Twelve years ago I met Doug. A friend of a friend of a friend said, "If you ever need a farrier, I have a friend who shoes horses and he's not your typical farrier. He's amazing. You should try him." Thinking to myself, no thanks - there's millions of farriers out there and they all do the same thing. I walked away, but kept our conversation in the back of my brain. When, for the third time, our current farrier was 45 minutes late, kicked my horse in his belly because he wouldn't stand still and yelled at me for being irritated with him, I decided to give Doug a chance. At the time we had 3 horses - 2 thoroughbreds and an 18hand Percheron, named Lt. Dan. Dan was my love - but I was afraid of him. He was the horse I had always wanted, but he loved to buck if we tried to lope. With me being 5'4" and him being 18hh, a fall isn't what I was looking for.Dan couldn't stand still for the farrier. He had a weird hitch in the hind end - a prominent vet in our area diagnosed him with wobbles. 9 times out of 10 he would bolt on me when I tried to put him in the trailer. I tried natural horsemanship and got a natural disaster. I was to the point of thinking I didn't really want him when I met Doug.
One our first meeting, I was hooked after the first 5 minutes. Dan tried to run over Doug. It was nothing new - He ran me over all the time, why should this guy be any different? Within 5 minutes of that embarrassing event, Dan was standing like a puppy dog, his tongue was hanging out of his mouth and Doug was as calm as can be. I was speechless. After that he told me to change their feed protocol, do the exercises he showed me and to call him in 2 weeks. The owner of our barn freaked out on me and told me to call someone else. She told me that the horses would blow their suspensory ligaments and go lame if they didn't get shod that day. I told her that I was changing their feed and she flipped again. She basically called me an idiot. They made fun of me when I did the exercises he taught me. Well, the joke was on them because within 6 weeks my bucking Percheron became the puppy dog I saw in the barn on that first day. We could trail ride and he would keep up with the other horses - at the lope. Horse ownership was exactly what it was supposed to be… fun.
I don't know why I felt in my gut to stick with Doug, but something so strong told me to stay. Its been 12 years and I have never looked back. I have been mocked at, laughed at and ridiculed for being his client and co-author. He told me I would need to have the "strength of a lion" if I was going to stick with him. Well, he was right, and I do.
I have learned more from him over that past 12 years than I could ever learn from anyone else. There isn't an issue out there that he doesn't know how to treat. I know that sounds crazy, but it's true. I've been on colic calls with him - some that have lasted more than two days. I have watched horses that should have been put down, make full recoveries. One vet called the horse's recovery a miracle. I have watched horse owners come to us financially and emotionally broken and distraught. Their love for their horses is so great but they don't know where to turn - out of funds, out of patience and ready to call it quits. I have watched their lives turn around. Not only does Doug help the horse, but he helps them find that peace and happiness they so badly desire. No one is financially ruined after implementing our program. No one should be. Our Father gave us these horses for our pleasure, not be an emotional and financial burden.
About a year after meeting Doug, we started talking about writing a book and helping others outside our area. Still so new to his knowledge, I was jacked to be a part of it. Putting words to what he physically does was a huge challenge, but with time, the book developed into something more than we could ever imagine. We tackled one component, which would uncover something else, and something else after that. After two years, we finally finished and "Complete Horse Sense: A Guide to your Horse's Overall Health and Behavior" was printed.
One of the many questions I get asked is "who needs this book?" My response? Everyone. People come to us as their last hope. That's great - we will always help them. If they stick with it, they will see results. It's really that simple. But! What if someone used our methods before they were financially and emotionally strapped? What if they came to CHS before they got to the point of wanting to put down their horse? Well, it would be amazing. Time worrying and stressing would be saved. Money would be saved. Horse ownership would be exactly what our Father meant it to be... Fun and satisfying. It's really that simple.