Friday, February 8, 2008
The Roller Coaster
We’re riding the weather roller coaster this winter. The ice and rain prevent the horses from being able to get any exercise. Then, it melts and feels like Spring just to torture us. They are able to run around like crazy and get their “ya-ya’s” out. As soon as they are done, the rain and freezing pellets deluge us again. The horses get “cabin fever”, and Siete is bored out of her mind. By the time we can turn her out again, she’s ready to explode.
The longer I live with horses, the more reassuring it is that these behaviors are normal. Siete’s not being a “bad” girl. She’s young, and she’s expressing her frustration about not being able to do what a horse likes to do best. Running, bucking, rearing and teasing her mother are at the top of her list, closely followed by grazing on green grass or soft hay. I know that by the time we are able to go back to work, she’s going to be a real handful.
This morning, I woke to a light layer of snow on the ground. Fortunately, the farrier came yesterday and trimmed the girls. Silk was an absolute angel, which tells me how good my farrier, John, is with my horses. When we lived in California, Silk really liked the farrier. In Virginia, she suddenly hated to have her feet trimmed. I was always there with her, and I could see that neither of the men I hired paid any attention to the horses. They were totally preoccupied with themselves and their schedule. Get in and get out as fast as possible was their motto. The horses’ feet were done correctly, but the farriers had no patience for any of us.
Now, when John comes every six weeks, he takes his time. He really likes my horses, and we always have good, interesting conversation. He’s a team penner and plans his vacation in Montana where he can work cows. “I love to get up every day and go to work,” he told me yesterday. How many people can say that about their jobs? Silk always gets a warm greeting from him before he gets started. She stands quietly and never complains.
Siete was a bit of a powder-keg yesterday. She didn’t blow up, but when he was trimming her front right hoof, she pulled it forward unexpectedly, and he cut her frog. My husband held the horse so I could see what had happened. I was surprised by how bloody it was. I trust John, so when he assured me that it would stop and that it would be okay, I stayed calm. He was very apologetic and offered to come back right away if she started limping on it. Today, she’s walking normally. There are pads and borium shoes on her front feet, so I can’t really see how her frog looks. I’ll just be aware of the situation and try not to worry about it.
That’s a big step forward for me, since I am a born worrier. I’ve been trying to let it go and not bring bad “juju” onto things by thinking of the worst. Still with horses, I always like to anticipate what might occur. If I think things through and plan ahead, I am much more successful than just barreling forward to get it done.
As I held Siete’s lead rope while John took care of her feet, I kept thinking about a quote from Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, “Love in Action”: “Without doing anything, things can sometimes go more smoothly just because of our peaceful presence. In a small boat when a storm comes, if one person remains solid and calm, others will not panic and the boat is more likely to stay afloat.”