It’s 6am mornings, dawn barely breaking,  40 degrees and wind howling, bucking bales while they whinny for their breakfast.

It’s pulling a wagon through three inches of mud and slop, slipping and sliding while your hair swirls around your face.

It’s worrying until 11pm, then finally caving and heading out into the freezing drizzle to blanket.

It’s picking hay out of your pockets and horse treats out of washing machine and dirt out of…well, everywhere.

It’s having them raise a hoof to you and yelling, “Oh, I’ll GIVE you a reason to raise a hoof at me if you don’t put that down this minute!”

It’s hitting the ground, hard, seeing stars and wondering what’s broken this time…shaking it off and getting back on without holding a grudge.

It’s knowing their walk so well that you can see from 500 yards if they’re lame, in the dark.

It’s knowing they have a stomach ache by the pace they eat or the way they stand.

It’s hundreds…thousands…millions of pounds of manure. This week.

It’s standing in a raging blizzard, fighting with frozen surcingles, and frozen ice balls in their hooves, while they stand there with frozen whiskers and their ears pinned back. And when you’re done, fighting with the frozen heater that’s supposed to be heating up the frozen water tank.

It’s choking at the price of hay in March when you’ve run low on your stock.

It’s gagging at a medical show on TV, but having no problem jabbing them with needles, cleaning out filthy gashes, convincing them to eat their worming paste, picking fly bots off their coat and gunk out of their eyes, and sticking thermometers….well…where the sun doesn’t shine.

It’s tack malfunctions and outrageous vet bills and entry fees and colic worries, and the worst…when they leave us when we’re not ready to say goodbye.


Choosing horses…

or, rather, being chosen by horses, is a compulsion.

It’s a passion. Some might say an obsession.


It determines what you do, when you do it, where you go, who you love…

and, at the end of the day,

horses are your why.

Why you are here.

Why you stand, content and happy in the bitter cold wind, warming up your hands on his belly with your nose buried in his neck, breathing in your purpose.

Today, and every day, purpose smells a whole lot like dirt and alfalfa.

And you smile because you wouldn’t have it any other way.