Christmas Eve Stable Thoughts

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Cleaning stalls this morning, I was making a special effort to do "extra" things that would speed things up for tomorrow morning's chores. ?I have to be at my mom's in the morning, and we have dinner plans, and more and more. Then, all at once, it hit me: Why am I rushing' What is more important than this right now' Where do I most want to be' That's when I realized ?how very lucky I was and decided to take my time.

What would I do with myself if I didn't have morning chores to do every day' They give me a sense of belonging. The knowledge that at least ?our three mares need me and depend upon me. It helps me keep going, even when times are tough. I'm so grateful to my horses, past and present, for the strong influence they have had on my life.

Of course, horses have given me a career that I love. One that truly defines who I am. How many people can honestly stay that'

Through horses, I met my husband, one of my life's greatest and most treasured gifts.

And, ever since I was a little girl, horses have given me friendships -- the really good ones -- the ones that have lasted a lifetime no matter what.

With horse people, your friendship remains strong, even if ?you lose touch over the years. When you see one another the years disappear. ?A few days ago, the husband/father of a family dear to me passed away after a battle with cancer. ?There's no "good" time to leave this earth, but Christmas has to be one of the most difficult for the family. ?They're lifelong horse people, too, so I wish them quiet moments in the barn, with a special horse's warm breath and nuzzling whiskers to offer comfort. Those tranquil, stable moments will help them reflect on the wonder of his life and give joy.

Horses have made me both confident and humble ?(they really have a knack for the humble part).

They've taught me that being the alpha mare is a huge responsibility, and that challengers will always be right around the corner. ?I've learned the importance of staying one step ahead of the crowd and being alert, ears rotating for disturbances that need to be addressed. I learned how to battle, when to admit defeat, and how to accept victory. ?I know how to function on my own and as part of the herd. One of my best friends gave me an "alpha mare" bracelet a few years ago, and I treasure it, because it says all this to me.

Despite the cinnamon in the air everywhere right now, I still prefer the calming fragrance of my horses. ?If stress mounts to a head-reeling level, I can go for a ride and release it. Even if I can't ride, due to weather or time, a vigorous currying does both of us a world of good. ?And it will remind me that it is indeed ?"a wonderful life."

So, no, there is no better way for me to spend the holiday than in the barn. ?I've always maintained that's why Jesus was born in a stable. ?How wonderful a first sight that must be . . . kind, gentle animals looking down on you, helping to keep you warm. ?Although few nativity scenes include a horse (usually just the donkey), I know there had to be horses there. Arabians, I suppose.

This holiday, I wish you at least a few hours in the barn . . . quiet moments with your horse that bring you inner peace and help you spread joy to all those you love.

Merry Christmas!