Stable Zen

Do you know these moments at the stable when everything seems perfect and you’re just happy, for no reason?

On Sunday afternoon I actually wanted to do a quick run to the stable to see if everything was fine with Nazir. When I got there, however, the quiet atmosphere made me feel so cozy that I ended up staying a few hours. I was the only one there except for the groom and the three dogs. Even our second stable help was out. The horses dozed in the gentle, late summer sunshine, swishing their tails lazily at the few flies that were left. Not a leave moved, there wasn’t even the slightest breeze. Coming from the bustling city, it just seemed so peaceful.

Nazir greeted me with some soft nickering and closed his eyes while chewing the juicy carrot I’d brought for him. I put him in the horse walker for a bit so he could stretch his legs. He’s not allowed to run free in the paddock yet and I just didn’t feel like walking around the indoor arena. So I sat beside the horse walker in the grass and watched Nazir make his rounds. He seemed to enjoy it a lot and blew out air through his nostrils.

After I had put Nazir back to one of his mini-paddocks, I cleaned the other of manure. The stable helpers usually come running when I do that and tell me that they will do it later, as if I’d implied that they were not doing a good job. Somehow shovelling sh!t is, at least for me, part of my stable zen. It makes me feel like I can take care of my horse, at least a little bit.

Then I sat beside Nazir and watched our Ukrainian groom, Dima, bring in the horses from the fields. The setting sun lent an orange golden shimmer to everything. The air smelled of earth and grass.

I thought about how much I loved being around horses when I was a girl. How little I expected and that just the smell of horses and feeding them carrots made my day. How much I loved sitting on my favourite pony without saddle. And then I thought about what happens to us when we grow up, how all the fixed ideas about the human-horse relationship are creeping in, how we start interpreting a lot their behaviour as disrespectful and how much we want to achieve something with them, that we constantly want to improve them. We don’t see our friend anymore, we see that there should be more muscles on his back, that the mane needs trimming, that he has that look again which surely means that he’s up to no good today.

Just when I had gotten lost in another memory, Nazir started to complain a little. All the other horses were already in the stable and it was high time for dinner. Horses and hobbits really cherish their meal times 🙂 So I took one last deep breath of that golden glow and brought Nazir inside.

I invite you to my stable zen and to these photos that I took with my phone:

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I’d love to read about your favourite stable moments in the comments 🙂

2 Comments on “Stable Zen

  1. I’m here with you on this. Love the pics, especially the muck rake and barrel — because of the practical Zen they represent. Thank you for the departure back to your early years with horses, just the love of hanging out with them, not demanding any perfection that we later become entrapped with as adults . . .

    With my newest baby foal, I’ve been just hanging out holding him, SMELLING his fresh life, scratching his sweet spots, and also my mare. Completely going back to the horse-crazy-kid-zone — and loving it! We three groom and scratch, me at his whither, he biting his mother’s side, she moving her mouth on his rump. A BIG slice of heaven!

    Zen on! :))

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