“The Crane is wildness incarnate. High horns, low horns, silence, and finally a pandemonium of trumpets, rattles, croaks… a new day has begun on the crane marsh. A sense of time lies thick and heavy on such a place. Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language.”
Ranching is a trade that is deeply rooted in history and tradition as well as being on the forefront of progress and innovation. It is a trade that can be photographed 50 years apart with little to no noticeable change. A “timeless trade” not just stylistically or aesthetically, but in that its practices, rooted in caring for the land and providing for the people, are as relevant now as they were 100 years ago.
I was first introduced to the term “self-selection” in a barefoot trimming clinic in Australia about a year ago. The couple that were hosting the clinic, a trimmer and a vet, were starting a holistic rehab center in New South Wales in which one of the main focus points would be a Paddock-Paradise-style track system with a wide variety of planted herbs to provide the natural process of self-selection to their rehab horses. The thought behind this being that in the wild, horses (and other grazing animals) will seek out and choose to eat specific plants with medicinal properties to benefit their unique health, a process that most domestic horses don’t have access to, and which most horse owners compensate for by feeding an excess of supplements that blanket a wide variety of needs as a “cover all the bases” strategy.