It’s the little things in life, right? The little things that give us the most pleasure … or remind us that we’re totally, completely insane.
We as equestrians already know that we’re special, set apart from the rest of the world for our love of horses (and therefore our ability to spend huge sums on their upkeep, health and happiness while wearing the same ratty old barn clothes for years at a time). But while we’re all aware of the unique joys of a great canter, the little nicker your horse gives when he sees you coming down the barn aisle and the velvety touch of a muzzle, there are a few other tiny aspects of our lifestyle that might be a little harder to explain to your Muggle friends and family.
1. Grabbing a fistful of grain and letting it run through your fingers.
Who does not do this? (You can also sub in new arena footing for grain.) I worked at a Wyoming ranch that fed oats and out of all the grains and pellets I’ve ever played with in my life the oats were probably the most satisfying. Imagine our joy when we started soaking them in hot water — it was a like a hand spa.
Cleaning your own house — forget it, but if you don’t get some kind of buzz in the pleasure center of your brain when you do a really good barn sweeping and get all the nooks and crannies in the corners, there might actually be something wrong with you.
3. When the compressed disc of dirt and manure pops out of your horse’s shoe in one piece with just one flick of the hoof pick.
I don’t know if I even have anything else to say about this. It is legitimately the greatest thing that can happen when grooming.
4. Creating exactly the right size duct-tape square for an abscess (and cutting the darts in just the right places).
I’ll confess that I’m personally actually really bad at this but my sister-in-law is some sort of duct-tape genius and can bang out a cross-taped square custom-sized to the horse’s foot in about three minutes and it’s just right every time. While I’m fighting with the vetwrap and poultice pad, she cuts her darts and hands me a beautiful patchwork of duct tape at exactly the right moment. We make an excellent team.
5. Pulling the mane.
This is probably much less satisfying for the horse, but that rip-tear and the slowly accumulating pile of excess mane hair makes one feel SO accomplished. If that doesn’t do it for you, the sight of a neatly-pulled steed giving you the hoof as he runs away from you after being turned out when you’re done will definitely make you grin.
6. When your butt settles into its spot in your nicely-broken-in saddle.
Some people have a favorite armchair. We have our saddles. Same tushie, different location.
7. The slippery feeling when you get mane detangler on your fingers.
This is actually hell if you’re about to mount up without gloves and go for a ride (and don’t even get me started on driving the draft horses out to hitch to the forecart when I can’t hold onto the lines for the life of me), but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun to run your fingers over each other in glee like a child.
8. Finding the bean.
9. Getting home from the barn, washing your hands and watching all the dirt flow down the drain.
Don’t take this to mean I don’t love accumulating the dirt in the first place, but it is one of my tiny joys when I get home and get to at least scrub my hands (if not immediately jump in the shower). This might not be ideal for the health of my house’s plumbing, but it is wildly satisfying to watch.
What weird small pleasures would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments! Go riding.