“What I love about people (and I do love people) is that crises bring out the best in them. And the best people aren’t people, they’re animals.” – Stephen Colbert
I’ll admit it, I’ve been rather sad lately. The world seems darker than usual. There’s a lot of bad news and many of us are facing hardships and difficult choices. Fear is creeping into our hearts – fear of sickness and death for ourselves and our loved ones, and fear for how we’ll pay our bills.
I find myself somewhat crippled by all the sadness and fear. My wheels spin as I try to be productive in my writing and editing work, and I have difficulty focusing on tasks. Often, I imagine I’m getting sick. (Is that a headache coming on? Sore throat?) I keep looking at the news, hoping for positive change, and I worry about friends who’ve fallen ill.
But goodness and joy are found every day when I walk out to the barn. Some folks call it Vitamin H (for horse). After spending time doing mundane chores like cleaning stalls and pens, feeding, raking the yard, and sweeping the aisle I start to feel better. My brain fog lifts, and I can think again. I pause a little longer than usual and watch a horse eat or lean against the wheelbarrow and look at the sky out at the manure pile.
Then there’s my sweet Gunner – my 18-year-old Quarter Horse gelding. He’s been getting ridden a lot! And the riding has a different focus now. There are no goals, no agenda, we’re just enjoying each other’s company. We have a 3-mile ride down the gravel road and through the fields near my home and together we mosey along and watch birds, take note of the trees the beavers are working on, and wave to the neighbors.
Gunner, without trying, shows me how to find peace. He’s the best therapy. Watching his beautiful dun coat start to gleam and his muscles firm-up from all the attention and exercise makes me feel good – like I’ve accomplished something.
This nurturing can be found in other places than horses. Dogs, cats, birds, deer, and plants all provide centering and peace. Go out into nature and enjoy. Spring is here! The trees are budding and flowers are blooming. Bees are buzzing. The world is beautiful.
Kim Roe grew up riding on the family ranch and competed in Western rail classes, trail horse, reining, working cow, and hunter/jumper. She trained her first horse for money at 12 years old, starting a pony for a neighbor.
Kim has been a professional dressage instructor in Washington state for over 30 years, training hundreds of horses and students through the levels. In recent years Kim has become involved in Working Equitation and is a small ‘r’ Working Equitation judge with WE United.
Kim is the editor of the Northwest Horse Source Magazine, and also a writer, photographer, and poet. She owns and manages Blue Gate Farm in Deming, Washington where she continues to be passionate about helping horses and riders in many disciplines.