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.