I awake to the gentle sun drenched morning, the rush of the winds in the tree behind our bedroom, the soft plop of water dripping and the hope of Spring around the corner.
It was a quiet morning, I got up, put the tea pot on to boil and went out to feed the horses. Now you have to know that this is my favorite time of day, it is my meditation time, it is my ME time. My routine is to build the layering of clothing to withstand the whatever - degree temperature it is during a Minnesota Winter. I then let the dogs out of their kennels (all 4 of them) and we head out to the barn.
Spencer, our rescue Standard Poodle leaps and bounds with the two Border Collies like he has springs on his feet and they wrestle and tumble as we make our way to the barn. All the while I have Tasha, our 4 pound Yorkie tucked away in my coat somewhere.
This morning was different though, I opened the sliding glass door and was greeted with a chill in the air but not that blast of what always feels like stinging needles. The snow was starting to thaw and as we all made our way to the barn you could see the snow turned to puddles of water and the sun's glint off the surface, it was beautiful!
Another favorite is when I open that barn door and both horses always greet me with a whinny and a soft neigh. That is my "Good Morning" from my faithful friends (but we all know that it is really "Where is the food Mom?").
I go through the process of mixing grain, minerals and pellets and ceremoniously feed Tess and Dunny and give them my own greetings with a scratch on the forelock and a good scratch along the neck.
I then tend to the chores of picking manure. filling hay mangers, cleaning out the automatic waterer (which I swear is older than me) and then tending to Montana the big old Barn Cat and guardian of the horses (or so he would like you to think).
By this time, everyone is done eating and they are anxious to get outside and enjoy the semi-warm weather. I always halter Tess first and lead her out of her stall for turnout but this morning was a little different. I have been working with her on lowering her head for haltering (trying to make things easier for my 5'6 husband and dealing with a 16h horse) and she had been a little resistant with the technique I was using which was to put a little pressure on her poll to lower her head. This morning I just brought my arm above her head and held the halter in front of her and she stuck her own nose in and then lowered her head to my hip level. It was very cool and I am always amazed at how much horses teach us as long as we listen and see carefully.
I then haltered Dunny and took him to the run in to his awaiting friend. By the way, the two are inseperable and it is not a love affair between mare and gelding but a deep respect for the leader which is what always is first and foremost in the horse world. Dunny, is the leader, he is somewhere between 23 and 26 years of wisdom and I don't know his history but he has been ridden hard and has had little love and trust has been a long road but we are getting there. Being leader he kicks Tess to get away from "his" perceived pile or piles of food and she always respects him. However, the gratuity is always repaid by a gentle nuzzling of a wither or the quiet solitude of standing grazing next to eachother.
I then go to the task of cleaning the stalls and sweeping the aisleway and head out the door but never before turning around and admiring my work and being grateful that I have the opportunity to care for these creatures.
There is a glimpse of a Saturday at the Sayetta farm in the midst of a deep Winter thaw.