There is a front coming in tonight. Clouds are moving low and fast, the wind is howling around corners, as the temperature drops like a rock. Spring and fall bring this kind of barometer-bouncing weather.
Worst of all, the horses are acting unsettled as the atmosphere. There is a name for this kind of weather, but I don’t like to say it out loud. If you have horses you know it too. It’s colic weather. Knock wood…

I got sad news from a friend this week- she lost her good mare. Colic is still the number one killer of horses. I notice that news of colic brings on colic-like symptoms in me. My gut clinches, I can’t eat, and my heart beats fast. It used to bring feelings of fear and sadness-but as years pass, most of us have more colic experience than we want. Now I seize up in a rage against colic, but I might as well spit into the wind. Know the feeling?

Awe is the word that best describes what I feel about horses. Awe is defined as a mixed emotion of reverence, respect, dread, and wonder inspired by authority, genius, or great beauty. In spite of spending hours every day with horses, I am constantly awe struck by them- spell bound by their intellect and humor, by their strength and physicality, by their breath on my cheek. Know this feeling too?

Part of the awe of horses is their fragility also. From their first steps on wobbly knees and rubbery hooves to the geriatric years of sway backs and useless teeth, everyday we have with them is a kind of victory over the impossibility of their beauty and frailty. The awe becomes an
addiction.

I threw some extra hay for the cold tonight, and checked for evidence of the full range of bodily functions. Cohabiting with colic is part of the price of admission to any barn and as I finish the night check, I think about all the good horses gone too soon. They are still part of my herd.

Opening your heart to a horse is choosing to make your love greater than your fear- in a dozen ways. If he passes, the hole left in your heart will eclipse the world for a while- until the memory of heart-felt awe overcomes the loss. The beauty of a horse is the sum of his bravery and vulnerability. Maybe that beauty is what we hope to emulate.

Anna Blake,
www.AnnaBlakeTraining.com

(Photo: Dodger, gone three years.)

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Comment by vickie lawson on November 14, 2010 at 1:30am
and to finish my comment, we had delphi, born on my mum's birthday. delphi is such a delight, and doing so very well in her dressage, riding our in the forest on her own or in company. today we had a real race in the forest, and it was great!
Comment by vickie lawson on November 14, 2010 at 1:27am
the little mare i am riding is testiment to our efforts to save her mother from colic. this colic went on for over a month. the mare had over a week of intensive care at the vet hosp complete with synthetic protein directly into her blood. then after we got her home we had 2 weeks of 24-7 care as she went down and rolled in pain at any time of the day or night. in the very end, the vet said she figured that whatever caused the damage, damaged over 2/3 of her large intestine and whenever food hit that area, it was extremely painful and hence the rolling. we walked her 1st, and after 20 min someone would ring me and we would inject her with pain killers which were sufficient to hold off the pain, until the next round. it was so hard and such a stressful time!!! in the end rosie came out ok, and she just had her 22 birthday last thurs, nov 11 (1988), unfortunately she now has cushings, so we're dealing with that. but my main point is, if you believe, you can make a difference. more than one vet told me i was wasting my time trying to save this mare, but we did, and she made it.
Comment by Barnmice Admin on November 13, 2010 at 9:12am
How beautifully written!

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