Monday, January 07, 2013

Fartin' Horses & Federal Policy

Equine flatulence
The Path of Grandfather Logic
Unnatural alterations
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            I had two wonderful, and, yet, diametrically opposed grandfathers.
            Carl Rice was my friend. He kept me in cowboy hats and he cared what I looked like under one. He taught me to love outside. He made sure there was something under the Christmas tree that he liked as much as I would. He liked my company, and I loved his.
            Albert Wilmeth was a mentor extraordinaire. With him, we were constantly positioned in real life situations that mattered. He taught us little accomplishments were the path to big ones. He never cared what was under the tree. I don’t know if he even liked my company. I rely on his today … nearly 35 years after his passing.
            Equine flatulence
            Walt Anderson and I had a serious discussion about equine flatulence. That subject happens to be a profound one of which too few have much knowledge.
            The discussion started when I asked Walt if he thought horses farted as much today as they did years ago. His reaction was much like yours when such a seemingly irrational question is posed. The fact is I don’t think they do, and, with a bit of explanation, Walt altered his reaction to the subject as well.
            For those with grey hair who listened to thundering remudas of horses running to the corral before sunup 50 years or more ago, there was more to the thunder than heretofore discussed. As those ponies approached the corral gate, a cacophony of muted, uproarious, explosive, and disharmonious sphincter babble was a fact of their existence. Exertion acting upon stored reserves was the facilitator.
            It would continue as horses were saddled and humped backs were softened and relaxed. Mounted cowboys could prompt it again by a jab of a spur. It would continue at a diminishing rate except for exceptional horses.
Snooper was renowned for his ability to pass gas on command. Once, at the end of a long day, Hugh Reed and I doubled up on him bareback to ride down the creek to fish. He stood there immobile with his ears back until Hugh jabbed him with his heal. His response was a typical loosely discordant first note. An explosive chorus followed with each lunge in a pitching, straightaway run. With a fishing rod in each hand, he tipped me out the back about the third jump.
Hugh was whooping and hollering as he regained control and came back up the trail. There I stood in the muddy trail on both feet planted firmly where I landed. Snooper still had his ears back, but I held each fishing rod in the same position they had been prior to the prelude.
A Texas cowboy told me some years ago he believed the phenomenon was the feed we feed today more than the horse we have. In the days of thundering remudas, horses didn’t eat hay unless they were kept up. They were selectively grained or grained enough to make them want to come in. The bulk of their diet came from natural turf.  At Grampa’ Wilmeth’s barn on the Mangus, there may have been only a dozen bales of hay at any one time, but there were a number of 55 gallon drums of whole oats.
A good many of those horses looked different as well. With big barrels and worked hard, they consumed great quantities of roughage to satisfy their dietary demands. They didn’t get anything in measured doses, but they ate throughout the day when turned out.
The health of those horses was not an issue, either. Until years later, I never heard the term colic except for human babies that didn’t sleep through the night. Now, colic is a worry and I can look out the window and see three horses that have a demonstrated some history of the problem. In fact, there is a big bottle of Banamine in the refrigerator in the shop bathroom. I know the typical respiration rate of each of those horses, and, if and when we need our Vet, he now asks what kind of gut sounds I hear on each side.
Certainly, horses were lost from what now must be assumed to be colic. A favored horse of my uncle found dead in a field one morning likely expired from colic.
The point is it wasn’t such a problem that it was a big worry. As a result, a theory must be accepted that horses maintained under natural evolutionary conditions, on their own, are less likely to be susceptible to such problems. Under those conditions they will maintain immense populations of micro flora and fauna to digest all that mass of roughage, and … a natural byproduct from that process is equine flatulence.
The Grandest Analogy
What else have we altered, manipulated, and subsidized similarly that equates to worry and permanent maintenance?
At a minimum, we must realize that at least 20% of the nation has tipped over into a crevasse that poses perhaps insurmountable consequences to our future well being and freedom. Eleven states now have more welfare recipients than employed citizenry. Alabama, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, New Mexico, Ohio, and South Carolina have more folks on the take than self supporting.
            New Mexico has 1.53 takers for every one giver!
            As this is written, the day after the infamous fiscal cliff vote, the specter of worsening conditions is the only honest outcome that can be anticipated. The represented 45:1 ratio of increased taxation against spending cuts is laughable … especially when there is no real intent to cut anything regarding entitlement spending.
            Our Congress isn’t going to change this accelerating free fall into oblivion. For too long, we assumed there was reasonableness among their ranks, and at least the issue of spending would eventually take precedence over politics. It hasn’t.
We must now face the inevitable truth. The emerging cataclysm isn’t just a multiyear mismanagement of our national treasury and trust. It is the pending annihilation of our entire constitutional system. There is evidence that the true nature of unfunded obligations doesn’t equate to one year of gross national product.  It equates to over 14 years of total gross national product.
In other words, to fund all obligations now contracted by legislation every dollar created by every American would be swept away for 14 years. That doesn’t even account for future grand projects envisioned by these money changers.
This is epic. It is unavoidably assigned to us as the ultimate closet to be robbed. We are not just feeding high powered hay … we now have every being hooked up to an IV and are spoon feeding every ounce of sustenance needed. There is no reliance on the individual to be given the God given freedom to care for and look out for himself. This is an all new horse of unfathomable consequences. On the deserts of southern New Mexico, it looks like a fatal case of national calamity and inevitable bankruptcy.   
The Image is cast
Today, there is not a single elected national leader who has earned title to be showered with accolades. Starting and magnified from the top, there is not a single leader who can be counted upon to lead this collective band of blind, inept avant-garde proxies out of their dreamland. If there was, he or she would have emerged or he or she would have gone to his death fighting for the sovereign existence of our country.
Words … just words!”
That next morning the alphabet soup news readers were going through the tedious ranks of the Washington crew getting their take on the outcome of the vote. The comedic analogy was just too apparent not to draw attention to it. The jabs of the spurs were symbolically transformed into the rapid fire questions from the other incredibly biased migratory troop of tramps, the Capital Hill reporters. 
Just like that bay horse, Snooper, the automatic babble responses were immediate and continuous with each jab.  The substance of the ‘cacophony of muted, uproarious, explosive, and disharmonious (orifice) babble’ was no more meaningful than the similar clouds of gas that dissipated into the morning air all those years ago.
At least the horses were honest, and … didn’t attempt to shape or enunciate their responses for future reference.

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “Yea, I know … I have left it to this point to tie my grandfathers to this topic, and, since we have breached narrative etiquette already, we’ll linger there. They both offered logic in reasonable doses. One universal suggestion was a lesson in selecting horses and men. The ditty was ‘a fartin’ horse’ll never tire, and a fartin’ man is the man to hire!’ That logic has never failed, but, with the standoff of one being a staunch Republican and the other a middle of the road Democrat, neither contributed to my constitutional proficiency … just like Congress.”

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