Equine Ownership

As a retired horseshoer and horse owner I have learned a lot about the equine. They, like people, all have their own personalities. They are also a lot more intelligent than people give them credit for.

A lot of responsibility comes with ownership. There is a lot of work involved and it isn’t cheap. If you don’t own property and have to board your horse it can be quite expensive. If you keep your horse in a stall the stall needs to be mucked out daily. They also have to be fed hay daily. Depending on the horse and what you are doing with the horse you may need to feed grain twice a day every day.

“I’ve often said there is nothing better for the inside of the man, than the outside of the horse.” – Ronald Reagan

Now if you show your horse, compete in rodeos or trail ride you are going to need a trailer to haul your horse in and a truck to pull it. Now this could be a rather large expense.

Let’s not forget veterinarian expenses and annual shots, worming, hoof care and unexpected events.

All in all equine ownership isn’t cheap. In my opinion though the reward is worth the expense.

One Year Later

This was me a year ago. I camped out the weekend before Christmas. (12/22 – 12/23). The temps were high 40s low 20s. I am camped on my property.

This year on December 23 I had cataracts removed from my right eye. I went in at 8:30 and was out by 11. The marvels of modern medicine. Everything went fine. High that day in the 50s and low 30s. Christmas Day high is supposed to be near 70. We have a saying here in Missouri, “If you don’t like the weather just wait a few minutes.”

I wanted to camp out on the property the weekend before Christmas but the surgery put a damper on that. The worse news I got was that I couldn’t fish for a week or kayak for two weeks. Now enter temps of near 70 for Christmas Day.

I always carry with me a number 10 Lodge Dutch Oven. I think that is the most versatile size for camping for one. I can prepare a complete breakfast in it all at once. Sorry I digress.

Back to cataract surgery. I was amazed it only took a little over 15 minutes for the procedure. The people involved in my surgery at the Farmington Surgical Center were wonderful. I can’t say enough good things about them.

There was a little girl, I would say around 4 or 5 across from me. I watched as she entertained herself opening and closing the blinds surrounding the areas we were in. She suddenly stopped and was staring at me. I was probably quite a site lying there in the bed hooked up to an IV and all the other gadgets. She then says in this concerned little voice, “Mister are you all right.” I assured her I was fine and she smiled and went about her business.

Beside me there was a young boy around 11 that was having his tonsils removed and as they were wheeling me into the OR he said, “Mister, it will be okay. ” God love ’em.

What a difference a year can make. Hopefully I will be able to camp on the property the weekend before Christmas. One can only wonder what the weather will be like. We will just have to see.

A Little Farrier Humor

First let me make it clear the names have been changed to protect the not so innocent.

A young man had bought a grade horse and was obsessed with finding out exactly how old the horse was to the point he became very annoying.

Now Bubba had been told by the sellers it was twenty one years old. Someone made the mistake of telling him that the sellers were known for not telling the truth. Now Bubba was convinced his horse was close to thirty. He asked the vet to age him by looking at his teeth. Vet said as near as he could tell the horse was in his twenties.

One morning while I was in the barn shoeing horses he began his rant of not knowing exactly how old his horse was. I wasn’t having a good morning. A horse had pulled its foot back at the same time the nail exited the hoof and sliced my finger. Billy Bob, who worked at the barn, was holding horses and fetching them for me.

Well Bubba just went on and on and I had had enough. I said there is one sure fire way you could get close. You know how a tree is aged by its rings? Well a horse grows an anal ring every five years so if it has four rings it is between twenty and twenty five. At this point Billy Bob almost choked on his tobacco. Billy Bob said that’s right. I had forgot about that method.

Well Bubba told us we were full of it and walked off. I never gave it another thought. I was sure he knew I was being sarcastic.

I was under a horse prepping the hoof for a shoe. Meanwhile Bubba had pulled his horse out of the stall and was grooming him. I was checking the shoe fit when Billy Bob said you have to see this and was laughing hysterically. I set the foot down and looked in the direction of Bubba.

I looked on in disbelief. Bubba was holding the tail with one hand and with the finger of the other hand he was opening the business end of the horse with his face just inches away. Bubba and I were laughing so hard we had tears running down our cheeks.

I guess Bubba heard us and dropped its tail and judging by what he was saying to us it was a safe bet we were no longer on his Christmas card list. He didn’t talk to us for months and to my knowledge never asked anyone how old they thought his horse was.

Let me tell you. It was quite a sight to see. I still laugh when I think about it. I never thought in my wildest dreams that he would do that. I guess I was wrong.

A Little Trip Down Memory Lane

During my teenage years my family would vacation every summer for a week at a campground in Mammoth Spring, Arkansas called Many Islands. It was located on the Spring River and offered premier trout fishing.

Our first year we camped for a week in a tent. It didn’t take long to realize that this was not the best of ideas. The following years we rented a cabin with all the comforts of home.

Spring River had several springs that flowed into it. The water temperature was cold and colder. Remember this little bit of information. The shock of hitting the water would take your breath away.

Generally we would wade the water to trout fish. On this one particular morning my dad informed me he was renting a boat and trolling motor so he and I could get where the big trout hung out.

There was a concrete slab where one could pull the boat up to and tie it off. My dad had pulled the boat up to the slab and informed me he was going to show me how to tie the boat up properly.

I was thirteen and excited about my dad sharing his knowledge with me. I watched attentively as he explained the proper knot to use as he tied it off. He then instructed me to retrieve our tackle boxes and rods and reels. He began loading the boat with our gear. He took one load aboard and came back to get another load.

On this trip he set his foot on the front seat of the John boat and still had one foot on the slab. At this point the boat began to drift away from the slab. Little did I know my vocabulary was going to expand with words that if I had ever used would have ended with me getting my mouth washed out with soap.

Now you have to picture my dad with one foot in the boat and the other planted on the slab and the boat slowly backing away. The gap between the boat and slab has widened. At this point I began to wonder if at the age of thirty four if my dad could physically do the splits.

My dad is trying frantically to pull the boat back to the slab with his leg. I stood there in disbelief as I watched the knot my dad had tied begin to unravel and the boat was now free and it occurred to me my dad was now at the point of no return.

All of a sudden I was overcome with the urge to laugh. I immediately started biting my tongue and realized how much I enjoyed life. I didn’t want to be standing in front of the pearly gates at such a young age so with great determination I was able to suppress my laughter.

I watched in horror, but laughing on the inside, as the gap became too wide for my dad to maintain his balance. SPLASH!!! Did I mention how cold the water is? He rises out of the water and onto the slab with the agility of a teenager. Like the Phoenix rising from the ashes!! My vocabulary was expanding with the speed of light. His language would have made a sailor proud!

Needless to say that pretty much ended our day in the boat exploring Spring River and a trophy Trout was spared. When we got back to the cabin we had a real good laugh. Ahh the memories of growing up.

Ozark Rivers of the Past

“Only going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter.” – John Muir

If I could ever spend time with a person of the past it would be John Muir. He explored the wilderness in the 1800s. The majority of the time he was alone. Him and the creatures that inhabited the area.

His love for the mountains was comparable to my love for the Ozark rivers of Missouri. His books and essays were influential in my admiration and respect for nature.

I can only imagine what kind of experience it would have been to explore the Ozark rivers in the 1800s.

Many times when I am camped on a gravel bar sitting in front of a fire, I find myself fantasizing about what it would have been like back then.

I imagine what the water would have been like free of pollutants. River banks and gravel bars void of litter and unmolested by ATVs. A place not yet touched by the hand of man and his idea of progress.

Without the infringement of artificial light, created by near by towns and dusk to dawn lights, the stars had to have the appearance of magnificent diamonds in the night sky.

It boggles my mind to think one would probably not see another human for days or weeks. One would experience the true feeling of being alone. Lost in the magnificence of Mother Earth and Her beauty. I can only imagine.

The Ozark rivers of Missouri gives one an avenue to seek and find one’s inner being. A place to observe the true beauty of Mother Earth. A place to heal their spirit and cleanse their soul. To enjoy it one must clear their mind and become one with the river. Then and only then can you understand my love for the Ozark rivers.

My Take On Life

” The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of those depths. – Elisabeth Kubler-Rossi

Life is a series of curveballs. It seems it is going to smack you head on then at the last minute turns away from us leaving us confused and perplexed wondering what’s next.

Was it fate or was it a well orchestrated move by a higher power? Was it’s purpose to wake us up or a warning of what’s to come or to prepare us for future events?

In life there are times of celebration, struggle and failure. Nothing in life is guaranteed. Death is the only certainty in life. Rich or poor we all face the reality of death. There is no guarantee that there will be a tomorrow. We are responsible for writing our own book of life.

Life should be lived to its fullest. Every day we are given should be celebrated. Be thankful for every day you are awarded.

Fill your heart with love and joy. Don’t entertain drama or negative thoughts for they are only poison to the spirit and void of any usefulness. Depression feeds on drama and negativity robbing one of a joyous and productive life.

Don’t wish your life away on material things. Be thankful for who you are and what you have. It could always be worse even if you hit rock bottom.

Stay focused on the positive things in your life. Be kind to everyone even if they aren’t to you. Don’t be quick to judge them because you know not the demons they may be facing in their life. Never blame someone else for your mistakes. Accept the responsibility of your decisions. Never doubt yourself or your abilities.

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” Frederick Douglas

Always believe in yourself and love who you are. Know that you can overcome any obstacle in front of you on the road of life. None of us are immune to hard times. Learn to overcome them and learn from your mistakes. Be victorious in your struggles.

I am not going to sugar coat it. Life can be a tough row to hoe. Determination is an essential element of life to help you win the battles you face. Your struggles build character and how you confront them will determine if you will be happy or miserable.

The above is just my opinion of life from what I have learned in my 65 years. I hope life is good to you and your life is full of love, happiness and joy.

Retirement

“Retirement is not the end of the road. It is the beginning of the open highway.” – Author Unknown

After retiring you will ask yourself how you ever got everything done when you were working. Never seems like there is enough time in the day.

I really didn’t want to retire but one day in a boarding barn I was putting shoes on a horse, that in 6 years of shoeing him, he never gave me any trouble.

Well that morning someone was working in a stall next to the shoeing area. Not thinking they pulled the trigger on an electric power wrench and all hell broke loose. I was underneath of the horse’s right hind and it launched me toward the wall.

Well while heading for the wall like I was trying to break a land speed record I thinks to myself, this ain’t gonna end pretty. I just know it.

Seconds later my face makes contact with this not so soft wall. As I bounced off the wall I could see one of us was bleeding. Yep you guessed it. It weren’t the wall! It was my nose. Bleeding like a stuck hog.

I landed on my back thinking, well that wasn’t too bad. Then it happened. That’s what I get for thinking. The horse decided to stand on my left shoulder. I laid there trying to figure out what MacGyver would have done. The horse finally got off my shoulder and you would have been amazed at how fast an overweight old man can move. I looked like Secretariat coming down the back stretch.

As I started assessing the damage done to me 2 boarders came around the corner and saw the blood. Now I know my brother farriers know exactly what they said. “Oh my God! Is the horse ok? Should we call the vet? I bet my head could have been 5 feet from my torso and they would check the horse first. As I stood there still dazed I relayed to them that it was my blood not the horses in unison they said “Oh”. I am standing there and my nose looks like a ketchup dispenser that won’t shut off and all I get is “Oh”! Then a miracle happens. One of the ladies said “You are bleeding. “. Yes ma’am I am.

On the way home I did some thinking and I decided it was time to hang up the apron. I didn’t retire completely. I kept around 18 head on my books. Then about a year ago I completely retired from shoeing horses.

Now days I make horseshoe art, Dutch oven cooking and fish a lot. I try my best to avoid real work. I miss the people. I had some great clients.

The following pics is a little sample of my horseshoe art.

Thanks for visiting and taking the time to read my blog. You are appreciated very much.

Growing Up In The 50s and 60s

As a child my “journey of life” was lived as a country boy. We always lived near small towns and both grandparents lived on farms. Common sense and respect were alive and well and a handshake meant something. Life was simple.

Following are some of the things that I remember from my childhood.

We said yes sir, no sir, yes ma’am, no ma’am and thank you. Ate fried tater sandwiches. Mom canning what we grew in the garden. Family vacations. The whole family sitting around the supper table. Collecting soda bottles and turning them in to redeem the deposit that was on them. Going Snipe hunting. Catching lightning bugs and putting them in glass jars. Experienced snipe hunting. We went fishing and hunted. We didn’t Skype or Tweet. Our social media consisted of grandpa’s pond. We said the pledge of allegiance every morning before school. We used a dictionary, encyclopedia and the library because internet service was nonexistent. If you got caught cussing you got your mouth washed out with soap. We rode in the back of a pickup. We respected the flag and stood for the National Anthem. Stores were closed on Sundays and holidays. Parents didn’t hesitate to bust our butts when we did something wrong.

It was clean honest living and a lot of the things we did aren’t even allowed any more. I don’t ever remember hearing about mass shootings. Hmm.

A Cold Blustery Night

Even though winter doesn’t officially start until December 21, old man winter showed up here in southwest Missouri with a vengeance.

As I sit here writing in my journal I can here the wind gusting outside my tiny cabin. It is blowing relentlessly across Mother Earth. It hasn’t let up all day. I pray that the homeless have secured a warm place to sleep for the night.

My mind wanders back to my grandparents who lived in a drafty old farmhouse with nothing but an old potbelly wood stove to provide them warmth. At one time the cracks in the floor were so bad that you could see the chickens gathered underneath the house to absorb the warmth of the stove as the heat escaped through the cracks. My grandparents survived many winters in that old farm house.

Feather beds were present on all the beds to help keep the occupants warm since the only stove was located in the living room. On top of the bed were many quilts to hold ones body heat for warmth. There was no inside plumbing so chamber pots were in fashion.

They didn’t get running water until I was 16 (1970). When I was twenty one (1975) my uncle and I installed an inside bathroom. I can’t ever remember them complaining about not having modern conveniences.

As I lie in bed tonight listening to the roar of the wind I am sure I will think about the winter nights I spent in the old farm house surrounded by the love of my grandparents.

My grandparents old farm house in 2017.

Confessions Of A Loner

“The best thinking has been done in solitude.” – Thomas A Edison

There are those who don’t like to be alone and those like myself who do. One has to decide which makes them happy. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Which one is the best for a person? It depends on the individual.

” Be a loner. That gives you time to wonder, to search for the truth, have holy curiosity. Make your life worth living.” – Albert Einstein

I like being alone. I am at peace with the world when it’s just me, my thoughts, and my memories. Even though they aren’t physical warm bodies, I am not really alone. Nobody can take them from me unless I let them. I don’t have to make them happy or be afraid of offending them. I don’t have to worry about hurting their feelings.

I have traveled the other road that was littered with disappointment and unnecessary drama. Did this cause me to be a loner? I would like to think no however it is a possibility.

Actually I love the freedom of being a loner. I can concentrate on what makes me happy. I don’t need anyone’s permission if I take a notion to go fishing, hunting or take a road trip. I just do it.

Am I being selfish? Some will say yes. I say no because I am happy and content. I have basically spent my life taking care of someone else and sadly, disappointment was the end result. I was so worried about making them happy I forgot about me.

I will admit it isn’t for everybody. I think one has to be a strong person with a healthy mind to be a loner. I do get extremely aggravated when the news media covering a crime story seem to always say the criminal was a loner. They might have been but they had mental and hate issues that led them down the criminal path.

I am in no way trying to convince anyone to become a loner. I am just merely explaining why I chose this path and hoping people have a better understanding of why I embrace this way of life. Here I find peace and tranquility. Not everyone will because it isn’t for everyone.

Maybe there is a lot of selfishness in this lifestyle but it is who I am and how I roll. If someone wanted me to change wouldn’t that be selfish of them? Learn to accept people for who they are and don’t try to change them. I don’t judge you so please don’t judge me.