Wednesday, February 13, 2008

the other side of the coin

One of the things I love most about our little farm is what it teaches me, every single day. In the minutiae of a day's chores and meanderings bloom a hundred little lessons.

This morning I woke up to fog, and the remains of what appears to have been an all-night, deep soaking rain.

Here in the southeast, we've been in a drought situation for about a year. There have been months where the ground in our yard cracked, looking like something from another planet, due to the dryness.

We lived through a terrible flea season, a worse than usual fly season, and listened to ever-alarming news reports about the dire water situation. Hay crops dried to nothing.

But then autumn came and we witnessed one of the most spectacular show of leaves I've ever seen. Apparently one blessing in drought is that it makes for gorgeous fall color.

Every time it rains now, I rejoice, because we need it. But here on the farm, I'm also reminded of the platitude - that other side of the coin.

The horses trudged in through mud for their breakfast, and I trudged back out to the field with them throwing hay, wondering if I should really be letting them out. Their hooves tear up the field when it's so wet, and they roll and get truly coated in mud. But it's warm, and the sun keeps peeping out, and I know they want to be walking and grazing and rolling, so I let them.

I think about the thrush issue, and keeping their feet dry. Remember the dust last summer, the hard ground and arena footing. The cost of hay. The stress of finding good hay.

How can I complain too much, when either side has its difficulties? And, of course, its blessings.

This looking at both sides and dealing with what IS, right now, becomes a way of life, day by day, here at November Hill. What a gift it is.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Even a bad day is not so bad, if it is shared with your horses and other animals on your own farm.

Victoria Cummings said...

I had an Indonesian friend who once told me, "The other side of pain is hope." So, it's good to see both sides and find something to appreciate in each. And on a completely pragmatic level, have you ever heard of Keratex? It's a hoof hardener and conditioner. My vet in California swore by it. You can order it on-line from the company that makes it. I've used it in all climates for over eight years and I swear by it.

billie said...

Not a bad day so much as a day full of choices!

There were (and always are) times on rainy days when the horses are standing in their stall doors looking out, hay in their mouths, while the rain falls, when there is that wonderful sense that all is right with the world.

billie said...

I have heard of Keratex, and appreciate the recommendation. I used to use hoof ointments but vet/farrier/nutritional person kept telling me there was no need for them. I finally listened and have found no change in hooves from that respect. They all have nice hard feet.

I guess I should say, after all my hoof angst, that for the most part the horses here have very good feet. Keil Bay's contracted heels are an issue that two previous farriers didn't feel was a big deal, and he's never been lame.

We've had a little battle with thrush, which has been minor (not to me, but the various folks who come out here to work with the horses have all said it was minor compared to what they see out and about).

I'm putting Keratex at the top of my list though, if I need to plug a hoof ointment in!