A quick and heavy rainstorm blew through on Thursday and in the Midwest of the U.S., a bad snowstorm caused trouble. Winter weather is only unpredictable in that you don’t know exactly which day the Big One will start, but you know you are getting something sometime. The morning after the storm, the air always seems cleaner. The ground is mushy and wet and the horses are fresh when they go out; you have to be careful how you release them, and in the proper calming order (the wild ones last) so they don’t go jetting off slip-sliding and tearing off shoes. It is still the happiest time of day for me. I want to see them walk purposefully to the hay piles, no lameness, no bumps and swelling in the legs, no stiffness, eagerness to eat and a happy set to their faces to be turned out. They don’t care about weather.

The peace of the barn isn’t always foremost in our minds, but we are lucky to have horses and to be outside to enjoy them.

As horse people, we are so lucky to have the ability to experience the outdoors. We whine, we complain, we shop for warm riding clothes and dress in uncomfortable layers, but we still have clean, sharp air to breathe, and the real earth under our feet each day we go out to the barn and see our horses.

When you see how much just petting a dog can mean to those who do not have the encompassing wonder of nature to feel and experience every day, like we do, you become grateful. Our horse world brings with it a lot of regular hassles that we have to manage — time, money, family. But we all say the same thing — it’s all worth it when we get to the barn. Our horse is our haven. I think it is also the outdoors, the barn, the dirt, the wind, and the feeling of freedom, being outside and able to walk anywhere, find a field without a fence and ride. Our human existence is one born of the outdoors. Our ancestors were hunters, gatherers, managers of nature for survival. We’re hardwired to the outside.  That’s why horses seem such a natural fit in our lives. They bring us an excuse to be outside.