Monday, January 21, 2013


Those of you who have owned horses and dogs at the same time  all ready know that a horse hoof fragment as a byproduct of hoof trimming is a to-die-for dog treat. It is such a treasured chew that it brings out impeccable dog manners in hopes for one of the delicious morsels. 

In truth, the blacksmith's visit ranks right up there in a dog's life equal to a child's delight in Santa. As much as the meter reader or mail carrier is loathed by most dogs, the blacksmith is adored.

My blacksmith Chris and I were good friends. While I was a bunch older, I had been one of his first customers and we had the easy, fond relationship of long time friends.  

Often when he was through with the horse and pony, we would share an iced tea  and solved all the world's problems while the kinks worked out of his back. We were "big issue" in sync and had lovely head nodding discussions. 

But, he was also a self depreciating story teller and you know how I love stories. Chris had a grin on his face as he started to tell me about one of  his customers the previous week.

Seems a new customer expanded his job description that day. When he was through trimming their horse's hooves, the woman kind of dug her feet in the sand and colored up a bit in the cheeks.  

"Mr. B, there is one more thing I'd like you to do today if you wouldn't mind."

Chris was use to being asked to do  extra jobs that usually required strength so he good naturedly  agreed.  She led him to the porch where her husband sat in his rocker.   

Quickly he spotted his extra job. The man's cowboy boots had the toe cut off and the most gnarly looking toenails poked out. The big toenail was easily three inches longer than it should be. They not only were long, they actually curled.

"Can you do anything?" she asked hopefully. 

Chris got his giant hoof nippers out and hesitantly went to work. He tried just nipping off the ends and when that proved successful, he slowly nipped piece by piece till he got as close as he could to the toe.   Chris was sweating as much from the labor as he was in fear that he would hurt the man. While he would not have gotten a tip in a pedi-parlor with the results,  the man was almost normal once again. 

The fellow rose unsteadily from the rocker and weaved a bit.  "Dang mama," he said. " I must have used those things for balance." 

Chris said after they paid him with money and hugs, they beat him out of the drive way heading for town on a mission to get a new pair of boots, not open toed ones this time.   As Chris left the property,their family hound was enjoying the fruits of his labor, both horse and human.
While that operation was a success, Chris did not add that service to his business card.  He truly hoped never again. 

I loved Chris's story and could relate a bit. My dad had those same toenails from hell though he never let them get that out of control. When Dad would cut them with tin snips, we would all run and hide for they were dangerous weapons as they flew in all directions. All of us hid but the dog Susie. It was treat time for her. 

I tend to believe killer toenails are a"man thing" for I have never heard of a woman with this problem. 

Do you have someone in your life with nails of steel? 


  1. Never knew that problem in my family.

  2. OMG Patti. That is quite the story. I never knew that horse hoofs and toe nails were dog treats. But I've bought the commercial hoofs for Cody and she loves them so why not hang around a Smithy and get them for free, huh?

  3. What a story! It reminds me how much I miss you when you stay away from the blogosphere for awhile, Patti. You are a master storyteller yourself! :-)

  4. Good, grief. There is something about toe nails that gives me the willies. Ick.

  5. Funny! My friend used to babysit for 3 boys. She cringed when the dad came home first. She said he took off his shoes and socks first thing. His nails were so long they clinked off the floor when he walked. It completely grossed her out.

  6. Hahaha...what a story!!! Cindy (BF's horse) needs a trimming. Wonder if I should take Lucy (new puppy) and break her in on farm treats???

  7. That could have been my father!!

  8. My poor mother had one toenail that had been damaged from some kind of accident of possibly a nail fungus. She had to see a pediatrist regularly in order to keep it tamed.

  9. This is quite a story! My dad had some nails that were tough to trim.

  10. Please, don't ever let me get that old and clueless! What a story. I did know that dogs love to gnaw on hooves, but the thought of human ones kinda grosses me out!

  11. Yes, My mother had nails of steel and as she neared her 90s began to visit the podiatrist for help keeping them trimmed.

    Between nails of steel and post-stroke tone that curls up my left side and makes it hard to position my feet where I can safely deal with the steel, I am now visiting a podiatrist.

    I concur with Olga on the ick-factor but am thankful for professional help. Thanks for another interesting slice of life. Well-told!

  12. linda,
    Ah, lucky you.

    Exactly. Cody will thank you endlessly.

    Aw, you are too kind. Thank you so much.

    Ha,ha guess I should have rated this post "I" for ick.

    Yikes,now that was nasty. He had to know but I guess shoes hurt his feet.

    turquoise moon,
    Her puppy breath will disguise any hoof breath she might get and she will love you for it.

    Ha, you had one too.

    One time I am totally in favor of professional help. My grandmother in her 90's went regularly though she would never say why.

    I think it is primarily a man thing but a few women also have the problem. Women just don't let it get out of hand for vanity reasons.

    Dogs only seem to enjoy the over grown human ones. And yes, that is not pleasant.

    My grandmother in her 90's also had to visit a doctor for trimming. She never said why.
    I feel your pain. If I could afford it, I would definitely get a pedi. Though mine are still soft, my back makes it harder and harder to reach the rascals.

  13. Hmmm....I think I have just been told a nail story and only Patti would know such a story. Who are you any way? I guess if it could happen Arkansas Patti should be the one to tell the story. After all, she is the master. I think I better go see if my tin snips are sharp. You opened up a whole new world of awesome opportunities. I can't wait until my kids come for a visit.

  14. I don't remember my parents having any trouble with their toenails --but I do know that Mom and Dad Adams used to visit the Nail Place in Hendersonville and get both of their fingernails and toenails clipped... After they moved to Tullahoma (and after Mom died), I think Janet (G's sister) must clip Dad's nails for him now. I know that since he is almost blind, he can't do it himself....

    I'm sure that Chris hoped that he would never be asked to do that again... ha


  15. Good gracious! I've never heard of such a thing.

    I'll have to look for those treats for my grand-dog if they carry them at the pet shop. :-)

  16. Oh! No, no, NO! But glad he could help those people.

    I keep mine trimmed, neat and clean. I love sandals and other open-toed footwear in the summer, so I must have non-offensive feet. ;) As a runner, I think it's important to keep them trim. I am concerned about training for longer runs now, as I am told that after marathon distances, some nails can turn black and fall off. That would horrify me.

    Our horse is barefoot, so his Natural Hoof Care trimmer comes to see him about once every 8 weeks. She is wonderful. I don't allow the dogs to enjoy the hoof bits though. I am the nail guy for the cats and dogs. Dogs get trimmed ad now I've started using a Dremmel on them to take the sharp edges off. Cats are just clipped to keep the rugs from being destroyed.

    Interesting story!

  17. I knew about the dog treats, but I tell ya, I can't quit laughing about the old man and his toe-less boots.

  18. GQ,
    Ha, make sure they have safety glasses on first.

    How nice of her to do that for him. That is just one of the problems with aging. My back is so unlimber that it is uncomfortable for me to do them myself. There may be a pedi-parlor in my future.

    You can find them anywhere. Walmart carries them. Just stay away from Bully Sticks if you don't want to be really grossed out.

    Way to go, especially if you wear sandals.
    They are supposedly not harmful and good for their teeth thought I don't think it does much for the breath.

    I am so glad you found the humor. Think I grossed most people out.

  19. I've never heard of such long toenails on anyone. What a great story! I'm going to have google big toenails (of course) to see if I can get a look at such a thing!

  20. Nope, never heard of that in our family.

    It is amazing though, how well behaved my pooch gets when my horse shoer is here....

    Happy to see you writing again!



  21. oh Patti, I did not know that at all. Now my dogs are researching horse hooves on the internet ;-)

  22. Brilliant story ...never knew that about hoofs being dog treats either.
    Now for confession time ....I have terrible toe nails ...the small ones curl and are a nightmare to cut even when short as they are so thick for my big toes .. they are so thick but do not curl. I tend to leave them to about half inch as they act as a protection to the other toes. My toes are almost all the same length and one being longer makes everything more comfy...and yes even the cats hide when its toe nail cutting as there is no control on the missile direction. I leave you now .... shame faced ... and bright red in embracement. xx

  23. Oh, yes I do know someone with that problem. I live with him. It scares me half to death when he cuts his toenails. I get as far away as I possibly can because I never want to be on scene when he cuts off a toe. Sometimes he uses a sharp knife because he can't get anything else to cut them. He has cut his big toe a few times. He has never let his get as long as the man you wrote about or he would never get them cut.

    Chancy always looks for and eats all he can find of my fingernails and toenails when I trim them. I didn't know that about horse hooves though.

    I enjoyed reading this story. Hugs

  24. robin,
    Ha,careful what you search for. The pictures I found were too gross to post.

    Thanks, it is good to be back, even if it is not regularly.
    Oh they do love those morsels.

    Introverted Art,
    You can get calf and pig hooves at Walmart. Not sure horse hooves are available except via blacksmith. Your dog will love you.

    No need to be embarrassed. Pretty sure it is a genetic thing you can't help. I just found out from my sister that we had an aunt with them also. The flying missiles really are wicked weapons aren't they??

    Maggie M.
    We used to ask Dad to go outside when the weather was nice. They are so tough and hard that it really is very hard to cut them. I wish you both luck. Wonder if there are special tools today??

  25. Yes, there was a time when we owned one horse and about 6 dogs. I had forgotten how much they loved the "trimmings" used to gross me out !!

  26. Ginnie,
    Six dogs would have kept your farrier aware not to show partiality and cause a squabble. A great source of protein.

  27. FYI - Safety glasses are at the ready! "-)