Between God And Country

Album: Between God And Country (2007)
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Songfacts®:

  • Andy Hersey: "I was a horseshoer for 15 years. And as I started, I was an apprentice with a man named Red Martin, who was a pretty good poet. And he was half Irish and half Native American. And he always drew from both sides of his lineage. And as far as the Native American side, he was always taught by his tribal elders that as long as he had harmony between the earth and the sky and himself, that all things were in place. That was all. Keep harmony between the earth and the sky and yourself. He taught me that before he taught me anything about how to nail a shoe on the bottom of a horse's hoof. It takes more than just making the shoe stay on the bottom of the hoof.

    I would drive Red from Tucson, Arizona, where I met him, to his clients in California. Obviously affluent, if you're in the game of polo, it's not just a business. But there was a tremendous amount of money involved with these horses. And long story short, we pulled into a horse barn one morning, I think it was Malibu Riding and Tennis Club, and - understand, these are not my clients. I'm an apprentice for Red Martin. And it looked like a golf course, it was so manicured. And there was a horse in there, a mare, that was pregnant, that had foundered. That is to say that she had some type of a shock to her system. I think she got into a bunch of sweet feed, which has a lot of protein, or some grain, and had eaten her belly full. And when there's that much protein in a horse's system, it shocks the system, and it shows in the swelling of the front feet, which is called founder. And this horse had foundered so bad that the coffin bone inside the hoof had not quite rotated through the bottom of the sole of the hoof. But this horse was in extreme pain. And she was pregnant. And she was a very expensive horse. And we pulled up there, and there was two or three veterinarians there, a bunch of stable hands, a couple of cowboys from neighboring ranches, to Red and me.

    And Red said very little, other than the quotes that you hear in the song. And he took that horse, he took the pain away from that horse with his ability as a horseshoer. And it was absolutely the most miraculous thing I had ever seen. And I've pulled cows out of cattle guards, I've seen horses hit by semi trucks and live, I've been in a bunch of gruesome situations in my time on these southern Arizona ranches here. This was the most miraculous thing that I'd ever seen.

    And then we tried to ask him how he did it, and he couldn't explain it. Or he wouldn't explain it, as if to say, 'You'll never learn.' But somewhere between God and country he found the ability to heal that horse. And I thought it was worth the time to write a song about. And we've lost Red to cancer, I think it was a couple of years ago. But Red was just a tremendous soul. And an artist when it came to the bottom of a horse's hoof. And he always encouraged me, because at that point I was already playing guitar, and he always made room, he'd move horseshoeing tools out of the way so I could throw my guitar in the back of our horseshoeing rig so that I could play for him in the hotel rooms and play for clients. Whatever. He was always very encouraging. And I wrote a song for that. And if I never believed in a miracle before, I believe in them now." (Read more in the Andy Hersey interview.)

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