Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Lesson of Love

I waited a little longer this year than I usually do to put the winter shoes with borium cleats on the horses. I confess I wasn’t looking forward to it. Last time, Siete had been very antsy, and it felt like it took forever for my old farrier to wield the borium onto the shoes and fit them. So, the other day, I bundled up with long underwear and an extra pair of wool socks and some cut up bits of carrots to keep the horses happy and prepared myself for a long ordeal in the frigid pasture.

Right on time, not just one, but two big pickup trucks with trailers full of the farrier’s equipment pulled through our gate. Four guys got out, and my new farrier sort of sheepishly explained that even though he was only in his 30’s and in really good shape, he had a heart attack a month ago. His doctor said it was really unusual, caused by a random blood clot, and this was the first week he was back at work. He introduced me to his dad, and two of his best friends who were also farriers that were there to help him.

His dad was an old cowboy, and kept joking about how his son was teaching him new tricks. He was learning to be a farrier so he could go out with Johnny and keep an eye on him. He told me with great detail exactly what had happened when his son had the heart attack. All the while, he was prepping Siete for her trim. My farrier was in his truck getting the shoes ready, and his friend stepped up to work on Siete’s feet. I was amazed that my little horse appeared to be completely calm and was enjoying all the attention that these new guys were bestowing on her. They knew the good spots to scratch. and took a moment to get to know her before they grabbed her feet. Almost before I knew it, they were done and I was bringing out Silk. She is always good as gold when anyone works on her feet, but they were also very aware of her age and her arthritis. They had a special low stand for older horses that meant they didn’t have to lift her leg and hoof so high. Again, we were finished in less than half the time it took with my old farrier.

As we all stood around, working and watching in the bitter cold, I found myself getting really emotional about the warm relationships between these men. Johnny’s dad was so proud of him and obviously worried about his boy. The affection and concern and respect that these four men had for each other was palpable. When I met Johnny a couple of months ago, I immediately felt he was an honest man who obviously cared deeply about horses. Now, I said a little prayer that this good guy would stay healthy and live to help his kids the way his own dad was. As they were leaving, he thanked me for letting him bring so many people to help him. He said that some of his clients didn’t like it. I can’t imagine why. It gave me an unexpected lesson about love.

With the holidays approaching, I’ve become particularly aware this year of how many of my friends seem obsessed with the stuff they are buying. It feels like there’s more of a frenzy of shopping than usual. Who would have thought that a visit from my farrier would have reminded me of the strength of the love of family and friends? Yet, after they left, the memory of Johnny’s dad and his friends being so protective and caring stays with me and reminds me of the real meaning of all this celebrating.


Grey Horse Matters said...

They all sound like a wonderful bunch of people who know the true meaning of loving and caring about someone else. The horses could most likely feel the compassion shared by these men and felt calm and cared for too.

Merry Christmas to you and your family and a Happy Healthy New Year, Victoria.

billie said...

What a lovely gift that you have now shared with all of us!

I have done less this year in terms of buying gifts than ever before in my life. We have decorated with a very laid-back attitude, bringing up one bin of decorations every day or so.

I just posted on a friend's blog b/c she was up in the middle of the night with a howling cat and feeling so much stress brought on by her to do lists she seemed to have lost all empathy for the aging feline who needed her in the night.

We have to actively choose peace. And like you, we have to choose to embrace the very simple (and yet priceless) gifts we are given. Thanks for a beautiful post.

the7msn said...

Three competent and reliable farriers showing up in one place at the same time? Why, that's a Christmas miracle if I've ever heard one! But seriously, this was a beautiful story. Farrier angst is no fun at all, and to find someone like Johnny is priceless. I'll bet you'll be looking forward to his next visit.

Anonymous said...

A lovely story about what's really important. It's a good message this time of year, when so many are anxious and overwhelmed.

You've got one excellent farrier - that's very scary that he had a heart attack at that age - hope all stays well with him and his family.

Wolfie said...

Lovely story. This post actually brought a tear to my eye.

I actually stopped buying gifts for my nieces and nephews about 4 years ago. Their wish lists each year were getting out of hand. I now do a donation to a rescue group of their choice. They get to discuss it as a family and tell me where they want the money to go. The rescue group then sends me the story of the sponsored animal and I print it and put it in a picture frame. The surprise each Christmas is to see what animal they have sponsored. They actually look forward to it each year.

Have a wonderful holiday season and best wishes for a great 2011!

Horseartist said...

I really enjoyed your story. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Lori Skoog said...

Victoria...So well put again. That is the real spirit of Christmas, love, family and more. Looks like the horses have approved of your choice in farrierS. I'm lucky to have a farrier that is like that. He started working with horses when he retired from his job as a mounted police officer in Rochester and my ponies love him.

Have a Merry Christmas. Thank you for writing such inspirational posts to share with us. You are one very sensitive woman!

Oak in the Seed said...

Sounds like that visit from Santa's own farriers were good for the horses' bodies and your soul. I will hold this post close to my heart.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Your post really touched my heart.

It's wonderful that the love and caring you witnessed was being shared by men - and farriers to boot ;)

Happy holidays to you and your family, human and otherwise. Best wishes for a happy, healthy New Year!

detroit dog said...

Such wonderful family and friends, your farrier is lucky to have -- and Siete and Silk are lucky to have such a wonderful farrier!

Best wishes for you and yours this holiday season, Victoria.

Rising Rainbow said...

This is a wonderful post, Victoria. I always appreciate the opportunity to see real love in action too.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!