There is a strange kind of serenity to snow. I don’t know if it is the color, brightening up the world, or if it is the clear frost air, but snow always make me happy.

Maybe it is just because, as an equestrian in Denmark, what you see most is rain and mud, and when the snow finally comes, it is such a nice break from being wet and dirty all the time.

I hate the winter, to be honest. I am sick and tired of going to the stable in the dark, rainy evenings, I despise the mornings where there is no sun until 9 am. I hate wet gloves, wet socks, wet f**** underwear if you forget your rain clothes for just a second.

Lately, I have been wondering how long I can keep it up. I knew when I quit working at the stables and moved my horses to an isolated pasture, that I was done with the equestrian world, but the truth is, I think I am really done being an equestrian as well.

I don’t miss riding, I don’t miss competing, I don’t miss the people. None of it. And most days, I feel like I am spending all of my money on something that has become a bitter chore.

I am not sure how I changed. Maybe it was when Poseidon died, after all. Maybe not desperately clinging to his right to live took away the need I had to keep going. Maybe I am just sick of always being responsible for someone else’s life. I got my first horse when I was 12 years old and I haven’t missed a day at the stable since. (Except for a month spent at the hospital, I believe.) Maybe I would just like to know what it is like to wake up in the morning and get out of bed for my own sake, and not because I had to, because someone else depended on me.

I know that the boyfriend has been very stressed with his job lately, and that is not helping. Basically all of our problems could be solved if we did not have the horses. He would be free to look for another job, any job really, and I would not have to be wet and cold all the time. Imagine that.

We could pretty much do whatever we wanted, if we did not have horses. Back in the day, when we both loved spending time at the stable together, it did not matter that we were always broke and struggling to pay our bills, but lately, we are mostly taking turns feeding the horses, so when he goes, I don’t have to, and the other way around.

I don’t have to.

Just thinking that way makes me sad. These are my babies. They are my life. They are the life I chose, a long time ago, and I know that I am not letting them go until they draw their last breaths, but it sure is becoming increasingly difficult for me to find joy in being an equestrian.

Aside from the rain, I think I am just really tired of feeling like a failure all the time. Like no matter what I do, it is never quite enough.

Marble is always a little unhappy, always a little off beat when she walks. She has been through x rays and ultrasounds and has spend months on painkillers trying to stretch her tendons, and the truth is, she is probably never quite pain free.

I think that most of the time, when she is playing or grazing with the others, she is happy, and since I am never planning on riding her, it is okay if she is a little lame. She handles it. But it is a lot of pressure, owning a horse like that. Every time she snaps at me, or becomes defensive towards me, I wonder if it is learned behavior, (reflective response,) or if she is in trouble. And I feel that in both cases, I should do better somehow. I am just hitting a brick wall with her.

Tardis has days where she is hardly eating. She has cushings, and I know that the medication can cause depression and anorexia, and every time I see her sleeping, I wonder if she is being overdosed.

Objectively, I know too, that she is the beta mare and that she is supposed to be sleeping when the rest of the herd is grazing, and that when she is not eating, it is probably because she is tired. I just can’t quiet the voice in my head, that keep telling me that she is sick, and I will lose her, probably in a rather painful way, one day.

Mostly, she is really happy though, and I probably worry way too much. But hey, that’s who I am. If I can find a way to feel like I am not doing good enough, I will run down that path instantly.

Saleem has hardly left the house for a week now. I never see him outside. I have had to check if his feet were wet lately, because I feed him in the house, and he even started using the water cup, which they have been refusing to touch for a year now.

He DOES go out, his feet has been wet once in a while. Still, when he withdraws like that, I have to wonder yet again. Why?

He is thin at the moment, and no matter what I do, how many times my vet checks his teeth, or how much parasite treatment he gets, I cannot make him gain weight. Perhaps he is just feeling the cold more than the others, because he is skinny. But why the f’*** can he not put on weight?

Apocalipse just had two weeks with swollen legs. No reason, just… swollen. Mostly the hind legs, but when I found him lying down one morning, it was all four of them. He is 7 years old, and has access to a pasture and exercise 24-7. Why is his legs swelling up?

I know. There could be a thousand different reasons. He could have a minor infection, a virus most likely, causing him to gather fluid in his tissue. He could have eaten something slightly poisonous.

Of course, I am instantly reminded of his mother. Amalia’s legs were always swelling up, but she spent most of her life in a stall. (Different times then.) It got much better when she got out on the pasture, but when her heart was failing in the end, her legs were swelling up again.

Of course, I am instantly wondering if he is developing her heart failure. They were less swollen today, but the rain has stopped and he has actually been grazing today, rather than just standing still…

Ablaze is pretty happy, I guess. Aside from me, always worrying that he will develop his mother’s cushings, and wondering if I could do anything to help him make sure that won’t happen.

So yes, with the rain, mud and the constant feeling like I am coming up short, I have seriously started looking forward to some day in the distant future, when I will no longer be an equestrian. When hay and frozen water and antibiotics will be a distant memory.

And then, it snows.

The light changes, the mud goes away, my socks stop being wet… Saleem comes outside. And I remember why I love my guys more than anything in the world.

They are my sanity. They are my sanctuary. They are the air I breathe.

They are, and always will be, what makes me smile and no matter how many tears they make me cry as well, they will always be worth it.

They are saving my life, every single day, just by being here.

About Starstone

-Owned by horses. Writer, Photographer, Director, Musician.
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