Is spring finally here? I cannot remember a winter more miserable than the one (I hope) just past. That's quite a statement from someone who's always hated winter anyway.
It wasn't just the cold - although it was very cold very late in the season - which is always hard to take - it was me, my body and mind. My back, always touchy due to congenital lumbar stenosis, decided to have a fit at the worst possible time. The heavy clothes I had to wear to the barn made my back scream, which made my legs scream, which made it difficult just to walk back and forth to the barn, let alone do anything when I got there.
Twenty-five years of making a living using a keyboard have left me with severe tendinitis in both hands and carpel tunnel syndrome in both wrists - both of which are quite sensitive to the cold. The extra effort of working in heavy gloves greatly exacerbates the tendinitis, making gripping anything very painful.
Definitely not helping matters was the fact that there was so much stall cleaning to do, especially in the morning - my very worst time. No, it wasn't Indy and Ami. They are pretty darn neat in their stalls, even in very bad weather. Rather it was the barn cats. Yes, I said cats - about 20 of them using the stalls as litter boxes. Ewwwwwwww!
Not only did we have to practically sift the stalls to find it all of it, cat poop makes horse poop smell like Channel #5. Not great exactly the greatest on frigid mornings when one already feels like Dead Person Walking - under 15 lbs. of layered clothing. The worst of it was that all this took so long that it was almost time for their lunch by the time we finished.
Several times I was so exhausted when we finally got back in the house that the only thing I could do was crash so I would be able to fix Indy's and Ami's lunch and take it out to them - which of course involved getting all dressed again. I was truly miserable. There were mornings when I honestly questioned whether I would be able to get dressed - no small feat at 10 degrees - stagger to the barn, clean up, mainly after the cats, stagger back to the house, get undressed, rest for maybe an hour before lunch.
So, on those mornings while I was lying in bed wondering if I could make it through another bone chilling morning, did I wish I didn't have to go out in the cold? Certainly. Did the thought that I might be better off without horses ever cross my mind? Certainly not.
Why not? Because my life would be so empty without them. Because, for me, horses are Magic. No matter how bad I feel and for whatever reason, the moment I'm with my horses I'm fine. These glorious creatures are as necessary to me as the air I breath - air preferably wafting the warm, earthy smell of horses my way.
I was born addicted to horses, and I will die addicted to horses. It's no more under my control than the color of my eyes or the fact that I happen to be left handed. It just is. And I am so grateful for it.
Well, then, what about all those cats? What can I do? I mean, I couldn't get along without Princess, or Precious, or Zip, or Cudzy, or Tab, or Ranger, or Scout, or Pepper, or Blue, or Bobby, or Scritch, or Frosty, or Nose, or BK, or Speed, or Mr. Gray, or Bash, or Bunny, or Boots, or ...
Oh well. They hardly ever use the stalls when the weather is decent.