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*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Confidently Incorrect

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It was a simple mistake. It could happen to anyone. They look so much alike.

The farrier appointment was scheduled for 1:15 yesterday afternoon and I had gates closed and halters on all the horses by 1:08. She showed up on time and I was ready to hold horses while she trims and files hooves.

However, at the very same time, a very large pickup pulled up, and a person from the cable installation company hopped out with flags in his hand to mark the route for burying fiber cable up to our house.

I excused myself briefly from the barn and talked fiber route as I walked the guy up to our house, pointing out the buried hazards that must be taken into account.

As soon as I could, I returned to the paddocks to find the farrier trying to deal with Mix, who had allowed only one hoof to be trimmed before deciding the flies were too annoying for her to remain standing still. A little fly spray on the legs and my hands on the lead rope allowed Heather to get on with trimming Mix’s other three hooves.

Next was Swings and everything went flawlessly for her turn. Meanwhile, two staff from This Old Horse arrived to provide additional support. While holding horses, I noticed one car was coming up our driveway as the cable guy was driving his truck out and they each decided to drop one wheel over the steep edges to pass one another. Not the way I’d have solved it, but it avoided either one needing to back up. (Backing up is what I would have done.)

I’m feeling increasing pressure to have the driveway shoulders sloped by the excavating company that raised the base so high in the first place. But that’s another issue.

As the trimming progressed, I was still holding horses for the farrier, now working on number three of four. That’s where I screwed up. Somehow I mistook Mia for Light. They are both very similar-looking chestnuts with the main difference being their blaze.

I thought I was holding Light, who usually stresses out over the trimming process. Heather and I were so impressed it was going as well as it was. Of course, she had no clue who she was working on and was relying on me to identify them. Then came time for me to get the last horse, who I mistaking still thought was Mia.

She did not want to come up under the overhang. Sometimes Mia can be like that so the behavior supported my confusion. But it was Light and she really did not want to stand and have her hooves worked on. I got subbed out to let Tom from This Old Horse hold Light and I went to calm Mia (still thinking it was Light) who had been removed from the workspace and was temporarily trapped between paddocks.

Are you following all this?

At this point of the increasing panicking by Light, I figured out my mistake. It’s funny, I first noticed the name on a halter and assumed I put the wrong halters on each of the two. Then I took a closer look and realized the halters were correct, I was completely convinced which horse was which for the longest time, but I had been confidently incorrect.

I blame the distraction of simultaneous demands on my attention from the fiber cable installation guy and horse duty. Oh, and the fact my lovely wife wasn’t present to catch my goof and correct the identifications.

We eventually gave up on trimming Light this session. I feel bad because we probably would have handled it better if we all knew precisely which of the two chestnuts were being trimmed at the time.

My mistake. A rather humbling misidentification.



Written by johnwhays

September 13, 2022 at 6:00 am

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