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Steve Teichman

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A Farrier’s Thoughts On Relationships With Horses

Steve Teichman of Chester County Farrier Associates is one of the most respected farriers in the nation, with more than 40 years of hands-on horseshoeing experience in all facets of the farrier business and over 25 years of working with the US Equestrian Team. He is a true artist when it comes to shoeing horses and equine soundness. Thank you to Steve for writing!

Steve Teichman in Rio at the 2016 Olympic Games.

In working with horses (and people), some ways of “knowing” don’t require your typical understanding. Watching a beautiful sunrise or a foal being born, for example. The Zen master asks, “What was your face before you were born? It makes us question who we are. Are we a “tabula rasa” … a clean slate?

(I know we are not an empty slate as my son taught me in the first weeks of his arrival; “tabula rasa” he was not!)

Ever meet two horses the same? Me either. There really is no clear cut answer as to why. It may take a lifetime to understand some horses — this essence of what they are born with. Somewhere along the way, faith, trust and unconditional love anchor the horse and rider.

How is this relationship forged with our horses? We think we know our horses, but are almost clueless as to how they experience the world around them. Yes, clueless. Horses are not bogged down by reason; they seem to know exactly what to do. They know (not sure they can think) but they know!

In early Native American culture the horse represents physical power… and unearthly power. If you stole a horse, you functionally stole power! We measure our modern engines with the term “horsepower” — that’s how important they are to us.

After 45 years as a farrier and a thinking guy. I question what goes on between those ears. They challenge me every single day. It seems that the more we try to understand them, we realize the less we really know.

It is totally human nature to understand how things work; it’s how we are raised. This is the most amazing aspect of my job as a farrier — never boring; they are always throw a curve at you. If you get bored looking at feet day in and day out, you’re missing the beauty here.

For some reason the more I know about my job as a farrier, the less I seem to know. What’s that all about? There is a wisdom within the horse, and it is about power — the power to carry responsibility in a “balanced” manner.

My relationship with horses is a bit of colliding, twisting and smashing … then it repeats itself! (It’s the real reason I don’t ride.) By 7 in the morning, I have been burned, cut and stepped on!

Do we have to understand them totally to appreciate them, care for them, love them? How many of us have had to deal with that sensitive, unpredictable, trying animal but we just can’t stop coming back? Like Kenny Chesney says, “One is one to many, one more is never enough.”

Can we work with them — dare say even love them — without knowing totally what they are about? Allowing some of their “power” or magic into our lives can and does eliminate doubts. Once doubt is eliminated, anything is possible. This is what horses do: give us access to the true sense of who we are — caring, loving, sharing, teaching.

Yes, horses are gateways to power.

A Farrier’s Thoughts on Observing and Problem-Solving

Steve Teichman of Chester County Farrier Associates is one of the most respected farriers in the nation, with more than 40 years of hands-on horseshoeing experience in all facets of the farrier business and over 25 years of working with the US Equestrian Team. He is a true artist when it comes to shoeing horses and equine soundness. Thank you to Steve for writing!

Steve Teichman in Rio at the 2016 Olympic Games.

The serv in observing has Latin roots meaning to “watch over.” Looking at horses is a very detailed act, and we need to teach ourselves to “watch over.”

First of all, when we observe we are meant to discern what is being revealed by the horse, his relationship to the pain and discomfort. As farriers and vets, your intentions to “fix” or “heal” can and do get in the way of “fixing or healing.”

Watching or observing is really more of a homeopathic act and distinctly not allopathic; it’s part of caring to do the right job. Sometimes by doing less we are able to do more. When doing less more can actually accomplished.

It’s not so easy to observe closely. You have to rely on every bit of learning, every scrap of common sense — have years of experience, read everything you can get your hands on, and study! All this in order to bring intelligence and imagination to your work.

This action through non-action has to be quite simple … and flexible. Intelligence and education are required to bring you to the “edge,” leaving you open for insight. This is a point were your mind, and its purpose, are empty. This is were I solve problems.

A Farrier’s Perspective: What It Means To Be ‘Somebody’

Steve Teichman of  Chester County Farrier Associates is one of the most respected farriers in the nation, with more than 40 years of hands-on horseshoeing experience in all facets of the farrier business and over 25 years of working with the US Equestrian Team. He is a true artist when it comes to shoeing horses and equine soundness. Thank you to Steve for writing!

Steve Teichman in Rio at the 2016 Olympic Games.

Steve Teichman in Rio at the 2016 Olympic Games. Photo courtesy of Steve Teichman.

In this industry, whether as farriers or professional horseman, we seem to struggle with identity. What is it with our identity? This drive to be so important.

What is it to be “somebody” or for that matter a “nobody” in this business? I have spent 45 years as a practicing farrier largely shoeing three-day event horses. I have been fortunate to have participated in five Olympic Games, as well as several World Equestrian Games and Pan American Games, and seen and traveled the world.

I have become a “somebody” of sorts in the small circle of my associates and clients. I have also felt a little “sting” of what it is like to be the “nobody” too. Go out to dinner with a group of Olympic athletes and suddenly you can fade into the background. Life works best someplace in between.

Being famous or important one develops an enlarged sense of self, passion for his career, and huge recognition by his followers … does that makes you a “somebody”? Does it? Is this truly what we are after, or are they just symptoms of some slightly distorted view point?

We live a bit upside down in this industry … a too complex and busy outer life up at 5 a.m. (like me now!) and an ignored inner life. There is more to this drive in each of us. How about the powerful drive for meaning, and belonging, being helpful, kind, or courteous? All of these can and should be present in this sport.

We are so fortunate to work with such amazing animals and the equally dedicated people this sport brings together. This is being “somebody.” It’s not famous, but it’s what I think our souls seek.

Whether we know it or not, this is why we ALL go to the barns in the morning.