Wormed In A Squeeze Chute

by Jake Hershey on March 10, 2013


I’ve made either all or part of my living with horses for a long time now.  Short ones, tall ones, fat ones, skinny ones, broncy ones, dead head ones, horses that are more athletic than an Olympic gymnast and horses that trip over their own feet when they walk.  Horses that spook at their own shadow and horses that are “bomb proof”.  Horses that are bred and used for ranch work, roping, barrel racing, cutting, track racing, dressage and jumping.  Horses that are out of some old nag and an ugly stud who jumped a fence to get her and are used to look at.  God has provided me with a bunch of work over the years either shoeing, trimming, floating, starting or using horses of all kinds.  Just like people, horses all have different personalities and quirks about them.  Some naturally crave attention and some naturally want to be left alone.  Some love their job and look forward to doing it, some don’t really care for their job but show up and do it without complaining and some let it be known that they don’t like to work period.  Some are caring, some are mean, some are skittish, some are brave.  I have known some outstanding horses owned by idiot people and some idiot horses owned by outstanding people.  All of these things make for some pretty good stories.

In dealing with lots of horses and lots of people over the years you might think that I had seen it all…..and you would be wrong.  Those of you who have a lot of experience with horses and people may think that you’ve seen it all too…..I doubt you have.  For instance, I had a guy call me up awhile ago about starting a colt for him.  When he showed up to my place with the colt I noticed it had a little gimp in it’s step and I asked him about it.  He nonchalantly replied, “Yeah, we had to run him over with the pickup to catch him, he’ll be alright.”  I bet you’ve never heard of that.  But that’s a story for a different time.

I was talking to a guy this week about doing a trade.  The trade we were discussing was horse for horse.  We didn’t know each other or the horses personally, so we were discussing the ins and outs of both of our horses before we decided if both of us would be interested in the trade.  He told me that his horse was raised on a large ranch, how it was bred, what it had done, etc.  I told him my horse was pretty “watchy” and asked about his.  He said, “The only hole I’ve found in him is he DOES NOT like to be touched around his face.”  In my mind, that’s a simple enough fix….some horses just don’t like that and it’s not too hard to get them over it.  He then went on to say, “He won’t hurt you, but he DOES NOT like it….and I think I know why.  The ranch he was born on ran him through a squeeze chute as a colt to worm him.”

Really?  REALLY?  Just when you and I thought we’d seen it all.  He said, “I’m not exactly sure why they did it or what all went on in that squeeze chute, but I think it has something to do with it.”

Ya think?

Here I am thinking in my own mind that the horse is bad about his head for no good reason.  Turns out he’s got a pretty good one.  Who knows the trauma that sucker had in his younger years.  I wouldn’t just be bad about my head, I’d be a people hatin’ son of a gun.  Or scared to death of people for the rest of my life…..or both.

How many times have you met someone who had a quirk or two about them that just annoyed the crap out of you?  How many people do you come across on a daily basis who have traits that annoy the crap out of you?  How many times have you been around someone and as soon as they were gone said or thought something like, “I don’t know why they act like that.”  Or, “The way they act or responded is ridiculous.”

Just like a horse that was run thru a squeeze chute to be wormed as a colt, people have things in their past that we can’t even imagine.  Sometimes those things cause them to be man hating and/or fearing people.  Sometimes it causes alcohol or drug abuse, or any number of negative and lingering effects on their lives.  But sometimes those people have not let the trauma of their past dictate the rest of their life.  Just like that horse, they have turned out to be good suckers, but with a little quirk about them.  As Christians, it’s up to us to not judge them based off that quirk or their past experiences.  If I end up trading for the head shy horse I plan on getting him over it, by teaching him he can trust me to not hurt him.  He doesn’t have to forget the things in his past, but he doesn’t have to let them define him either.  He can get over it and live a more rewarding life.  People are the same way.  If we’ll choose to not judge them based on their little quirks, but instead choose to learn a little something about them before passing judgement….and then let them know that they can trust God, move on and live a more rewarding life, then we’re doin’ what we ought to.

I’m off to shoe one and teach him not to be scared of a rope.

He’s a horse, not a human….that would be really weird if a human was scared of a rope.

“Every single one of us ought ‘ta try and do things that help their fellow man out, things that cause their neighbor to be a better person.”  Romans 15:2, SCV

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  • Thanks for this, mister Jake. You’re right, we oftentimes don’t know a think about the junk in anyone else’s trunk.


  • Kat

    I really enjoy reading your posts.
    I can relate. I have head shy horse.

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