included a dressage lesson.  I think their first BE entry is for Portman.

Standing around 17hh, Argent is very handsome and was super patient with what we got up to.  He stood and lapped up the attention.  A grey horse is never a good colour in the depths of winter.  All that mud to play in.  Why anyone wants to hunt or take one cross country baffles me!  However Argent was turned out to perfection.  He sparkled.  No hint of yellow in his tail either.  How on earth does Hayley manage this.

Well, she told me but there’s some tips there I’m not passing on!!

After some final pictures at the front of the farm, our time together was sadly over.  I said a final goodbye to all, including their 2 terrible terriers.

Timed to perfection.

The heavens opened about 200 yards down the road…

 

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Have a fabulous week ahead…

Rachel x

 

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