Thursday, September 16, 2010
The Gift of Time
I’ve been treating Siete for an abscess in her back left foot this week. Over the years that we’ve lived here, we’ve been particularly plagued by this problem as we transition from summer into autumn. It’s a combination of dry weather followed by wet, and the emergence of lots of small rocks in the pasture. So, I know the drill. When I came out to the barn, Siete was standing with her back left foot cocked, and the look she gave me clearly was her way of saying, “Oww!” At first, I felt a small moment of panic since our farrier, John, has moved to Montana. The new farrier isn’t scheduled to come until early October.
I decided to just soak Siete’s foot in Epsom salts and then apply a piece of Animalintex inside one of the Soft Ride boots. Moments after I started to treat her, she instantly relaxed and was obviously no longer in pain. I remembered the days when just getting Siete to stand still with her foot in a warm bucket of water was a real challenge. I thanked her for her good behavior. I thought about how caring for my horses, year in and year out, has taught me not to over-react when something goes wrong. I knew I could handle this, and if I couldn’t, well, we’d be meeting the new farrier a few weeks earlier than planned.
I’ve been reading pro’s and con’s about soaking the foot to pull out an abscess. This time, I didn’t soak it again the way I had for all those previous abscesses. The hoof was clean, so I just moistened and changed the Animalintex in the boot twice a day for three days. Siete was moving around just fine, and I was tempted to stop the treatment. For good measure, I kept the boot on an extra day. Yesterday, I took it off and so far, so good. It’s a big relief for me as well as Siete. I’ve been really busy, not spending enough time with the horses. Each day, I start out promising myself and the girls that I’ll be back later to do this or that. Then, my schedule gets crazy, and next thing I know, I’m tucking the horses in for the night, feeling bad that I never got back there like I said I would and apologizing to Silk and Siete.
When I read Carolyn Resnick’s most recent blog post last night, she asked us what we thought our special gift was with horses. There were some great responses, especially her own. What resonated most for me was when she said: “ I like horses as they are, without them having to do something for me. Even while sharing space with a horse, they do not need to show me affection while in my presence. I am nourished by being in the same area as a horse, and that is reward enough.”
I had a hard time trying to express what I think my gift is with horses. Then, I realized perhaps it is that I am always there for them, reliably on time, anticipating what will make them feel good, and never minimizing or forgetting about their needs. No matter what else is going on in my life, I must care for my horses. And the reason that I do comes from that core belief which Carolyn expressed. I’ve loved being around horses from the first time that my mother wheeled me to a neighbor’s pasture while I was in a baby stroller. Horses don’t have to do anything for me. I just feel better when I am with them.
So, if I can make Siete’s foot stop hurting or share one of my favorite Honey Crisp apples with Silk or do anything to make my horses happier, it also feeds my soul.