I love a barn full of horses. The warmth. The smell of leather, hay….and I guess manure. A magical combination. I love it.
And maybe best of all, I love the smell of a horse when you bury your face in the fur on his warm neck and breathe in. Other animals don’t smell that sweet. Only horses. It’s heaven to me. And to my sister, too. Maybe because of the good times we had with our ponies, Arapaho and Lady, when we were very young. Playing “Big Valley” and “Bonanza” in the fields…pretending to “…go into town fer provisions” (the barn) and then “…headin’ back out to the house fer supper” (which was really just a grassy dip at the far end of the pasture). And the rush of independence we felt when we were allowed to ride the horses from the farm where they were boarded all the way into town where we lived. A colossal journey full of real-life hazards and obstacles. When we arrived home, we’d water the horses and take a break. Just like Hoss and Little Joe Cartwright. Those were the best days.
The gallop, however, is the best thing of all about horses. Whether I’m in the saddle, breaking from the cavity-jarring trot to the relief of the long, smooth, improved gate….or watching the horse play in the pasture all on his own…the gallop is the ultimate physical expression of freedom.
Our miniature horse, aptly named “Little Joe” after the cutest Cartwright (played by the late Michael Landon), has the most wonderful gallop. His compactness paired with his generous mane and tail make for the perfect picture of carefree, wild fun as he bolts here and there, trying to conjure up some action with the goats or the dog….or even a chicken. The rhythmic pounding of his hooves. The tossing of his pretty head…the occasional snorting and nickering. Watching him run makes you laugh out loud. You’re rooting for him. You want to be him.
Oh, to be a horse at a full gallop.
It will suffice for me to watch, though, for I would most certainly turn my ankle.