Sunday, August 23, 2009
Pick Those Feet
I have a confession to make. I hate to pick out my horses’ feet. It’s messy and my hands always get filthy and it’s how I threw my back out last week. So, it became a real test of self-discipline when I decided this summer that I will pick out their feet every morning and every evening. I want to do everything I can to insure that we don’t have any hoof abscesses after last summer’s drama. I’ve put shoes on their front feet now, which was a really good idea since it gives them more support. I think it takes the weight off their back feet. It also holds the muck in more than bare feet do.
To my surprise, the hoof picking has become a little spiritual practice for me and my girls. At first, Siete wasn’t thrilled about it. Some days, she tolerated it, but others, she pinned her ears - “Oh no, not again with the hoof pick!” And once, she even tried to nip my butt. I let her know right away that this is a reaction that would not be tolerated. Eventually, she started to realize that it feels better not to have all that muddy gunk stuck in her frogs. It amazes me how much gets packed in.
So, while I don’t really feel like doing it most nights, I am always glad that I did once I’ve finished. I sleep better knowing that my horses’ feet aren’t filled up with sticky, muddy goop when I close their stall doors and go to bed. There’s something honorable about sticking to the discipline and not letting it slide, even when my back was aching. Both of the girls welcome the last touch of attention that I give them each night. I find myself lingering to scratch an itchy spot or touch up the fly spray. It’s the four-legged equivalent of tucking my daughter into bed with a goodnight hug.