Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Breakfast in the Barn

As I walk out to the barn in my bare feet the dewy grass crumples under me. It is cool and refreshing a welcome change for my sleepy, cranky morning feet. They are stiff with sleepy numbness. As I open the barn door the wonderful smell of barn hits me, a mixture of sweet hay and rich earthy grain. It is quiet and I can hear the swish of a tail getting a pesky bug or a horse shifting its weight from one foot to another, eyes half closed, peaceful and relaxed.

The horses pop their heads over the barn door, their furry ears perked up, soft brown eyes curious. They are ready to greet me, happy to see me as always, especially when they know that food is involved. I reach my hand out to the nearest nose and feel the cool soft velvet with the tips of my fingers as their steamy breath warms my hand. They whicker happily and I take it as a complement towards me even though I am sure they are only whickering for their number one love in life, food. I open the grain barrels scooping up that wonderful cool oaty grain and letting it slip through my fingers. I let myself lose focus slightly. My vision blurs and I feel like the world slows it’s spinning for a second. Then finally I serve it into feed buckets, dumping supplements on my older pony’s handful of grain.

All of my horses are very “easy keepers” meaning you can feed them hardly anything and they will become fat. My pony is the best. She could survive off of a handful of grain and an armful of hay. Just to give you an example of what other horses eat, Thoroughbreds usually eat about eight quarts of grain a day. Don’t get me wrong. I am very happy to have a horse that you do not have to take out a loan just to pay for their food.

As I serve out the grain they jam their faces into their buckets and begin to contentedly munch away. Eyes half closed in the holy food meditation. I love listening to horses eat. They are so rhythmical and calm eating bite by bite, crunch, crunch, munch. Their happiness seeps from them like the sun and they warm everything in sight.

I grab a bunch of hay, filling my arms with a towering pile. It scratches my face slightly and a few little pieces of dry clover fall down into the depths of my layers of clothing. A piece sticks to my neck. It’s all I can do not to drop the giant pile of hay and get rid of the obnoxious little piece. I hobble out to the paddock very aware of my shortage in the needed amount of limbs, to get the hay off my neck, fend off the horses that see me as a walking pile of food, shut the door behind me, and hold the hay without dropping it.

I spread the hay one pile after another checking to see if there is enough for the three of them. I make sure that there is enough space in-between the piles for Sadie, my friend’s big beautiful chestnut colored mare to escape from my evil little pony named Lolly. You should see how Lolly goes after that poor horse. Her ears go flat back like someone is pulling them so hard that her eyes have gotten bigger and her nostrils are stretched, flared out in what I can only call a snarl. Even her teeth are showing slightly.
Then of course she charges, her mouth stretched wide open trying to bite Sadie. Not always for any particular reason, just whenever she feels like it. I guess you can’t really blame Sadie for high tailing it in the other direction whenever Lolly so much as makes a face at her. I can’t help but wonder if Sadie has even realized that she is twice as big as my little pony and could practically pick her up and toss her over the fence if she wanted to. I think that little pony has scared her enough that she doesn’t even consider the idea of challenging her.

I pick up my fire engine red manure fork and sift out the clean bedding from the dirty. My thoughts move from subject to subject going over what I will be doing that day. I settle into the rhythm, scoop, shake, shake, shake, toss into the wheel barrel. Repeat. Something about doing the same thing over and over again puts my mind at ease. Scoop, shake, shake, and toss. My brain continues to slowly but surely come to life. Finally I catapult the last forkful into the manure pile, and it lands with a satisfying thud.

I fill up the water buckets one by one. Pushing the cool hydrant handle back in place once the bucket fills. I lug the full water bucket to its place wincing as ice cold water sloshes down my leg and onto my foot. I look out at the happy horses munching away at their hay. My heart is somehow more full, satisfied to have fed them. I am needed. As I turn away I can feel the cold water making my jeans stick to my leg. I head back to the house slamming the barn door behind me ready to begin a new day.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

It is not enough for a man to know how to ride; he must know how to
~Mexican Proverb~

Horse, thou art truly a creature without equal, for thou fliest without
wings and conquerest without sword.
The Koran

Monday, November 12, 2007


I hold my breath . It feels like I might never let it go. “Breathe” I have to tell my self over and over again. Why is such a simple task sometimes so very hard. Alright now do the million other things she is telling you to do. “Do it now!!”. Pull your self together breathe ok. Breathe again. Good. Try again. You can do it.. I know you can. Concentrate. There you go. Tell your horse what a wonderful horse she is tell her how much you appreciate her, but do it quickly and don’t break your concentration. Good. She already knows how much you love her but it never hurts to say thank you again does it. Alright lets try the jump again. Think all the way. That's right collect, collect, energy don’t forget to give. “Ooops!!” don’t worry thank your horse tell her you are trying. “Breathe”. Alright here we go again this time think of a strong lower leg. 3,2,1, jump 1,2,3. “Ahhh that was nice”. I hear the these words coming from my riding instructor's lips and a warm happiness bubbles all the way up to my face making even my nose tingle a little. “Yes that was nice” I allow myself a little pat on the back and continue. Alright lets make the next one even better. 3,2,1, jump 1,2,3. My horse gives a little buck “yippee” I hear her say. “This is fun” There are sparks in our eyes as we soar (not quite as gracefully over the next jump). “Don’t get cocky” a little voice whispers into my ear. “Shush” I tell it. This is fun.


(I know I am breaking the rules posting something that doesn't involve horses, but I did actually write this so I guess I'm not breaking all of the rules.)

I wiggle my toes in the cool soft grass as the clouds float wordlessly by me. Feathered onto the sky as if the sky was a giant bowl of whip cream on which someone gently blew.

The trees autumn colors complement each other. A true work of art. With splashes of color so vibrant and so soft at the same time.

I hear the squirrels rustling through the under growth as they hurry to gather there food for the winter.

As I sit in the grass with my soft warm blanket wrapped around me I feel the heat of the sun beating warmly on my back, as if a friend giving me a warm hug. I feel contentment bubbling up inside me and I lay back onto the grass thanking the universe for these moments.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007