Middle-Aged Gals Should Stick Together

noblessesunset

 

noblesseeye1

 

haflingermares

 

I’m almost sixty three, deep into my middle age and some days I’m reminded how deep more than others. Though I’m well past the hot flashes of the last decade, I still compare notes with the aging mares on our farm and watch how well they cope with their advancing years.

For instance:

These mares still have a lot of life left. They run like the wind when turned loose, their hair flies in the wind and they can buck, kick and fart with the best of them.

These mares know who they are. There is no identity crisis here. They are mothers who have finished their mothering years, and are well into the grandmothering years. Even so, they still like to flirt and haven’t given up on the idea that they can attract attention from a certain fella in the neighboring field.

These mares know their jobs very well, sometimes too well and anticipate what is being asked before it is requested. They can go for long periods without work but once saddled or harnessed up and pointed in the right direction, it is like they’ve been doing their job every day for years. No need for a steep learning curve, or reminder lessons. No funny business or messing around. There is pride in their work. They can be a bit out of shape though, with a tendency toward the fluffy side of fitness, so they need a moment to catch their breath once in awhile. Their muscles sometimes hurt the next day. They break out in sweat easily.  They appreciate a break for a mid-day nap.

These mares are opinionated. There is no question they know their own minds, what they want and how they are going to get it and keep no one around them guessing.

These mares are stubborn. Once they’ve decided something, it takes more than soft sweet persuasion, like a whack on the behind, to change course. Once they’ve decided they don’t like another horse, the only way to change that opinion is for the other horse to adopt an attitude of complete servitude and submission, giving way whenever approached and grooming the boss mare whenever asked.

These mares are hungry. Always. See “fluffy” above.

These mares don’t sleep all that much, but wish they could sleep more.  Even though they might look like they are napping (see “mid-day nap” above), they are actually meditating, with their eyes closed, on the next plan of action.

These mares are not as fussy about their appearance as they used to be. The four foot manes have been rubbed down to two foot manes and may have a few more tangles in them. Their tails may have stains (don’t ask why). They stride through mud puddles without a second thought to where the dirt flies, whereas when they were younger, there was no way one hoof was going to set foot in such mucky stuff.

These mares don’t keep as tidy a bedroom as they used to. Why bother? Life is too short for tidiness.

These mares know how to make best friends and keep them. If their best forever friend is not turned out with them in the field, they will stand at the gate, and call nonstop for an hour asking where she is.

These mares know how to give great kisses and hugs. Especially if you are hiding a carrot on your person, you’ll be mugged.

Yes, we deep-in-middle age gals, human and equine, do seem to have a lot in common. Nice to know we can always stick together, through thick and …well, thick.

 

eveningrun

 

spaday2

briarcroftponies

 

wally617

The Borders of Heaven

photo by Heather Bullis
photo by Heather Bullis

The mares go down for their evening feed
                                                              into the meadow grass.
Two pine trees sway the invisible wind—
                                                          some sway, some don’t sway.
The heart of the world lies open, leached and ticking with sunlight
For just a minute or so.
The mares have their heads on the ground,
                                 the trees have their heads on the blue sky.
Two ravens circle and twist.
              On the borders of heaven, the river flows clear a bit longer.
~Charles Wright “The Evening is Tranquil, and Dawn is a Thousand Miles Away”

 

sunset92horses3

sunset92horses

sunset92horses2

We Middle Aged Gals Should Stick Together

I’m almost fifty six, well into my middle age.  Aside from the requisite hot flashes of this time of life, I’ve come to recognize a few common characteristics between myself and other women I know who are in my age range in comparison with what I see in the older mares on my farm.  I spend time every day with these Haflinger mares–one age 17+ and the other 19+ (who are not quite menopausal but sometimes act like it.)

For instance:

These mares still have a lot of life left.  They run like the wind when turned loose, their hair flies in the wind and they can buck, kick and fart with the best of them.

These mares know who they are.  There is no identity crisis here.  They are mothers who have pretty much finished their mothering years, and may well be on to their grandmothering years.  They still like to flirt and haven’t given up on the idea that they can still attract attention from a certain fella in the neighboring field.

These mares know their jobs very well, sometimes too well and anticipate what is being asked before it is requested.    They can go for long periods without work but once saddled or harnessed up and pointed in the right direction, it is like they’ve been doing their job every day for years.    No need for a steep learning curve, or reminder lessons.   No funny business or messing around.   There is pride in their work.   They can be a bit out of shape though, with a tendency toward the fluffy side of fitness, so they need a moment to catch their breath once in awhile.  Their muscles sometimes hurt the next day.  They break out in sweat easily.

These mares are opinionated.  There is no question they know their own minds, what they want and how they are going to get it.

These mares are stubborn.  Once they’ve decided something, it takes a sharp whack on the behind to change course.  Once they’ve decided they don’t like another horse, the only way to change that opinion is for the other horse to adopt an attitude of complete servitude and submission, giving way whenever approached and grooming the boss mare whenever asked.

These mares are hungry.   Always.  See “fluffy” above.

These mares don’t sleep much.  There is too much reason not to.  They might look like they are napping, but they are actually meditating on the next plan of action.

These mares are not as fussy about their appearance as they used to be.  The four foot manes have been rubbed down to two foot manes and may have a few more tangles in them.   They stride through mud puddles without a second thought, whereas when they were younger, there was no way a hoof was going to set foot in such dirty stuff.

These mares don’t keep as tidy a bedroom as they used to.  Why bother?

These mares know how to make best friends and keep them.  If their best forever friend is not turned out with them in the field, they will stand at the gate, and call nonstop for an hour asking where she is.

These mares know how to give great kisses and hugs.  Especially if you are hiding a carrot on your person.

Yes, we middle aged gals, human and equine,  do have a lot in common.    Nice to know we can stick together, through thick and …well, thick.