When Good Enough is Better
by amy elizabeth
Forced by a back injury my ranch chores have been on the slide for months, the stalls went from getting cleaned two or three times a day to once, sometimes not at all. Water troughs that have always been dumped every other day are now being overflowed to freshen, and dumped once a week. My horses aren’t sporting a clipped bridle path anymore; actually, any optional grooming to perfection has come to a screeching halt. It has been difficult for me to accept that TBN doesn’t have that cut above the rest look anymore. But, lately I’ve noticed something far more important than a tidy curb appeal.
Because Arizona is so dry, the ground quality is definitely not to a horse’s advantage. It hardly ever rains, the footing in my pens consists of crushed cinder block and granite, it holds the heat, and doesn’t easily retain moisture. My horses hooves are accustomed to these harsh conditions, but I’m far from satisfied that in the long run there won’t be some price to pay.
Every time the farrier comes, I start soaking the horse’s feet three days before, just to avoid his white knuckled, eyes popping out of his head look when trying to squeeze the nippers. But that was not the case yesterday, and I didn’t soak the feet this time either. What changed?
Since slacking on my chores, or cowboy cleaning, as I used to say, I’ve turned a few chickens lose in the barn and put them to work spreading manure. The footing in the pens has significantly improved, and so have my horse’s feet. Overflowing the water troughs has also helped by adding much needed moisture to the ground.
Once again, I am reminded the cowboy way is what it is for one very important reason… IT WORKS. There’s been too much cleanin’ an’ not enough cowboyin’ at TBN, and I’ve traded in my shovel… for a rope.