Accidental bumps and bangs happen all over the barnyard. It could be the bonk of your head against a low board in the barn, the thwap of a turkey’s wing across your ear, the stubbing of a toe, the dropping of a fence post pounder, the slip of a boot off the gate as you swing over it. My gosh… it could be anything! I can’t tell you how many bruises I wear at any given time, but I definitely wear them with pride because they symbolize the freedom and active nature of my lifestyle.
This week has been a busy one at both my farm and the horse farm where I teach. I have taken in two (soon to be three) new horses as training projects for the winter, which I’m sure will take up every spare ounce of energy and time (not to mention money) that I have.
It’s always interesting introducing new horses to the established herd in the field. I knew where these horses were coming from, so I didn’t bother quarantining them. They did spend a few days in a paddock getting their bearings, but once they were turned out with the other horses they clicked right into place. There was very little chasing and almost no fighting.
Of course the moment I let my guard down, my littlest grey mare, Aoife, decided to launch at my new grey mare, Keelin, and I happened to be on the other side of it. Keelin managed to leap, all four feet, into the air and landed squarely on my toe.
Ow. So my foot is a pretty color scheme of blues and purples today and I walk with a distinct limp. Still, I embrace my horses without much of a grudge.
Earlier that morning, however, before the squished-foot-incident, I had to trim the sheepies hooves for the winter. The rams were incredibly easy to catch and handle, especially after flipping them over. The sisters, two older ewes who I have decided are truly the most evil creatures on the farm, were another story. Actually, I should be glad that we caught Nance at all. You may have heard stories of her from me before; she is intensely aware of humans in the field, skeptical and intelligent. We caught her quickly this time and I only rode her across the field once. I wish we could do things less stressfully, but the danged ewe is out to get me. Still, once I caught her she realized that I was going to scratch her and pet her and she yielded nicely for the rest of the time I had her.
Her sister, Blair, is usually much nicer for handling. This day, however, I am pretty sure she was taking her cues from Nance. Blair was caught easily and because of an awkward hoof growth I had to flip her much like her son who is pictured above. She lay quietly and accepted her hoof trimming until, seemingly out of nowhere, she started kicking violently with her feet. I was so near finishing, too!
I was pummeled repeatedly in the legs and stomach by sharp little ewe feet, over and over and over. It got to the point where it stopped being excruciating and started to be comical despite the pain. She just kept kicking and kicking and kicking! I’ve never seen anything like it. Then, as quickly as she started, she ceased, sighed, and resumed lying still for the final snips of the hoof trimmers.
So… today I am bruised and battered and sore beyond belief, but that’s just another aspect of living and working on a farm. I am exhausted and daydreaming of a hot tub and a fancy cocktail, but instead I am rushing to finish this blog post so that I can go back out to the horse farm to train and muck at the farm, and bonk and smack and bash and further abuse my body… because that’s what I do, and in my own special way I guess I love it!
Do your hobbies ever have consequences yielding bruises? Are they worth it?