Thursday, October 22, 2009

What good are horse people?

A thought, a question really, just popped into my head this morning while I was watching the Today show. What good are horse people? And the many answers to that question came flooding in to my early morning brain behind it.

I was listening to reports about the huge bonuses that bank and corporate executives who helped send our country into a deep recession are paying themselves and the controversy regarding whether they really deserve the millions they are receiving.

Who am I to care really, I’m just a tax paying horse person. And what good are horse people really? We don’t deserve huge bonuses for our work. Or do we?

I visit horse people nearly every day in my job as a hoof care professional. My definition of a horse person isn’t the big breeder who owns the facility that is worth millions, and breeds horses that sell for thousands. That’s a business person.

A horse person is someone like me. Someone who loves horses, and owns a few acres with more horses on it than it can support. Our every spare dollar goes into buying hay from the local hay farmer and who keeps the local feed stores in business.

A horse person is someone whose spouse or partner may not be considered a "horse person" exactly, but they've come to care very much about horses and often spends most his or her free time feeding the horses, then dragging a two-wheeled cart around and filling it with the outcome of feeding the horses.

Our partners may not be "horse experts", but may have expertise in many other fields, such as fence building and mending, gate adjustments, footing and bedding, mud and manure management, composting, and a host of other demands involved with horse care.

Horse people don’t own horses that are worth thousands usually. They own the horses that someone else has tossed aside. Tossed aside for being too lame, too arthritic, too old, too blind, or just one too many.

We feed those horses, groom them, pay for their hoofcare, dentistry, and medical care. We love those horses and will do anything to assure their peace of mind and comfort.

We do so much more for our beloved “throw away” horses than the poor horses who live on the million dollar farms could ever hope for. Very often, those horses feel the touch of a human only when they are being led to and from the breeding barn.

And it's not just horses we take under our wings and into our dwindling bank accounts, it's all the other animals who find themselves in need of food, shelter, healthcare and love.

But the most crucial aspect of being a horse person is our kids. Not just our own kids, but more likely our grandkids. As well as our friend’s kids, our cousin’s kids, and most often our neighbor kids.

Kids, who love horses and like to hang around the very horse people who spend most their time and all their money taking care of their horses. Yet are willing to take time out to tack up horses whose main job it is to be led around with a kid on his back.

We horse people influence those kids. We teach them how to care for and manage life for the animals we are responsible for. We teach them about safety, sharing, and play, not just for the horses, but for themselves, their family members, and their friends

Is it worth it to horse people to take all this extra time and do so much for kids that we probably would otherwise rarely see if we were not horse people?

Well, when I look over to see my 8 year old neighbor standing at my field fence waiting for me to notice her and invite her over, and I see her sweet face light up and watch her dance in the air when I ask her if we should get one of the horses out for her to ride, and when she jumps into my truck to ride with me to attend a lesson, or when she gets a little nervous when I ask if she’s ready to try trotting...I'd have to say's very worth that extra time.

When I watch my little granddaughter carefully extend her arm out to the Belgian draft horse, who was formerly abused and dangerous and whose head weighs more than her entire body, to offer him a corn

chip which he politely takes from her small hand, I wonder why those bank executives are getting millions of dollars in bonuses, when it’s horse people who really deserve to be rewarded for their lifes’ work.

But what do I know? I’m just a horse person and really what good are horse people anyway?

This good!


Rachel said...

Oh golly - you gave me goosebumps with this post. I just love everything you said - and it is so true! How our devotion to our 4-legged friends really reflects in how we approach other things and people in our lives.

Your grandkids are blessed! And so are your "throw away" (yeah right) horses.

Reddunappy said...

Oh Pat, what a wonderful post!

When it comes down to it I find horse people to be the most caring and supporting folks in the world.

What I wouldnt give for a little horse crazy girl looking through my fence and wanting to ride.... now that all mine are grown up.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

AWESOME!! This is way better than those e-mail forwards that go rushing around the internet from person to person. I wish more people could read this. Thanks for your heartfelt eloquence.


Mustang Heritage said...

Nicely written.
Those momments are what life is all about!

One Red Horse said...

This post makes my day. I totally agree that "it’s horse people who really deserve to be rewarded for their lifes’ work." And you know, come to think about it, we are rewarded about a gazillion times more than any executive bonus - our reward is that we ARE horse people. Off to see my two sweeties.

Cherie Shipley

Valerie said...

First time reader and you brought tears to my eyes! I used to be that little girl, and after 24 years of waiting I too have my own "throw away" horse. Of course, he is treated like a king, including four naturally trimmed, rock-solid feet!

Thank you for the beautifully written post.

Pat said...

Thank you all.