By Gayle Carline
Author and Horse Lover
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only." - Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
A friend of mine hates Dickens because his main characters never take charge of their own lives to alter their course, and of course he's right, but I particularly love this opening line/paragraph because it perfectly describes how various people view the world. To some, the glass is half full and it is the best of times. To others, life is always tipping toward the worst.
In 2008, I was longeing my beautiful black gelding, Snoopy, in the round pen. He was running, not bucking or jumping or acting crazy, when he began to limp. After some initial assessment by the vet who had stopped by because she's a friend of the ranch owner, we took him to the equine hospital down the street for x-rays. I still remember Dr. Klohnin's soft accent as he pointed to the picture on the screen and said, "Do you see the white line? He has broken the sesamoid bone."
He said a lot more, although once he said the phrase, "fuse the joint" my brain got up and left the building. Even so, I kept interpreting each sentence as positive. They could operate. (They've done this procedure before.) Snoopy could come back to full health. (Many horses had.) The procedure was successful about 85% of the time. (Better than 50/50!)
It took almost three years to get Snoopy's leg back to being fully functional, but I always believed that it would. I wasn't going to give up until one of his vets took me by the shoulders, shook me firmly and said, "It's over and done and we can't save him."
I guess you could say I see things as the best of times.
Recently, one of the horses at our facility managed to knock a goodly-sized portion of his hoof off, exposing the soft tissue underneath. He is in a box stall, which the entire staff has inspected, and no one can figure out how he did it, although I must add, he is quite the kicker when he thinks there might be food available.
As you horse owners know, having the foot exposed is a danger to infection, so Niki (the trainer) tried to call the owner, couldn't reach her, and made the executive decision to get the vet out. Dr. Garloff came out and flushed the wound, packed it with antibiotics and wrapped it tightly.
I was there when Niki finally contacted the owner. I could only hear one side of the conversation, but it was pretty easy to interpret. The owner was crying hysterically. Her horse, in her mind, was irreversibly broken. Niki kept having to reassure her that she would not have to put the horse down. The hoof will grow back. It will take a long time, but it will grow back. There is no reason for sadness and worry, as long as they follow the vet's instructions. Cleaning, antibiotics, wrapping every other day.
A week later, the owner was still expressing worry.
"I've been worried about your horse, too," she told me. (Snoopy has been having some issues that seem to be solved with different shoeing.)
I felt like telling her to keep her worry blanket off my horse. I save my worry for problems I see as insurmountable, and Snoopy was going to be fine. Just fine.
What does the world look like to you? Do you live in the spring of hope or the winter of despair? Do you believe in the power of positive thinking? Or is it all in the hands of science or fate or some other force of nature?