It happens to everyone. You’re talking to an acquaintance and you suddenly realize that her eyes have glazed over. Your voice trails away and you wonder what you said to make the lights of interest disappear.
And then you realize—you’re talking to a non-horsey person.
It’s true that non-horsey people sometimes don’t understand the joy that we derive from equine companionship. Here are four more things that they just don’t understand:
1. The Beauty of Stall-Mucking
Even horse enthusiasts don’t always fully appreciate the daily duty of cleaning stalls. But when you look at it in the right light, you’ll see that even this messy task has a bright side.
Cleaning stalls provides ample time for you to daydream about things: the show next month, the clinic this weekend, or even to brainstorm names for a future foal. It’s also a great opportunity to chat with others at the barn.
Of course, there’s also the physical exercise that stall cleaning provides. Just think of all the money you’re saving by working out in the barn than in the gym. That alone could turn a non-horsey person in a proponent of equine-related exercise.
2. The Joy of Feeding
Feeding horses and ponies is not a thankless job. On the contrary, I get thanked every morning when I come into the barn carrying buckets of grain. As soon as they hear the rattle of their breakfast, the call goes up—the happy chorus of horses eager to dive in. You can hear the notes of gratitude and excitement in the shrill neighs and rumbling nickers, and when you do, the chore of feeding time suddenly doesn’t seem like a chore at all.
3. The Excitement of Shedding Season
You know that time of year when the snow has melted, the trees are beginning to leaf out, and succulent green shoots of grass are beginning to pop up from the ground? That time when you get to exchange your heavy outdoor getup for a pair of jeans and a T-shirt? That time called spring? In the North, it’s sometimes hard to remember that such a time of year exists, and even the sight of bare ground can’t convince you that winter is over until your horse’s long coat begins to shed.
Shedding season marks the arrival of spring. It means that all that dull winter hair will fall away to reveal the shiny beauty of your horse’s summer coat. It means that warmer days are coming, that the geese will soon be heading north, and that the days are growing longer. It’s nothing short of amazing to see a bird’s nest lined with horse hair. And most of all, it’s a vast relief to know that you have weathered the winter weather and are ready to meet summer with a smile and a shiny coat.
4. The Relaxation of ‘Horse’ Time
People always talk about needing “me” time; an hour or so spent alone, recharging, sitting with their feet up, reading a book, or painting their fingernails. But what non-horsey people don’t understand is that “me” time is actually “horse” time!
“Horse” time requires nothing more than a quiet barn and your best equine buddy. Whether you’re grooming your horse and admiring that summer coat or cleaning her stall while she stands nearby, you know there’s no better way to relax. So what if it is—technically—working? You still get to be with your horse, and that qualifies as recharging to you.
Liked this article? Here are others you’ll enjoy:
Misconceptions about Horses from Non-Horsey People
30 Ways to Balance Horses with Family and Friends
Samantha Johnson is a freelance writer and the author of several books, including The Field Guide to Horses, (Voyageur Press, 2009). She raises Welsh Mountain Ponies in northern Wisconsin and is a certified horse show judge. Follow her on Twitter: @miraclewelsh.