Winter in the city is full of abstract and unique beauty. But for me, part of the beauty of Winter is simply found in the relishing of the idea of sunny seasons. Sunny seasons made all the sunnier by grey sky scrapers hemmed in with grey streets, and sporting grey shadows always eager to eat up any ray of sunshine that dares to creep through the crevices between buildings. Thinking of those nearly-shadowless golden times always brings back memories of long days spent outside working with the most splendid animals on God’s good earth: horses.
“Don’t ever let them convince you they don’t know!” Every visit from my trusty farrier Glen Martin was accompanied by golden one-liners of truth like that. Small, battle-scarred and always happy, even on the days when my filly would try to make him into a Glen and dirt sandwich, he’d patiently trim the hooves of my beasts, mop his sweating face with a well-used handkerchief, and tell the tales of his hard-earned scars. He was always perfectly calm. I’d hear him from underneath my horse as he did his work, in between cajoling, coaxing, and wrestling my 700 and 1,800 pound brats: “They know, oh they know.”
I always end up echoing Glen’s words when I’m telling people about horses. I don’t know how else to summarize that look they get in their big, deep eyes when you’ve got them all tacked up and are about to get on. It’s the look that determines whether or not you’re going to have a smooth breeze of a ride or a battle on your hands. A horse can take one look at you and instantly know what you’ve got. One of the first things I always tell my riding students is that these wise beasts require confident sincerity in order for them to be willing to build a trusting partnership. They can’t be fooled by fancy words, or even your tone of voice. They just know.
So many of my sunny days have been characterized by lessons both to and from horses. Grey winter days like today serve to beautifully enrich the memories of those not-so-distant days full of deep, honest equine eyes, cheery farriers, and lessons in sincerity. Sometimes beauty is found in the sweet pangs of longing for something else.