Have you ever had one of those days, that no matter what you try and do, you fail. That was me on Sunday. I was having a hard day, and nothing was working in my favor. I had been pushed to the limit so I went to the barn. It was time to feed the boys so I mixed their supper and then grabbed a few brushes. I haven’t groomed like that in months. I wasn’t grooming with the intentions of riding. I wasn’t grooming because they were caked in mud. I was grooming for myself. I needed my horse therapy. To be completely honest here, since Piney died, I haven’t really wanted much to do with the horses. I feed them every day, and check on them. But I just don’t seem to interact with them as much as I did when Piney was with me. It’s not fair to them, but they are fat and happy and their every need is met.
I am not a huge fan of grooming. It’s actually one of my least favorite parts about horses. I’d clean stalls all day if it meant someone else would groom my horses for me. 5 year old K.K. would probably sucker punch me for admitting that. When I was a little girl, I promised that I would groom my horse every single day if I had one. I think I don’t enjoy it because I can never get them sparkling clean like the fancy show horses. I brush and I brush, and I curry and curry, and I wipe and wipe, and they still always seem to look like hags. Maybe I am being way too hard on my skills but I just can’t seem to get them sparkling clean. Back when a friend and I were managing a barn together, we’d always take the half assed approach and clean the cinch/girth area and where the saddle pad went. And I am lucky now that we don’t have the mud and clay mixture that I had at my last barn. They boys are usually pretty clean, and they can’t ever seem to find mud. I really lucked out. But Sunday night, I needed to groom and interact with the two horses.
I grabbed my brush and started on Pistol and the tears started flowing. With each brush stroke that amazing horse smell got stronger. I needed it. It reminded me one of the reasons I love horses. Pistol is such a champ. He stood there and ate his dinner as I groomed and cried. And it hit me hard how much he looks like Piney. They have similar markings, and the top of his blaze is so much like Piney’s. I kind of just fell into him and cried for a good solid 5 minutes. He looks like him, and sometimes acts like him. Pistol really has come a long way since he came to live with us. He seems to trust me, and I don’t have any problems putting a halter on him. He no longer flinches when I touch his face, head or neck. The sparkle is there in his eyes and he no longer has those dead eyes that he did when we brought him home. He seems happy to see me every day and he is no longer skittish.
I groomed him until my arms were tired, and then I kept going. He does not look like a million bucks, nor does he look like a fancy show pony. He still looks like a hag. His winter coat is coming in, and he has patches of hair missing where Duke took a few big bites out of his sides. But my grooming session wasn’t about making him look good. It was about me remembering why I love horses. They are my therapy. There is something in my heart and brain that makes me need them. So many times it would have been easy for me to just sell them and move on. We could have a nice house in town, close to friends and family, and fun activities. But the thing is, I’d be missing something. If we sold the two horses tomorrow, it wouldn’t be long before I’d be looking for another horse. I need them.