'It doesn't matter who hurt you, or broke you down, what matters is who made you smile again.' - Unknown
A horseback ride always makes me smile. During the summer when our stable does night turnout, my morning mucking time also makes me smile because of the amazing horses I get to enjoy while I clean up around them. I am in charge of the geldings' row of stalls and they are a riot. My co-stablehand who handles the moody mares' row has all my admiration and none of my envy. She says she likes it because it's the shady side but I think of it as the dark side. I have the fun side.
Compared to the 'crap' I sometimes have to deal with in my personal and professional life, dealing with nature's crap is therapeutic: I get to exercise my muscles and relax my brain, while the gentle geldings entertain me with their various delightful personalities. I call "Housekeeping" and the four of them leave their posts beside their stall fans to stick their heads out and nicker. They know who's in charge of the carrots.
First is Dexter. He's one of the older gents but he shows no signs of slowing down. After he gets his carrot and I get to raking, he tries to get more out of me. He tickles my ribs with his soft muzzle until I am weak with laughter.
Next is Cosmo, and he is even more forward. After his carrot he keeps trying to stick his muzzle in my face for a kiss. I know where his mouth has been and I don't care. You can't help but smile after Cosmo kisses.
Then I come to Joey. Joey is the most skittish of the boys so it took awhile for us to relax around each other, but after a year and a half he's like a lamb. After his carrot he too tries to seduce me for more by sniffing around my neck, where I am even more ticklish than my ribs. I sometimes laugh so loudly that my co-stablehand calls over to me to make sure I'm ok.
And last but never least is Good Luck Charlie. Charlie was a rescue mule we took in last summer and he's come a long way, but is still hesitant to take hand-fed treats. So instead of a carrot I take a minute, no matter how pressed for time I may be, to scratch his big ears. He always flinches slightly at first, then as the scratches take away his itches his huge head just drops into my free arm in relaxation. His release of tension and his soft eyes of gratitude always make me smile.
These guys are the loves of my life and always help me forget any haters.