Earlier this week, it was time for our 127 brood mares to have their semi-annual "beauty treatment."
They get their hooves trimmed, a dose of dewormer, and what every female enjoys, a pregnancy test, which in the equine world, consists of a long-armed palpitation and an ultrasound.
It's noisy and chaotic, but there's a rhythm to the process, as the mares are gathered in, sent along an S-alley to a "squeeze" chute so they can be held steady while the vet does his part, and then each mare is hoisted onto a "tip table." The farrier restrains her with soft ropes and trims her feet while his assistant administers a squirt of dewormer.
It takes only a few moments to do each mare, but these girls aren't handled much, so they don't all appreciate the equine version of a "spa day."
Some charge into the chute like true drama queens, whites of their eyes flashing. Kicking, head-tossing, pawing. Doing all they can to throw their almost-one-ton-of-weight each through the steel chute and hopefully escape their fates. I fought the impulse to give each one a comforting pat, for I'd be missing fingers, I'm sure.
They don't understand, in their horsy heads, that what we are doing is for their good. They'll feel better. They'll be healthier. And we'll know whether or not to expect a little bundle of joy come spring.
Sometimes we humans find ourselves in turmoil and tight situations, too, and we respond much the same way as the panicked mares. Kicking. Fighting. Our puny minds can't comprehend that Someone is doing an important work, albeit unpleasant and confusing, that will ultimately be for our benefit.
"The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials." - Chinese Proverb
There were a few mares that came into the chute and squeeze like ladies to the manor born. Although trembling, they cast their gentle eyes on us in trust and faith. They were no more comfortable than the distraught mares, but they accepted their situation quietly and serenely. They were through the farrier's hands and back to the pasture in no time.
May we always be as calmly accepting of the Lord's "beauty treatments" which always serve to conform us to the image of His Son. His care often requires a little painful chiseling and whittling to rid us of our nasty bits, but those same Hands always bring goodness.
He makes everything beautiful in His time. Ecclesiastes 3:11