Dr. Jed McKinlay, DVM, McKinlay & Peters Equine Hospital in Newman Lake, WA
The past year and a half have been interesting. We’ve dealt with a global pandemic and the driest spring/summer I can remember in the Inland Northwest. I talked to a friend of mine who lives in the Denver area the other day and he thanked us for sending them our rain. I told him he was not welcome. I recall how much of a pinch we felt during the 2008-2010 economic recession. But, during this (COVID 19) time of uncertainty, job losses, recreational restriction and so forth, the equine industry has remained strong and growing. Horse prices remain strong. This makes us feel great about what our horses mean to us and to our culture. It was sad seeing events that had gone on for decades and centuries being cancelled last year. But it has been as satisfying as it was sad to see the rebound this year as venues have opened back up. I’ve heard a lot of reports of sold-out rodeos and record entries and crowds. That is pretty exciting and encouraging!
Horses are a part of our lives. Our lives are better because we have horses in them. The world is a better place because of the horses in our lives. When times have been tough this past 18 months, horses have helped us get through these times. Whether they are rodeo horses, polo horses, miniature horses, trail riding horses, jumping horses, dressage horses, Quarter Horses, Arabians, Belgians, Paints, Morgans, Thoroughbreds, Cleveland Bays, Andalusians, Mules, name your breed and color, they just make life better. It gives you a twinge of pride and gratitude to own horses and be part of the horse industry.
I’m also grateful to live in the west. Farmers and Ranchers are no strangers to hard times. Fluctuating markets, droughts, floods, snow storms, fires and natural disasters are part of the landscape. We fight back where we can and we just keep working, keep doing all we can to get through the down times. We take pride in a job well done. It makes us feel good inside to do something that matters or helps someone else out. We’re still humble enough to believe in God and ask for His help. We are grateful when that help comes and we’re anxious to give Him thanks.
I got to take my grandson fishing the other day. We were off the grid for 3 days and 2 nights together. It was an epic time. Each morning and evening we would have prayer together. He drew the morning duties and I offered the evening prayers. He always asked Heavenly Father to bless us to be able to catch some fish. Whenever we caught a fish I’d ask him what it was. Dumb question? It wasn’t just a fish, it was an answer to his prayers. Gifts from Heaven just for us! Many of us have dealt with the illness or loss of family members and loved ones lately. When you own livestock or pets you eventually live through their passing. It is never easy or welcome, but it is part of life and horse keeping. Many of us have been around when a baby horse has been born. What a marvelous, miraculous experience that is! Helping us deal with life and death is another blessing of owning horses. During those elated or difficult times I’ve always felt like the veil between Heaven and Earth is a little thinner. Heaven seems a little nearer and more real.
Last fall we dealt with the worst year of Pigeon Fever on record (at least to my recollection). Unusually hot, dry, fly ridden conditions set up the perfect storm for Pigeon Fever infections. I’ve been worried that this year would be even worse, but so far it hasn’t been. Let’s pray it stays that way!
I know I’m supposed to be writing about some equine related issue. I’ve been practicing for over 31 years now. It would seem that there would be a lot I could write about, but I really just wanted to thank God out loud for the horses in our lives. Past, present and future! May each of you continue to be blessed with great horses and great horse experiences! Let’s be quick to thank the Almighty for these wonderful creatures, these wonderful creations of His that bless and enrich our lives!