The Nag, the Cripple, and the Deaf Dog,
What about Taffy? Our farrier said orthopedic shoes would
help. Taffy refused to let the farrier lift his right hind hoof.
We figured it was because this put too much weight on the swollen
left fetlock. But the farrier said we absolutely had to get on
some orthopedic shoes. He ended up tying Taffy's lead rope tightly
to a rafter in his stall. Taffy hung from it and fussed
and was obviously in great pain, but finally the shoes were on.
Two months later, Taffy had little trouble working with the
farrier. He left leg was now able to bear his weight when the farrier
worked on the right hoof.
After half a year the limp had entirely vanished. I began to ride Taffy,
but never faster than a walk. Whenever my eight-year-old sister,
Mary ,wanted to ride, I'd put her on Boy Horse.
Our Dalmatian, Lady, often went with us. She constantly ran
circles around us, clearing the way like a minesweeper. It's
what Dalmatians were bred to do.
Our mom had rescued her from the dog pound. Lady might have
been there because, like many Dalmations, she was deaf. She also
may have had a vision problem. At least once every week, she
would crash into a cholla cactus. I would hold her so she couldn't
bite while Mary took pliers to spines.
Boy Horse and Taffy were as safe as Lady was clumsy. They
never bumped us into cactus or low hanging palo verde thorn tree
limbs, never spooked more than a tiny "what's up?"
Nevertheless, whenever Mary rode, I'd saddle them. One Sunday
afternoon in July, those saddles made the difference between
life and death.
Where springs seep out of the mountians and sweet grass