Anyhow - I did Val's fronts this go round. Will work on the hinds next time. I feel pretty good about knowing what to trim, how much and why... using the tools smoothly, positioning myself and holding Val's feet comfortably and safely are going to take time. (understatement) It went well considering. My farrier is a patient teacher who can put his knowledge into words - lucky for me. My horse has decent feet after two years of being barefoot, so I'm not having to correct any major issues - also lucky.
I tacked Val up for a ride after we trimmed him. Cowboy was already working beyond the far end of our arena. It's been a while since both horses were working at the same time. Val indicated that he'd like to stay at the far end and watch Cowboy work - like he usually does. It took some time and patience to convince him otherwise. After settling our little difference of opinion, we enjoyed a workmanlike ride - the high points being steady contact (foamy mouth), round 15m circles, decent transitions and some stretchy trot at the end of the ride. It was fun to ride with someone else for a change. For one thing, there was room in my tiny breeches pocket for treats since I didn't have to cram my cell phone in there. And it's always nice to have company when doing chores. A really good day at the barn. :)
Last night Val followed me out into his paddock while I picked manure. As per usual, while nosing about, he suddenly needed to munch on some discarded hay that had sat on the floor of his run in all day, until I put it into the manure cart (where it's desirability skyrocketed). I proceeded to jokingly offer him hay, one strand at a time. He politely ate for as long as I offered. After the snack, he rested his chin into the crook of my shoulder, quietly breathing onto my neck, while we watched the sun set behind the trees. *sigh*