Taking time off your normal everyday life (wait, did I say normal?) takes preparation and planning. I did neither. One and a half hours before my 7 am departure I still needed to shower and pack. But let me fill you in: I actually had a plan, only it was sabotaged by a sick horse that carefully chose his time to colic to coincide with my leaving work early to start my five-week long vacation in South America. I bet you didn’t know that horses only ever get sick when you have firm plans to be elsewhere…
There is something very special about being alone in a barn full of horses. Especially at night. Those of you who have know what I’m talking about. The rest of you I hope will experience it someday. I prefer winter to summer because of the silence. No birds, no swishing tails and best of all, no pesky flies: only the sound of the horses sleeping. Add light snow falling softly, and I hope you can feel the stillness.
In this serene environment I walk a dark bay horse up and down the aisle countless times. After two hours he looks and acts well enough to be left in his stall for a little while. On the floor in the office, I wrap myself in a fluffy horse blanket, use my clean laundry as a pillow and curl up waiting for the alarm to go off an hour later so I can walk the bay horse again.
At 5 am, after a long night of hand walking, Banamine, the wonder drug, purging of intestines, and hot mash, yes, all for the horse, I am comfortable enough with his well-being to take to the dark, snowy roads and head out. At home at last, I ponder if I should drink that “after work” beer or have breakfast. I shower and sit down, utterly drained, desperate for sleep. With thirty-five minutes til I must leave for the airport, somehow my hands slowly, absentmindedly make me breakfast and begin to place things in my backpack. Thank God they didn’t hand me a beer.