“The Farrier’s Hands”
Architectural pencil, oil pencil, and watercolor
   I’ve never had much interest in all the fancy tack, outfits, events, etcetera that go on around a horse farm. Living on Quail Roost Farm, however (I rented the old barn manager’s cabin, cheek by jowl to the main horse-barns), I came to know all the folks whom one wouldn’t otherwise know……the Mexican stall-keepers/cleaners (who did their work at night, before the SUV-driving, predictably platinum-haired horsey-ladies began showing up around 9 am each morning)….and the farriers. Now, THAT is a profession that requires some je-ne-sais-quoi (I’m avoiding the cliched “horse whispering)…..to get a 1500 pound animal to simply let you trim its hoofs and nail shoes on? In my experience, they’re always quiet, focused, perfectly pleasant men (presumably, there are female farriers, but I’ve never met one). My terriers loved the farrier at Quail Roost; We would sit in a row and watch him in the mornings when he drove up in his portable blacksmith truck, before spending two hours hammering and banging and burning horse’s hooves (singe-ing, or whatever they do). It is a stinky business; the dogs LOVED it, of course.
In any case, here’s my portrait of a farrier, and many thanks to Steve Long, of Fox Lair Farm (About twenty miles from Quail Roost) for giving me permission to paint his.