Friday, September 23, 2016

Famous Amos

I have started doing some farrier work for the guy who used to own Ben.  Like so many horse owners in this area, he is frustrated by the farrier care available.  He is trying to do the right thing for his animals, but it hasn't been working well.  We got to talking, as horse people always do, and one thing led to another and I find myself doing farrier work for him.  I never intended to become a farrier, but it seems like I have been doing an awful lot of it lately, despite my intentions.  Isn't that always the way of the world?

There are two new horses, Amos and Levi, that I am working on now along with a handful of donkeys.  Amos is the one who's feet I remembered to take pictures of so he is the first one to talk about.

Amos is in his mid twenties and came to live in his new home this Spring.  He is a Standardbred who likely started out his career many years ago as a harness racing horse.  From there, he went to the Amish and has been a hard working cart horse his whole life.

The Amish I have met are generally like most people, some are really nice, some are really awful and most fall somewhere in between.  Some Amish love their animals and take great care of them.  Many Amish have animals only because they have to.  For the later, caring for their horses is the same as me caring for my car.  I tend its needs and maintain it well, but it is just an inanimate machine to me.  When it gets too old to do its job, I'll ship it down the road with little care about where it ends up, which is basically what happened to both Amos and Levi.

Amos came here severely underweight and emotionally shut down after a lifetime of being used like a machine.  He has been slowly, but steadily putting weight on and coming out of his shell since arriving at this farm.  In his mid twenties, he is finally learning what a cookie is.

I have always felt that Standardbreds are rather undervalued horses.  They tend to be good-natured, stoic, even-tempered horses who have a lot to offer.  Unfortunately, they often come off the track too crippled to work.  Those who make it through their racing career intact don't always make the best riding horses because their gaits are not terribly comfortable, especially the pacers, so they are not desired as riding horses.  They don't have the exposure or cache that the OTTB's (Off Track Thoroughbreds) have gotten in recent years and most horse people will turn their noses up at the mere mention of Standardbreds.  One of the few places left for good driving horses in today's world is with the Amish.  Most Standardbreds leave the race tracks to either go straight to the Amish or onto a slaughter-bound truck.

Amos had come to the end of his usefulness to the Amish because he has gotten old enough to need a bit more than bare minimum care.  He was bound for a final, one way trip to Canada when Dave bought him a few months ago.

Dave uses Amos and Levi for pleasure driving a few times a week.  He greatly appreciates Amos' steady, rock-solid work ethic and Amos is greatly enjoying learning about cookies and kind words.

To be continued.....


  1. I love this man who took in these horses

  2. Life does work in mysterious ways. Getting paid to spend more time with equines seems a pretty good turn of events.
    Let's see a pic of Amos!

  3. Well, well, well. My goodness but you surprised me! Many good things will come of this. Bless you both for saving faithful Amos.

  4. Is it possible to become a full time farrier? I know you have been looking for something besides the lab work.

  5. Many blessings on you and this kind gentleman who took two horses who had been overworked and overused and almost tossed aside. They now have a safe haven to call him and excellent feet care!!! I will enjoy reading about them. Pictures please if you can. Thank you,

  6. True that Amish don't see horses as pets, but as a tractor or car. After a certain age it is not cost effective for them to keep a horse around.
    It is nice that this gent took them in and can keep them in their old age.
    And good for you for being able to work on their feet.
    Which reminds me, best go gather some donkeys. Our farrier will be here a bit later!

  7. I'm a big fan of STBs too, though here in Western Australia we only have the pacing kind. Some are as comfortable as a gaited breed, some bone-jarring. I too like their steady temperaments and sturdiness. I'm glad these old guys found a lucky place to land, it sounds like they deserve it.