There are some fascinating things about life with horses, some practical things, some interesting things, some spiritual things... There are things that "horse people" have in common and one of them is normally that they would rather be with their horse than just about anywhere else on earth. This has caused many an issue in life I am certain because most times other people don't understand....
Honestly, sometimes we don't understand either! Horses are not an easy "hobby" to have. They are complicated creatures, expensive, and the amount of time that is spent actually riding in comparison to the amount of time spent doing everything else that is related to the horse (feeding, mucking, caring for) is....well, it is WAY out of balance in terms of percentage.
But, for some reason those of us with the "equine sickness" do not seek a cure. We instead seek more time and innovative ways to manage it. We will get up earlier, go to bed later, our homes will suffer dirt, our dishes will remain unwashed (as will our hair LOL), our yards are never immaculate, our vehicles are more like transport carriers of everything we might need for the horse (and usually nothing we need for us). Oh, and they often smell like poo. We don't have food in our refrigerator but our horses are always well nourished. I can't even remember the last time I went "to the store" for groceries but I can track how long Koda's oats will last in seconds.
I tend to spend endless hours at the barn both with my horse and just fiddling around. I like puttering in my locker, cobwebbing Takoda's stall, thinking up ways to do things, deal with things, working out stuff in my head... I think more straight there it seems. Life is simpler. I crave it. It isn't just the horse, although he is what has led me to seek a more straight forward, basic life. It is the silence, the lack of pretense, the unspoken knowledge that things make sense when I am where my horse is, whereas in every other part of my life things seem to spiral out of control with the ridiculous notion that anything and everything tugging on me is of absolute significance when really, in the long-run, not one damn bit of it matters.
To the horse, this moment matters. There is no forward and backward in terms of hope and regret. Only now. Being around the horse is the only time that everything else fades to black for me. It is sacred time. I want to drink it more deeply than sweet wine and savor it and when I am there I never want to go back to the "real" world that pulls at me via texts, emails, that annoying ringtone I have set for annoying circumstances...
I want to lay my head on his shoulder and smell him ~ that sweet smell of the field mixed with dust and sweat. I do this sometimes, close my eyes and pretend we are all alone in the world...some magical faery world and there is no way back to here and now.
My horse hears problems that no one else knows. I spill my secrets to him over long hours of brushings and carrots. I am unafraid to admit to him when I am lonely or sad, when I feel overwhelmed, how angry this or that has made me. I read to him sometimes in the winter when we can't ride. I'll sit in front of his stall and read outloud (usually Horse Illustrated or some odd short-story). I started this when he first arrived as a means of him getting to know my voice. Now I think I just do it to linger a little longer in the presence of the only damn beings that make sense to me some days.
When my life is a mixture of uncertain plans and very few solutions in the immediate future I put my faith in a basket called "the barn" and I go to him. He is not perfect, nor am I. Somehow, a horse not being perfect is more forgivable to horse people than the expectation of perfection in themselves. I feel like if I judged my life the way I judge Takoda I would have room in my heart to love me. I should try this approach at some point...
I curse rain and snow (well, I've always cursed snow as everyone knows LOL) for the mere fact that they impact my plans with my horse. Horse people are weather watchers for sure. If you ever want to know the forecast for the next few days, ask a horse person. We also know the amount of time it will generally take the rain clouds to make their way over the crest of the hill and to the field and can calculate whether we still have enough time to untack if we linger just...a...little...longer on our horse's back. We know whether, based on the radar and the storm speed, we have the time for a "short ride" just to the deep water and back. We calculate whether the bands are moving slow enough to ride in between them. And on true rain days we sit on the benches and grumble LOL, the old cowgirls smoking (not me, siggghhhhhhh I admit I do still miss it), some of us working on other horse related stuff (cleaning bridles, changing gear out, mixing up oats and supplements) and all of us wishing we were riding instead.
Today looks as if it will be one of the latter mentioned days, which is what got me to originally thinking about our complicated emotional lives with our horses.
In Loving Memory
...of the first horse to hold my heart