By Laura Crum
Today I want to write in praise of a simple pleasure. Sitting in the barn, watching your horses. Perhaps watching them munch hay, or just watching them be horses. Swishing their tails, playing “bite face” with each other, nibbling grass. Seeing that all are healthy and relatively content. Just enjoying being near them, not needing to do more. Is there anything nicer than this?
Not that having a good ride isn't wonderful, too, as I wrote about last time. But there is a unique, subtle pleasure in just being with our horses when we aren't trying to accomplish anything that I think is valuable, and we miss it if we are always busy trying to get something done.
The other day it was chilly and I didn’t feel like riding. My son also didn’t feel like riding. I lectured myself a little bit about exercising the horses (my usual guilt trip), but I just wasn’t motivated. Still, I walked down to the barn in the afternoon.
The horses were glad to see me, as usual. The ones who like to nicker nickered at me. The other two came up and stood near me. I sat down on the haystack and watched them for awhile. It was very restful.
I admired my little palomino horse and my older brown gelding, both of whom are in good flesh and look content. It made me happy to see them looking so healthy and strong. My son's sorrel horse, Henry, looked good, too, despite having gone through colic surgery last spring. My two boarders are thriving. All of the horses are woolly, as I don't blanket and they have their winter coats. But I like fuzzy horses in the winter.
I watched the horses and the breeze. I watched the blue-gray California quail who emerged from the brush and began to peck at the hen scratch. My son was swinging in his swing that hangs from a big liveoak in the barnyard.
That restless little voice inside informed me that I should get a horse out and brush him and saddle him and tie him up, at least, even if I wasn’t going to ride. I should do something. But I just sat there.
My son was perfectly happy to swing for awhile. Then he wandered along, visiting with each horse in turn. Then he sat on the hay with me and we talked about each horse and his particular personality. After that my kid went over to the chicken coop and began naming our “teenage” chickens, considering them old enough to have names.
I just kept sitting on the haystack, watching the horses and the trees and the wild birds. And it came to me that I should do this more often. Just relax and enjoy being with my horses. Take in the deep pleasure that their presence is to me. In a way, its like stopping to smell the roses, rather than always busying oneself with tending the garden. We need to do both. And I for one have a tendency to busy myself too much.
So that’s my post for today. A suggestion that we should all take time to sit down and relax in the prescence of our beloved horses, not doing anything in particular. Just being together. Just sitting in the barn.