Over the stable door: Rollercoaster week is a knock-out

My farrier Jack has many legendary stories to tell regarding his job. He must have spent a considerable amount of time reciting them to his mother as she has gone on to write a book, loosely based on her son's experiences as an apprentice farrier.

Jo Foster has been in the wars during a rollercoaster week. Picture by Tony Johnson.

It was some time last year when Jack told me his mother was writing it and being such an avid reader I have waited with baited breath for its publication ever since. I had almost forgotten about the conversation until said book arrived through my letterbox last month, called ‘Forging Ahead’ by Catherine Robinson – my own unedited copy sent before its publication date on April 20. I swiftly got stuck in to reading it.

There have been stories about vets, shepherds, jockeys and farmers before but nothing about farriers until this. ‘Forging Ahead’ is a work of fiction I must add. It is laughingly entertaining from the start, especially when some of the characters appeared mildly familiar to me. I began reading it whilst the family watched TV and aggravated them so by repeatedly bursting into peals of laughter. I kept turning to my partner Tris and saying ‘come on - who does this sound like?’ I’m sure many people will associate with the characters Jack’s mum has so vividly brought to life.

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She has certainly found a gap in the market and is already underway writing a sequel her proud son told me when he came in to shoe last week. All my farrier pals will be getting a copy for Christmas whether readers or not. If they don’t read this at least I know their partners and customers will love it.

My job is always a roller-coaster of luck and emotions. Last night, we set out to the races with two well fancied runners. After less than 30 minutes at the racecourse one developed colic and had to be withdrawn. The vets sedated him as he was growing increasingly restless, he didn’t improve and an hour later had deteriorated further. We had to get him home to our local vet’s surgery so never had chance to run the second horse. I got to the surgery late - the horse was examined, treated with specialist drugs and has been closely monitored since. He is now looking better but is not entirely out of the woods yet.

This morning we were cantering on the gallops when my young horse accidently tripped and fell over, burying me beneath it. The horse was fine. He jumped up and jogged off. Nine times out of ten I’d do the same, complain at having to walk up such a steep hill before jumping back aboard but I got knocked out and when I came to was seeing double. I felt so dizzy I got a lift home, finished morning stables and have come inside to sit down and lick my wounds. Things can only improve...