Today is Christmas Eve, and I went to the barn to spend time with Buckshot. It is gray, cloudy, drizzly and cool, temperature in the 50’s. I wanted to spend time with Buckshot in a special way but not ride him. I rode him yesterday and the day before, so I didn’t plan to ride him today. When I got to his pasture, I had two books to read to him: The Night Before Christmas and The Christmas Story. But first I had to check his chin. Yesterday I discovered he has a skin condition on the bottom of his chin. It was a hairless section of skin, with a red sore in the middle. The BO said it appeared he had rubbed off a scab there. I treated it with Tricare cream. Today when I looked at it, it was bloodier than yesterday. I touched it gently with a paper towel, and was concerned. I asked the BO to look at it again, and she said that it is fine, that this is normal course of healing. I asked if Tricare cream is still appropriate for it and she said yes. So I carefully applied more Tricare to it, with Buckshot only pulling away slightly from my hand. I left the cream in his feed room for more applications this week.
Then I pulled out one of the Christmas story books, and both Buckshot and his pasturemate Lucky, gathered round while I read it to them. Lucky thought the book might taste good, and he wanted to sample it. Buckshot stood and listened, but didn’t look rapt with attention. Neither one of them walked away, so I guess they liked it well enough.
Then I took Buckshot out of the pasture to eat grass nearby. I gave him an apple I had brought him. That, he loved. After I took him back to his pasture, I read the other book to the two horses. Again, they stood and listened, and didn’t walk away. I think they liked it. After that, I cleaned their stalls, and then gave them treats, two handed treats. I tried this new method today because, in the past, when I try to give treats to both horses, they push into each other a little, gently fighting for the next treat. So today I had horse muffins in my left pocket, and carrots in my right pocket. I stood in front of Buckshot and Lucky and fed them treats with both hands, holding my hands out to the side to keep them separated. It worked fine, and they both got special Christmas treats. Then I read them one of the stories again, and then, sadly, had to leave to take care of errands at home.
I hate leaving Buckshot and the farm because lately I have been struggling with some issues and feeling very low about myself. To help myself through this time, I resolved the other day to see and hold close all of the good things about Buckshot, myself and the barn. On that day it was sunny and cool and as I rode Buckshot, I saw so many good things around me: a wonderful horse to ride, lovely early winter trees, sunshine, crunchy leaves on the trail, lovely green ground cover in the woods, crisp cool air, lovely vignettes of beauty from nature, happy cats, ardent dogs, chirping chickens, and the smells of horse, leather, hay, stall shavings. So much to hold close and appreciate. Truly healing and restorative for me.
I mentioned this to the BO and she agreed, saying, yes, there is something about horses that really help us when we need it. I thought more about this idea, and when in the past, I have been sad, being with Buckshot lightens my load. Perhaps it is because he is such a large animal, and he knows me well, and I think he gives me a horsey hug, and in doing so, takes on some of the sadness and absorbs it easily into his nine-hundred pound body. And lately, feeling badly about myself, it is as if his strength, his powerful horse strength, enfolds me with a hug and wraps his horsey strength around my heart, like a lovely ribbon of gold. I feel better for having spent time with him.
What do you think? Has your horse helped you in times of emotional difficulty? I think perhaps it is more than just spending the time with them, I think that they have special ways to help us. I’ve never thought about this before in this way. But right now it seems very real to me.
Hope you have a wonderful, lovely Christmas with family, friends and horses!