The Vortex


We are all guilty of it.

“I’ll be back soon, just feeding and that’s it! Promise! … Why are you giving me that look?”

The stables. There must be something up with its magnetic forces or whatever science-y thing you want to blame it on, as I swear every time I mean it to be a short trip, I’ll be gone for three times as long. And that’s putting it lightly!

Technically, my evening horsey chores take me thirty minutes. I drive up to the barn, make feeds, drive down to my paddock, muck out, rake the stable area, sweep the rubber matts under the feed bins, then feed up, lock him in, swap/take off/add on rugs, give a sweet kiss – wallah, done. Sounds like way too much right? I’ve got practice, so we’re all good.

I’ve been known to get this done in about thirty minutes when I’m rushing – BUT! Just as often when I’m supposed to be “rushing” I’ll get sidetracked by some random thing that will have me apologising to my partner as I jump into the car, shoes covered in dirt, nice white top (because I’m so smart) smudged with a mixture of mash, dirt, dribble and who-knows-what-else, and hay in various strange places. To be honest, he’s a real trooper for still taking me out to dinner in that state!

My horse makes me so late so often. The partner’s family meet up, dinner at a nice restaurant, a movie with friends, Sunday dinner with my family – the list is endless.

I have to purposefully not go to the stables BEFORE an important thing (university, work, an interview) as I know, that that short trip down will end up making me try to re-enact Fast & Furious through the traffic, hair a mess and clothes just as bad.

But is it really the horse? To be honest, it’s not. It’s my fellow horse agistees.

A quick chat will end up a minimum twenty minute affair where we exchange gossip (hey, it’s the horse world after all, what did you expect?), share experiences, challenge each other to do something-or-rather with a slightly competitive edge, and talk about anything other than horses (yeah, don’t look surprised – we don’t only talk about horses…there’s ponies too!). Now just think, how many people are at our agistment? Like, twenty. No I don’t talk to them all, otherwise we’d all be just going around and around the driveway stuck in an endless loop of hellos and goodbyes as the sun and moon circle around. But I’ll usually encounter at least two. It’s almost like – well, I was going to say family, but it’s more of a religion. We think similar things, refer to herbal remedies, pray to horse gods that rugs aren’t ripped, wear similar clothes, don our precious head crowns (helmets, duh), chant (“Please don’t be lame, please don’t be lame…”) and leave strangely figured tracks in arenas (Alien crop circle?!).

But is it really the agistees? No. To be honest, it’s me…

I just enjoy my time there so much. It’s my lifestyle, it’s my own little world. It’s a break from the fast-paced mumbo jumbo of working, studying, family-ing, friend-ing, city-ing, everything! So when I go there, to just feed,  I’ll often just find something else…I’ll just have to move something…I’ll just have a great idea… I’ll just spend extra time buckling the rug exactly right. But it’s not on purpose – Oh no, if it was on purpose I promise to you I’d be staying there so much longer!

To me, it’s kind of like, time away from my horse and this little world makes my mind full of static and angry sparking electricity. It’s always thinking of deadlines, assessments, assignments, money, getting a job, keeping a job, the future, is my family ok, are my friends ok, is my dog still inside the perimeters of our fence – and then when I drive into the agistment centre, it’s like a cool wave of water just pushes out all that, and for those moments my mind is peaceful, and only thinking of green and brown – grass and dirt – the feel of horse hair, the sweet smell of oaten hay, the sound of horses at peace, the sight of my money-eating machine grazing, the taste of freedom.

I guess that’s a little strange – perhaps a better way for some people to understand is, it’s like getting home at the end of the day and finally being able to put your feet up.

Is it just me? Horsey owners out there, do you feel the same? Is it different when you have your horses at home?

Let me know!




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