The trip continues. We ended up doing an impromptu clinic for the workers at Morakniv. Most of these folks had handled more hoof knives than any of us farriers will ever even see, but they didn’t know what they cut or how they were used. It was very cool. One of the workers named Susanna owns horses, and she called her farriers, Hannah Noren and Martina Broden, and they brought their rigs so I would have tools to use. It was very last minute and the CEO of Morakniv, Henk Noback, put it together in a matter of minutes.
The horse was brought the next day and stood amazingly well in the crowd of workers. He was also so well shod that working on him was easy, hats off to Hannah and Martina. I pulled the shoes and demoed to the workers how the knives are used to cut the frog and sole on both front feet. I thought that they would all want to get back inside since it was pretty cold. But no, Henk hollered for me to continue so I trimmed a foot and got ready to reset that shoe.
As luck would have it, I ended up hitting my index finger with the hammer about as hard as I have ever done. Although my hands were cold enough that the injury didn’t hurt, I quickly had the foot, shoe and tools covered with blood. Kelly finished that foot for me and we turned the job over to the girls to do the other foot. While it was embarrassing to hit myself, it wasn’t the first time, and probably won’t be the last. The only down side is that we weren’t able to do the job on the foot we would have wanted to. I think they were surprised that I was able to put Triactin on the wound and carry on until the blood got too bad. Six days later, the wound is still bleeding a little bit under the bandages.
We ended up going with Par to his cabin in beautiful Dalfors, and had a night of carving wooden knives out of green birch. Par and Eva made some roe deer filets for us and it was a surreal time in the northern European winter. Kind of a storybook night.
The next day Kelly and I boarded a train for Stockholm. It was a pretty trip, but finding our hotel in Stockholm was a comedy of sorts. It was a Scandic hotel, but the several places with a Scandic sign weren’t our hotel. It was actually by Scandic, but that was not advertised in front of the building. Anyway, we finally made it through the New York City type winter crowd to our tiny room. It did not have a window, but they did hang a curtain on the bare wall to help you live the fantasy that there was a window behind it. I have to say that we were tired enough that it wasn’t a problem, and that curtain is a good trick that I will use if I ever end up confined in a windowless room for very long. Those of you that are reading this in the basement might stop for a minute to hang a blanket on the wall.
From Stockholm we rode the train to Nassoj. (There should be some symbols over a few of the letters in Swedish, but I don’t know how to make that happen.) We were picked up in Nassoj by Inger Gustafson, the wife of Heartland Horseshoeing School graduate, Lars Gustafson. She took us to see Lars at his office before heading to their home.
Lars is a medical doctor that came to Heartland Horseshoeing School in 2007 as a 53 year old man. He worked circles around many of the younger students and was an inspiration to everyone that had the pleasure of being around him. He currently has a farrier practice, a medical practice, 80 acres of pretty Swedish woods and fields, and a beautiful home. It was such a wonderful time to stay with Lars and Ingers. She made some moose meat for us that actually takes 3 days to make. The labor pays off in a big way, and I once again ate more than I should have.
Lars took Kelly and I to Jonkoping, (again, I need some little dots above some of the letters. Any Swedes that read this and want to send a correction, I would appreciate it.) The clinic was primarily lectures with Aksel Vibe and myself at a very swank hotel and conference center. There were around 50 farriers, and it was so great to see a couple of HHS grads in the audience. Both Lars Gustafson and Annie Gustafson (not related, Gustafson is like Smith in Sweden) have attended Heartland Horseshoeing School, and were in attendance. The Swedish people speak English better than I would have ever believed, and I was able to give the lectures without an interpreter.
The Swedish farriers were so hospitable and friendly, and Kelly and I very much enjoyed our time getting to know them better. Aksel Vibe is a Norwegian farrier that a lot of you will know, and he is a great farrier that is also able to speak and teach well. I think that everyone in attendance got a lot out of it.
It all ended too soon, and I now find myself in the hotel on the last night about to head back to the US in a few short hours. Tomorrow promises to be a long day of flights from Gothenburg to Amsterdam to Atlanta and to Springfield. We leave at 6am Swedish time and get to Springfield around 6pm central time. However, it is really 19 hours in all.
Thank you so much Sweden for hosting and having us, and I can’t wait to see you all again.