Who and What

My name is Hailey and my grandfather is a farmer. I'm the 7th generation to live on the family farm, and my babies (when the time comes) are going to be the 8th. My husband and I are even renovating a trailer on my grandparent's farm so we can move back to the family farm sooner. This blog encompasses the things that are important to me. These things are:

~Special Education
~ADHD, including my own battle with it over the years. It's now my superpower.
~Farm Life
~Equal rights for women.
~Goal setting
~Fitness and health
~Financial Stability
~Personal Happiness

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Forgiveness of Animals

I am going to go on record saying I am not the perfect pet owner, quite honestly, far from it. On the equine side, I often feel I have failed. My horses do not get their hooves checked daily or even weekly. I have missed a feeding before, or accidentally skipped a medication dose. I've left the gate unlaced by accident. We have barbed wire that we're saving up to convert to something safer, but we're not there yet. I have shown up to find the water buckets both empty, or else a hose left on. I've lost my patience with an already nervous horse. My youngster, Anna, makes me far more nervous than she should, and they don't get nearly enough exercise.

Looking at my canine companions, I do a bit better (they are incredibly pitiful when they haven't been fed). However, there are still days where I am not as patient as I should be, or do something I know the dog training manual would object to. They get too many treats at times. I have become hysterical on more than one occasion when I have accidentally dropped, stepped on, or on one horrible occasion poked in the eye my puppy, Sage.

And yet, I do not feel that I am a bad pet owner. My animals are healthy and kept up to date on veterinary needs. The food they are given is high quality. Actually, I think some days they eat better than we do. The horses get blankets when they need them, as well as fly masks. I may lose my patience, but I am one to yell rather than inflict pain. My puppies spend evenings curled up on couches with us, receiving belly rubs and loads of attention. We work hard to train positive social behaviors and they mind their manner in most social settings.

What continually amazes me, however, is how forgiving animals are. Despite my many shortcomings, my four year old Mini Aussie, Kona, will still lay her head in my lap at the end of a long day. Sage, my Sheltie, has climbed into my lap and licked my face after many a clumsy moment, even though I am terrified I have caused her some kind of serious mental damage. (Irrational, I know, but what can you do.) Anna is quick to come rest her head on my shoulder when I am waiting for water buckets to fill. Libby has been known to groom me as I try to extract burrs from her mane, something I know must be painful.

However, the animal whose forgiveness amazed me the most was always my horse, Squire, who died in 2011. My trainer's mother took Squire off the hands of a couple who had basically left him to starve after their daughter moved away. His hooves were badly damaged, something that proved irreparable over the years. We couldn't pinpoint what mix of breeds he was exactly. You could count his ribs, but his stomach was swollen with worms. He had a limp that was permanent. Scars on his back and rump told tales of ill fitted tack and harsh hands. He was suspicious of men and head shy. We would soon discover that he trailered badly, did not take well to being stalled and disliked wearing a blanket.

Despite all this, Squire quickly proved himself to be a good first horse for an eleven year old. He probably hadn't been saddled in over 5 years, but the first time I rode him, he was calm and tolerant. He spooked easily, but seemed to keep himself in check when I was aboard. He was easy to catch, and enjoyed being groomed, although you had to be mindful not to spook him when he was tied, lest he pull back with a ferocity. He learned to trust my father, grandfather, and a few other men over the years. He struggled to keep weight on those last few years. He was never a beauty, but yet, he seemed to have a wisdom about him. A realization that he had been saved, and the best way I can describe him was content. He did what so many humans are incapable of. He believed the best in a world that had once treated him so cruelly, and forgave, allowing him to live peacefully for 10 years after his rescue.

How many grudges we as humans hold, and many of them are misdirected. How long we harbor anger in our hearts, ultimately damaging ourselves far more than the objects of our discontent. Would we not be better off letting it all go, forgiving those who have wronged us and moving on? I think Squire answered that question for me. You could tell he had been subject to terrible cruelty, true, but you could also tell that he had moved past it in order to enjoy a better life.

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