Its been happening a lot lately. I’ll be trimming a horse and as if by some magic source the horse will respond in such a way that they might as well be talking. Horses have gone so far as to point with their hoof, shake their heads “yes” in response to direct questions and astound their owners with their obvious answers.
While in Idaho all last year I was part of this frequently and my now good friend and photographer Moon Walker was too. She observed this regularly with her horse. He had previously all but trampled farriers.
Today a horse that’s been on our roster…more specifically…Kirk’s roster…reacted in kind. She’s a rather stoic mare and has had multiple lameness issues. Kirk and I sometimes differ on treatments. Today was my first time ever trimming this mare.
She was characteristically “stodgey” with her hoof. Especially her left front. In my vocabulary, “stodgey” is the word I use to define the action a horse uses when it clearly is not excited about you working on it.
This generally happens when the horse has been treated to enough painful farrier visits that it humors you by picking up the foot then hammers you by slamming it down. Then prevents you from picking it up by forcing all of its sheer will and weight into the foot.
A big quarter horse, this mare has all of the characteristic tell tale signs of having been trimmed multiple times unwell.
Unwell trimming leaves a horse in worse shape than you found it.
She’s been treated by multiple vets, multiple farriers and is still lame.
Kirk had her going about a year back but infrequent trims have her lame again.
Enter Karina, Kirk’s fill in for today.
I immediately went to work and she characteristically gave me every indication I was but a fly of disrespect in her world. She shook me off and planted her hooves as if in concrete.
No worries. My $7 wonder hoof pick does the trick nicely of helping them to pick up their hoof. A prick above the fetlock and most horses will at least pick the hoof up. She was no different. She picked up then slammed her hoof back to the ground.
I worked with her a bit, taking a bit of hoof here and a bit of hoof there and allowing her to rest and feel the changes I was making. She licked, chewed and offered her rears easily but continued to resist my efforts.
I stayed true to my Taurus roots. I don’t give up. Period.
Soon, she was tossing her head up and down in “yes” fashion when I asked her in between rest periods if she was feeling better.
Her owner wasn’t there but the owners husband was. He laughed in amusement and said he’d never seen that before.
I pointed out that she was regulating my trimming time, delegating and commanding my performance. Bossing me around really. But I was happy to oblige. I continued to trim and soon she was practically lying down so I could trim her hooves!
She would weight one foot and then the other and her stance went from discomfort to square and comfortable. She tapped her toe on her left foot indicating that more of the pesky solar callous she had needed to come off. I obliged and again she licked, chewed, yawned and animated her joy over the changes.
I explained each step as we went and enjoyed her regular owner’s husbands reactions. He’s got a joyful personality anyway and while not really a horse guy, he likes them enough to know that what he was seeing wasn’t usual.
That’s my world and suddenly it hit me. While I do this every day for a living and find the matter amusing and fun, commonplace anymore, there probably aren’t too many farriers getting these reactions from horses.
This mare guided every stroke of my rasp once we’d opened a dialogue, every cut from my nippers. She was in charge of the session, me, merely her laborer.
I’ve noticed these sessions getting common place and then suddenly another thought struck me.
I’d gone riding with Kirk, our partner Mike and Kirk’s brother Glenn this past weekend and had taken some photos. In these photos the men are obviously being honored by their happy horses, their eyes dreamy with the addiction of riding God’s green earth and their manly owners exhibiting the same.
A group of three men, three horses, and all in obvious ecstasy of the moment. It struck me that photos like the ones I had, just like the animated communication during trimming aren’t common place at all, but should be.
Perhaps it was the night’s nagging before from a dedicated friend telling me that I better not forget my purpose here on Earth. It’s easy to do with the empire we’re building. Not many see the value in running ragged every day.
I do.
I want to leave a legacy. It’s about so much more than horse training or farrier care. Its about overall health, observation of the smallest particles of energy and being patient enough to allow yourself to be taught as much as teaching.
I was reminded of that today while I walked the fence of a field where we will be turning out our cattle. While I’ve been to this location a lot to trim, I haven’t ever taken a walk on this ethereal property. It was like magic. My mind slowed and inside my soul wagged “yes” to my decision to observe the moment with silence and reverence that can only be achieved at the perfect, most wonderful moment when your life stands still long enough you can literally taste the sun as it bathes your back in its warmth.
I took a couple of photos and shared with via text with a friend I knew would appreciate them. A little nod to the moment that although by myself I surrendered to the moment long enough to cast a big dream out into the universe and ask it for guidance going forward on the real reason for why I am here.
It isn’t to raise chickens, sell hay or even to make money. It’s to exercise my one, true passion and pass along the ethereal messages that come from a life well lived in honor of true gift and heritage. For while I love farming and all that it entails, I am completely and utterly entranced by the energetic magnificence of a world few really “see”.
When pressed this week to write more, publish more and do more, I have resisted. Partly because I don’t know the process. Partly because in my busy head I see a plan evolving that will bring about the resources to do just this..but in the meantime, like that stodgey mare, I am setting my feet in concrete until I’m shown that the shape of things is perfect. And comfortable enough to waggle my head “yes”, I’m ready to move forward and pull back the curtain so that others might be touched as I have by the magical world of the ethereal horse and its wisdoms.

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