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An Ode to Barn Time

Published: 6/11/2010
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By Maddy B. Gray

I don’t want to cheapen the moment by waxing euphoric, but can I share my love of Barn Time?

I think there are many out there who share my affection for and dedication to those hours spent quietly amongst horses.

Lately, the barn has been my church. It's where I come for peace of mind and distraction from the less pleasant aspects of my world. It’s where I appreciate and feel appreciated.

During the summer months, after the stalls are mucked, I like to plop myself down on a wooden box and kick back with the three mares.

The tack room radio plays, but what I hear most clearly is the sound of the horses chewing hay, the swishing of tails, the relaxed steps to the water, the draw and dribble of their drinking.

Ain’t it musical?

The smells are therapeutic, too.
I get plenty of reaction when I wear my NickerNews “Your Horsesh*t is My Aromatherapy” t-shirts around town.

But it’s true, ain’t it? Horse folk understand.

And it's not just horseshit, but horse breath, and horse coat. I’ve noticed that my pony, Pep, emanates the nicest, most horsey smell.
Each one smells like a horse, of course, but have you noticed that different horses smell distinctive?

I linger at the barn more in the summer. It’s warm and light enough to see, finally.

But even when I’ve got on five layers, I often hunker down on the stoop to pause. Just for a moment, to watch their frosty breaths and peer with them into the darkness. And be thankful.

Feel free to share your thoughts!

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6/11/2010 Dee
so have been what I call it...when the day is so stressed there is nothing like your hands on a warm horse to ease away the that smell, the sound, the love...the it..
6/12/2010 Missy
another great article, Maddy, and one that so many can relate to. I love the smell of my horse, the softness of her coat, the golden tips of the red hair, her patience with me thru our two year founder recovery, her telling me to hurry up with breakfast and dinner, her kind eye, the nose bumps when a "good girl"treat is expected. There is nothing about my horse that I don't love. And I do get a chuckle out of people saying "your car stinks" when they get in it in the winter time, heat blasting and filling the cabin with the sweet smell of manure
6/12/2010 Linda
It is a very relaxing end to a stressful day. My horse always cheers me up... He seems to know I need a hug!
6/14/2010 Sarah
Boy Oh boy! you said it all!!!
6/14/2010 Margy
There is nothing more theraputic than the smells of the barn after everyone is tucked in for the night, munching, breathing. It is just so peaceful.
6/17/2010 Tammy
I tell my family I am headed to the barn to lower my blood presure!! The barn is the best place to be all year round.
6/19/2010 Susan
No barn time for me. My horse loves having free choice on whether to be in the barn or not, and only goes in for the shade. But I identify with the smell! When I started riding again in 1998, after finding a place for my foster daughter to ride, I was so happy to smell that smell again! The BEST smell in the world. I think my horse was proud-cut so he's got a rather strong smell, but it's heavenly nevertheless.
6/20/2010 Debi
I totally agree! I love how the barn smells and the sounds from the horse...even the noise of a fly in the window doesn't bother me like it does in the house. When I'm so tired after working all day and I get home and think, I just don't feel like going outside to do more work...once I get out to the barn, that all goes away and I end up out there for as long as I can. Once all the real work is done, I just like puttering around my barn with the critters and in the tack room. The smell of leather and leather cleaners and the smells in the grain room are all so sweet. But, nothing beats the smell of my horse! hugging my horse is wonderful...and when he hugs back is best! everything horse smelling is my aromatherapy.
8/2/2010 Tina
AMEN! My therapy also ... when ever I am feeling down... the barn/horses definitely cheer me up!
8/8/2010 Patricia Jensen
The smell of a horse is the best smelling perfume I know of. I spent this morning brushing bodies, combing manes and tails, etc., and they just loved it. When I was done, all three of them just hung around hoping for more. What more could one ask for? Also, my husband fixed up a mister for them so that they can get cooled off during this hot hot summer we are having here in SC. After a misting session they go for a roll in the roundpen. Love it!!!

"No horseman or horsewoman has ever finished learning" - Mary Gordon-Watson