It was the kind of day where I just wanted to go back to bed, and I wanted the kids to do the same. All of us woke up on the wrong side of our beds, and we had things to do, places to go, people to see.
Struggling to get them in their winter gear, get the car started, keep the dogs inside, and remember all the essentials, I wondered why I bothered with riding lessons for my five-year-old. It involved so much work. It wasn’t cheap. It messed up my morning routine.
I was standing in the arena beside the trainer and my five-year-old, who were cleaning out the pony’s hooves, when I realized my bad day had dissipated.
I credit the smell of horse. It has an amazing effect on my mindset so many times, though I’ve only just discovered it.
In that smell is a childhood dream realized, an opportunity in front of me, a smile happening and waiting to be repeated. When I catch a whiff, I think of my husband’s joy and my own horse-crazy childhood. Brushing a muddy equine, I find myself relaxing and letting go of the baggage of my everyday life.
In my youth, the smell of horse symbolized the unreachable. Now, it means family. My husband and I have been taking our girls to the local stables since our oldest was barely walking. She’s grown up on a pony’s back, Daddy walking beside her.
I have hundreds of pictures of the horse farm we go to and plans to take hundreds more. Inevitably, we couple our trips to the horse farm with a visit to my grandma, who lives a few minutes away.
The only other time I’ve felt the peace I feel when I’m around horses is during Mass.
There, stripped of my agenda and face-to-face with my Lord, I’m unable to make any excuses. I can no longer pretend there’s nothing wrong; I can no longer hide from His searching gaze.
Beneath the crucifix, I wonder why He loved me so much.
And then, as I look around at the others joining me at the meal, I know: because we’re family, the Body of Christ.
Copyright 2010 Sarah Reinhard