I’ve learned in the horse world that everything related to time is relative.

It reminds me of “river time.” I’ve been lucky to have several canoe trips on the Green River in Utah. Early on I met an experienced old river rat named Tex McClatchy, the founder of Tex’s Riverways in Moab, Utah. We always rented our canoes from his outfit. It was the best.

Tex’s estimation of time was to give himself a little leeway, by adding an “ish” to the end of whatever time he told you. It was a separate word. Sometimes he’d pause for effect, maybe even take a breath, and then say “ish.”For example, he’d say, “Be here by 8 AM sharp with your gear ready to go. We’ll leave around 8:30. (pause) Ish.”

Or when he was picking us up after a week or so on the river, he’d tell us to “be ready around noon. Ish.” That “ish” covered a lot of territory. It could mean anything up to a couple of hours either way.

So when our farrier said he’d be at the pasture at 11, I knew he really meant 11-ish. When you’re dealing with large animals, things don’t always go quite as planned. It’s an inexact experience. And we’re usually not his first appointment of the day.

He’s almost never been on time, but we had to plan for the off chance that he’d be there right at 11 this once.

Getting ready involves calling our old sweeties in from the pasture, giving them grain, and then walking them to the barn. We time all of those actions, more or less, hoping to avoid too much waiting around.

Entertaining horses that think there must be a better plan than the one you currently are foisting upon them, is even more challenging than keeping a fussy preschooler occupied.

Actually preschoolers have more options.

Our horses are used to their own routine and are pretty darned set in their ways.

We got them in just fine. They ate as usual and then expected to head back to the pasture and their friends.

But no, today was different. We haltered them up, and led them down the road toward the barn.

About half way, Rick got a call from Shane, our farrier. He was going to be at least thirty minutes late.

Like I said, 11-ish.

Okay, time for plan B.

We let Bud and Pepper check out the green weeds and grass on the side of the road. This kept them busy for a few minutes, though we noticed that they were slowly edging toward the pasture and their friend waiting at the fence.

Rick checked the time. “I think we can head to the barn,” he said, optimism ringing in his voice.

He grabbed both lead ropes and off they went.

At the barn, there was no sign of Shane. We put the horses in the arena so they wouldn’t have to stand tied to a rail.

And we waited.

Shane is a character, like every other farrier I’ve met. He rodeos and is pretty much an old school cowboy. But I like him because he treats our old sweeties with kindness. Getting those arthritic legs up is a challenge. He doesn’t push. And he says encouraging things like, “give it to me when you can old girl.” I’m grateful for his gentle way with our horses.

He got both horses trimmed up in record time, and we walked them back to the pasture.

And there at the fence, waiting patiently, were the faithful friends: Red, Amigo, Baby and Miss H.

We let our two back into the pasture and packed things up. Since it was 1-ish, we decided to treat ourselves to lunch.

Just another day in the pasture.

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