Today I wanted to take a trip through the time vault to a story written by Nina in March of 2013. I've been thinking about this story a lot as I have been working these past couple weeks. Despite the ridiculous back pain I have been in, each day I find myself smiling and feeling just surrounded by love at the farm. From the way that the ponies softly bump me and check in on me, to Blaze's quiet oinks and grunts of contentment, to one of our hens who runs up to me every time she sees me; I am surrounded and full of love. Nina was so very right, loving and being loved by these creatures is so easy and so wonderful.
Love Is -? Some of us are just not lovable people. I tried for most of my life to find a human to love. I just didn't know how. It was a game I couldn't win. One day I just got tired of failing. Loving and being loved by animals is just so easy. It is pure, it is real and it requires no effort at all. Animals either love you or they don't. It's immediately obvious, there is no flirting, no ex-partners to fight with – their loyalty is guaranteed for life. They don't judge you, cheat on you, or leave you for a younger person They know your voice, feel your energy and greet you with noisy enthusiasm when reunited with you, whether after years of separation or a 5 minute walk to the manure pile. Everyone one of our horses would follow me through fire. They don't all love me, but they trust me. That is a huge responsibility. Our horses all understand words, not just short commands, but whole sentences. When I say “Would you please move over so I can pick up that puddle of pee you're standing in?” They do, I try to remember to say “thank you”, they like that. In Gabriel's case “How long do you think you're going to wait for lunch if you stand there roaring and thumping at me?” grumbling and muttering under his breath at what an ass he thinks I am, he backs off and sticks his head in the corner and waits until I feed him. He knows I always win this game, because I have his lunch and if he wants it he has to let me win. Gabriel adores me. He's like a big goofy teenage boy, he pushes me around and sometimes almost bites me when I'm too stupid to understand his needs. Somethings he rests his teeth on me and gazes in my eyes with pure love, if no one is looking. I introduce him to people as “my husband Gabriel”. We're like an old married couple, the Frank and Marie Barrone of the horse/human world (from the Everybody Loves Raymond show). Though Gabriel belongs to an angel, I cherish our time together even though we argue most of the time, I will miss him very much when he leaves me, though it will be much quieter around here. He is so beautiful he just blows my mind. I always was a sucker for a pretty face. I am surrounded by the most beautiful beings in creation. I am an artist and really appreciate beauty. Horses are masterpieces of design. From their incredible hoof structure to their frivolously useless manes, which I believe only exist to make us love them more, makes them more appealingly gorgeous. There is no more wonderful smell than on that velvety spot just behind a nostril. Their intelligence and ability to figure things out, if you give them the time to do it, is fun to watch. They are all excellent people trainers as well. We have to be careful of that because they remember everything if it works once, they'll do it again. Very clever beings are horses. Dear old Gorgeous blind Tim has a very deep bed of soft shavings. Because of his long list of problems, he lays down a lot. While we clamber over and around him to trim his feet, he can't stand on 3 feet for trims so I hack away at his hooves as best I can or Georgia our farrier does it if he's laying down while she's there. He's so good. He knows we are helping him and just sleeps through it all. I am always on the look out for pressure sores, especially on his hips. I found an oozing abscess recently that I cared for as best I could, but pressure sores are notoriously difficult to manage on horses. This one was pretty bad an my guilt for not noticing sooner was great. I cleaned it and packed it with medicine, but I wonder, is it time for it all to be over for Tim? How much suffering does he have to endure? He is in his 30s and he will never be made well. Tim knows when I even think these thoughts. He reads my mind. If I could just wrap him in Willie's memory foam mattress, to pad his boney parts 'til they healed – How I love my dearest Tim. He spits out teeth, eats 5 buckets of hay cubes, 4 grain feedings and all the hay he can manage with the few teeth he has left, daily. He is no problem at all to me. I am with him all day and he never complains. He totters outside and loves to roll in the snow and nap in the sun. He is magnificent. He wraps his neck around me and comforts me in my distress. Tim is my friend and most loyal supporter. He loves me too. And so, I have never quite “connected” with the human race. My berserker energy is pretty intimidating to most people, but I have been accepted into the world of horses. We just “know” each other. Wherever I go, we just “know” each other. I am not lonely. Being surrounded by too many humans makes me nervous and noodgy. So I pretty much live by horse rules. They are easy to understand. I have stopped trying to explain myself to people. Now that I am old and not beautiful anymore very few want to be around me and I don't get away with the behavior that I used to. But horses – will horses are what I am – always have been – and that is very truly good enough.