The past few weeks have been full of a lot of project deadlines, traveling, and midterm exams…but a few clips of life I shall put a spotlight on in brief.

Clipping a Horse Hoof

Add this to the growing list of “things I’d never thought I’d learn to do.”  Last week in my Animal Packing class we learned how to clip and file a horse hoof.  I didn’t take any photos, because believe-you-me, you need your full and undivided efforts focused on the task at hand.  The process goes something like this

  • Run your hand down the horses leg until you get to a portion that is more or less the achilles tendon of the horses leg.  There, you must press your thumb firmly into the tendon, to the point you might think hurts the horse, until he lifts his leg (some horses are used to getting their hooves clipped / cleaned and will lift their leg once they feel your hand nearly there, others are stubborn).
  • Hold the hoof between your knees so you can use both hands with your tools.  This requires you to squat low and squeeze your knees firmly, and add the additional challenge of keeping the horse hoof there when the horse starts to jerk his leg back (understandably)
  • Clean out the frog (center of the hoof) and then use a hoof knife to carve away at the sole of the hoof
  • Use horse hoof nippers to then clip the hoof (think giant toe-nail clippers which serve the same purpose on a horse)
  • Now extend the horse leg forward the opposite direction of before and rest it on your knee while squatting.
  • Then use a rasp to file down the rough edges.

The photos below that I took from the internet give you and idea of the horse hoof anatomy and also what the tools I mentioned above look like.

Hoof Rasp, Nippers, Knife []

Native Plant Clippings

On Saturday, our school hosted an FFA Contest (think Academic Decathlon, but all activities are related to agriculture / forestry / natural resources) for high school students in the area.  We had several components that forestry students help run for the forestry contests, everything ranging from map reading, to tree measurements, to tool identification.  My role was to set up and manage the plant identification room.  So, with the help of my teacher and fellow dendrology students, we selected 50 clippings of native plants and set them out for the students to identify.  It was good practice for me, since I am not yet at the point where I could identify all those plants!


thematic reading material while I proctored

thematic reading material while I proctored

For the most part, I was just impressed that these high school students could do all these forestry tasks at the high school level, when I am just learning to do so now at the 10-years out of high school point in my life.  I wish I would have had FFA at my high school growing up.

Clip of My Pensivity of Late

The other main theme of my forestry journey lately has been making a job decision for my first season.  I shall impart more in a future post on the actual decision, but for now here is a poem (linked here) I wrote about the difficulty in making a job choice…when all choices are “good” and hence harder to select among.  A “good” sort of problem, but a “problem” none-the-less.  Mainly I just wish I had 5 of myself and 5 summers so I could do 5 different types of jobs at once since so many things sound inviting at this juncture. Since it is the beginning of my career, these choices feel huge and heavy, because it is the beginning.  In the long run, I’m sure I’ll look back at this specific chapter and think “you over thought this to an extreme.”  But, over-thinking is part of my making and part of my walk in forestry too.


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