New Year’s Resolutions: Horse$#%@!

By DANIELLE LATTUGA

I’m all for resolutions. They require that we examine ourselves and commit to changing, for better or worse. I just don’t get why they have to happen at the end of a calendar year. It seems sort of arbitrary.

Smokey doesn’t get it either. As far as I can tell, he has no use for calendars. He does however, find hay very useful when the ground is frozen and covered in snow. And he does most things with resolve.

December 23rd was a cold and beautiful day. I planned to visit Smoke, because with the holidays and travel AND work, it was the only day I would be able to see him for a while. Before I could head to Dunrovin, I needed to unpack, repack, work, clean, prepare the food for my dogs for the next week, run errands . . .

As the day wore on, I became increasingly stressed. In the back of my head, a voice flickered, like a candle, “You don’t have to go to the ranch and you shouldn’t, you don’t have the time.”

I blew the candle out. “Horse$#%@!” I thought, “Claim the time.”

I arrived in time to help with the evening feed and catch the last bit of day. Hoar frost clung to every blade of grass in the pasture. The dwindling light sent a shiver of vibrant color and white curtains across the sky and mountains, in every direction. I pulled the sled full of hay and scattered flakes of it, while the horses ran from pile to pile. With great resolve, they chased each other, they pranced and kicked and finally dropped their heads to eat.

Once the hay and grain was distributed, I found Smoke and stood next to him. I peered over his back at the Sapphire Mountains, and thought for a moment that his back could be another rise in the hills, another layer concealing a vein in the mountains. My face was cold, so I pressed it into his woolly coat. He kept chewing—didn’t even flinch. I inhaled with the first deep breath I’d taken all day. Horses smell really good, especially in winter.

Then, I stepped back and listened to him chew. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. Roll. Crunch. Crunch. Gulp. That horse even chews with resolve.

He is the reason I resolved to slow down on that day.

A resolution is a very personal thing. Shouldn’t it reflect where you are at one crystal moment in your life?

 

Dunrovin's horses enjoy their evening meal under pink and blue skies.
Dunrovin's hors...
Smokey's brown winter coat stands out against the hoar frost of the Bitterroot's cold valley.
Smokey's brown ...
A frosty hoof cleaves the frozen field.
A frosty hoof cleave...

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Want to horse around some more? Check out Danielle Lattuga’s other blog posts: Horse Trailer in TowHorse Connections, Even From Afar, or How to Thank a Horse.

   Click here to see all of the Horse Around Missoula archives.

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Danielle Lattuga is a novice horsewoman, frequently found guilty of confusing hoof beats with heartbeats. She believes that riding and writing are not so different – both part poetry, part sweat. Follow her into Montana’s horse country, and find out if she’s right.