“For many women, it is a given that horses are crucial to living life meaningfully and happily.” – The Psychology of Women and Horses by Delphi M. Toth.
The riders at our barn are of varied ages and skill levels, but only one gender. Like many horse stables, it’s all girls here. The only guys to be seen are the ones who show up periodically to dump shavings or stack hay. We could handle doing that too along with all our other chores, but it would take away from our horse time. “Horse time” means something different to each one of us but it always results in a good time had by all.
There are a few of us gals who feel like a trip to the barn is almost wasted if the weather’s too miserable to ride. Basically, only a thunderstorm or ice storm can keep my friend Mary and me from saddling up and riding between raindrops. I love my horse Tara, and part of that love comes from the connection and communication we share during our adventurous trail rides.
One of our more senior horses has lost sight in one eye but knows our paddock by heart, so he is content being ridden around it at a walk and his rider is equally content. There are a few other gals whose horses may have a sore in the cinch area or a bad scrape from pasture horseplay who are just happy to be doing some light groundwork together.
“I have made a promise to Joseph that he will never have to wear another saddle ever again. He’s 29 and he’s earned the right to enjoy a peaceful retirement,” Val announced this past weekend. After years of eventing, then pleasure riding, then surviving and recovering from a few hip surgeries, Val has earned that right also. As she gazed at her horse while hand-grazing him, she had that dreamy look in her eyes to match Joseph’s, as he surveyed a juicy patch of clover within reach that was going to be all his with no sharing.
Val had almost the same look of peace and contentment I’ve seen on faces of fellow parishioners leaving a church after a meaningful sermon. If you stood at the gate that leads to our barn you would see that same expression on every one of us as we leave the premises. Horses bring grace and healing to our lives in a myriad of ways, no matter how we spend our time with them.