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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Hooves, Footwear and Leather

Jared Brown, my farrier...or rather my horses' farrier, came by last week to trim the feet of Peaches and Lightly, mother and daughter. Jared gave me a hand crafted hoof pick, a double blessing because it's a gift of his talented hands and, just a few weeks ago, I mentioned to God I really needed another hoof pick. This pick is meant to be used either left or right handed and the curve means it fits into the palm of my hand easily. It also means I'm able to do a better job because the tool fits quite handily, giving me the benefit of all the weight brought to the task. Did I mention what a real gift and blessing this tool is?

Both Peaches and Lightly are American Curly horses and Peaches has lived here since 1996. The next year, Lightly was foaled (born) here and has never stepped foot off the farm. Lightly is an "easy keeper" and has always had problems. Years ago, an extension agent told me pasture is richest in three places in the world...Argentina, Kentucky and southwest VA. Most of the year, Lightly is kept off the richest pasture, put on the poorest pasture, and still, she founders. It's a trial for both of us. In addition to hand feeding her medications twice a day, I keep pads on her feet. These pads are made of plywood, trimmed to her specific hoof size and put on with duck tape. When weather is wet or, as evidenced above, when I've not put them on with enough duck tape, they pull off her feet.

sigh. All that hard work for naught. Her feet are tender so I choose the hoof that's less tender, lift it, hold the plywood to the bottom and, quickly, begin applying duck tape. The pads give her support, and, when stepping on stones, prevent her from additional pain. Once one hoof is finished, I give us both a few minutes to recover (my back, my back) and then begin on the second hoof. True, it's a stop gap measure but will give her relief from the pain of tender feet, give her additional, pain free time to continue healing and allows me to give her one on one time...sorely needed for both of us. Lightly is a good mare, she helps as much as possible by standing quietly, not fidgeting, then nuzzling me when I'm finished.

American Curly horses have extremely curly hair, are hypoallergenic and have calm, gentle, sweet dispositions. They are the perfect horse for children and old women -smile-.

A lot of people I know, in the evenings knit, spin, embroider, quilt, clean guns or some other work. It comes from wanting to keep busy, it comes from having so much to do, it comes from being industrious.  In the evenings, I vary between all those things and, lately, have been on a leather cleaning mission.

After all leather has been wiped with a clean cloth, Kiwi products are used to clean and treat the leather. This site gives wonderful explanations and photos. 

The cleaning and polishing takes the better part of a month, beginning with boots, then including shoes, luggage and finally handbags. It's a pleasurable task, one I take true enjoyment in and am left with good looking results that also feel good when in use.

~ paper towel card boards are used to keep tall boots upright ~
Dave and I would do this several times a year, more for foot wear that was in constant use. The leather suitcase, above, has a matching purse, both were purchased at a consignment store, many years ago. True, the case doesn't have wheels and must be hand carried but, to my mind, that's a small concession for such a beautiful piece of luggage. Old fashioned? Yes, but still with decades left of useful life and service and it came with the original key!

I'm almost ashamed to admit I've not done any of my leather goods since Dave's death. But, time has moved forward and now seems a good time to begin again. I'm fond of Ariat boots, above and filthy, and Tony Lama boots but can't remember ever paying retail for much of anything. Do you know about Sierra Trading Post? You's a fine place to buy just about everything...foot wear, clothing, home goods, camping and sports gear and all at great prices.

My Ariat riding boots clean up nicely, are well conditioned and, once again, soft and supple to the touch.

These Double H boots have had only one treatment and the difference is clearly visible.

Same with these boots...all the treated boots will be allowed to sit from one evening to the next and then the process begins again. They'll all be treated several times before I'm satisfied and the next load of leather goods brought downstairs so I can watch DVD's while working. The other good news is, I have no need of new boots in the next couple of decades ever. Most of these boots are twenty or thirty years old and, when properly taken care of, will last another twenty or thirty years my lifetime.  A good cobbler can put rubber tapes on heels or soles can be replaced.

I don't have a photo but gave a pair of Dave's combat boots to Dalton, son of friends, and we spent a few nice hours cleaning and shining our boots. He wears the combat boots to school where, he says, he's the envy of other thirteen year old boys. Dave wore those boots while in the Army, in the 1960's and now, close to fifty years later, they've been given another life and purpose.

When I've finished the boots, shoes, luggage and bags, the saddles and tack will be brought to the house and I'll start on them. By the time winter is over, all the leather goods should be finished and most, if not all, put back into use. There are those who might find such work onerous or dirty but I do not. Taking care of equipment means, in the long run, spending less money and, ultimately, taking care of me. When my equipment works at peak performance, it leaves me time to worry about the work needing my attention, not the equipment. That and it just plain gives me enjoyment and pleasure keeping my equipment nice. It makes me happy to know I'm being a good steward of what God has entrusted me; I believe it makes Him happy as well.

Merry Christmas, God bless us everyone.

P. S. For those who read this post when first published, you noticed several spelling errors, now corrected (at 4:34 a.m. When I get a bee in my bonnet, it must be answered.) All I can say is, that's what comes of exhaustion and watching a movie while apologies.

Blessings ~ hoof pick ~ Jared Brown ~ Kiwi products ~ leather boots, shoes, suitcases, bags, saddles, tack ~ small things giving great pleasure ~ Lightly, my sweet mare ~


  1. You are such a good steward of land, leather, hooves and things that are loved and meant to last. Merry Christmas, Sandra.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

  2. Poor horsie. I feel for horses who have hoof troubles. Glad you've found a good solution.

    I love leather and oiling it and polishing is something I don't mind doing at all. Boots especially, since we wear them most.

    Love that suitcase! It's beautiful.

    Merry Christmas!

  3. I assume the leather-cleaning is a good-smelling chore, as well. It seems like it would be.

    NICE that the boots have found a good new home.

    Love to you and all the critters on the farm, Sandra. ♥

  4. A Merry Christmas to you also ! Thank for this timely reminder. When my second oldest (15 years next month sigh) was here for a visit in November I let her wear my oldest boots. Ariat look a likes they are . Budget issues then you know. Anyway she loved them and I gave them to her to take home adding I would give her some saddle soap to keep them nice. Forgot. Your post reminded me. So next week when her younger sister comes for a visit it will go home with her . Speedy delivery.

  5. Leather and shoe care is something I have very little confidence about, so I find this post very inspiring. I always wondered, if I polish my handbags, will I be able to finish the job thoroughly enough that there is no chance of getting color from the polish on to my clothes later?

  6. Fantastic hoof pick - looks like your horse's farrier made if from half a horse shoe! Your writing of oiling and caring for your leather goods brings back those childhood memories of caring for our tack on the ranch...and my dad's corked logging boots - we used bear grease on those. Funny it should come back as a good memory but I don't think I enjoyed the process so much back then. God bless you and Merry Christ-mas :)

  7. Dear Thistle,

    let's meet this night in the silent forest, where the holy child is hidden between happy cats and dogs, singing deers, wondering sheep, dancing cows and quiet horses, who have no more to fear war.

    Let's meet this night in a silent monastery, where a hidden candle is shining so bright and enlightens softly the whole world.

    Lets meet with our hearts in the heart of the holy child.

    Your Christmas-Dori

  8. That pick is a lovely piece of functional craftsmanship. A blessing.

    I've been trying to email you that book we discussed, but I am having problems with Kindle on my end. I will keep trying.

  9. You are a wonderful steward dear Sandra with all that God blesses you with. You inspire me in all that you do.

    Have a love, joy & peace filled Christmas and may 2015 be a great year for you.

    Love, hugs and prayers ~ FlowerLady

  10. This brought back some used to be my job on Saturday to polish all the shoes for Sunday. We always took great care of our shoes, unlike today's world. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  11. My favorite hiking/work boots are 28 years old. Retired from days working in mud, they are great for days of working with pine straw or designing.

    Bless your horse stories, and you. Grace that you share them.

    Merry Christmas..

    Garden & Be Well, XOT

  12. Merry Christmas!

    ~Have a lovely day!

  13. Merry Christmas, and may you have many lovely evenings applying saddle soap! :)

    That leather suitcase is quite a treasure!

  14. Functional, handmade, and a gift...doesn't get much better than that!
    I've always taken pleasure in cleaning tack and riding boots on a regular basis, but as for shoes and leather bags and such, it's frustrating because if they are not in constant use, they get moldy so quickly here - is that a problem for you as well? I don't mind cleaning mud and muck, but I hate approaching moldy leather...ugh.
    I also have a pair of Ariats - they were my winter short boots, when I was wearing fleece-lined britches and could skip the tall boots for a change. They are - guess what? - moldy right now, and I've been putting off cleaning them because not only do I hate the mold, but every time I look at them it makes me think about how I'm not riding now and that takes me down a fairly useless path of memories and feeling kind of sorry for myself and worried about how much more physically-limited my life may become. Gosh, I'm writing a novel, and all from the idea of cleaning leather LOL!
    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, Sandra, and I hope your mare's feet feel better!

  15. Dear Sandra, I've missed the Christmas wishes but my wishes for you are for love and peace and joy. I hope this coming year will be easier for you but I know that whatever comes to you will be taken with courage and grace. I love hearing about your animals, and now you've inspired me to check my boots. Always mouldy here, so I often avoid looking at them but I know I really need to take control... Happy new year to you and yours, which includes your wonderful animals.

  16. I love reading your posts. Always very informative, well written and no matter the subject matter, there's always something to make me smile. So glad to know that your husband's boots are being worn well by a youngster now. Blessings for a wonderful day and soon to be a new year. All the best, Tammy

  17. Well-kept leather is so beautiful, and so soft! Good for you, taking the time to do it well. I know your horses love you :)


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