And back to Mathilda. I feel the need to defend us. We weren’t ignoring her feet. We knew they were a problem. [Borrowing Trouble & More Mathilda]

In the past, Mathilda got shod for the summer. We finally learned to shoe her at the late May blacksmith appointment. Otherwise, she would get sore overnight when she suddenly decided it was summertime, necessitating an out-of-schedule blacksmith visit. In late May this year, she was still on the critical list. We were thinking day to day, or perhaps week to week, waiting for something to happen. Shoeing was too much forward planning. Plus she was having so much trouble with her feet, adding more weight to them did not seem wise. Now that she has stopped giving us fits on a daily basis, shoes are still out. It takes diligent file management to get her trimmed in the short amount of time she is willing to hold up each foot.

Sadly, we had even been congratulating ourselves on having gotten through to September with a barefoot mare. Yes, she was a little off on the rocky sections of the pasture but we tried to keep her off of those. We piled extra shavings in her pen. We put compost on the path to the water trough to make it softer underfoot. We painted her feet with Venice turpentine. It all helped a bit. Apparently not enough. Silly minions.

There is a lesson under all of this self-justification. For 20 years, we got used to thinking of Mathilda as a smart, tough old cow. A blacksmith in another state refuse to put shoes on her because her feet were so nice. In bad weather, she was the one to lead the herd to the safest place. She was the one on the easy-keeper diet. If any horse was a throw-back to the toughness of wild horses, it was she.

Now that she is not 100%, insults that she previously laughed off become serious. A simple cold can become pneumonia to someone who is already sick. In hindsight, it should have been obvious that a second mechanical issue, even a slight one, could be a problem. Damn hindsight.

So, lesson learned. I hope.

What was your most useful hindsight lesson?
(A productive lesson with a moderately happy ending, please. I don’t want to drown in a pool of borrowed regret. Got enough of my own.)
Gratuitous Kitten Pic

%d bloggers like this: