December 14, 2010

Stop and Smell the Horses

I love the smell of a horse.

I don't think you will find many riders who disagree.  I don't particularly love the smell of my cat, or my dog, or even my husband after a hot day, but I always love the smell of my horse.  It doesn't matter if its after a bath, when he's sweaty, or cold and fuzzy.  I'm not sure why, ask any non-horsey person, its not a very pleasant smell.  It got that dirty, musty, grassy smell with just a hint of ammonia or poo depending on what they rolled in that day.  I don't stick my head in my cats litter box and say "yeah, that's the ticket."  But on my horse nestled in the fur and mane, it's heaven.  Almost therapeutic.  I don't know why, I can only imagine that I now associate that aroma with so many happy memories and moments that my brain automatically reassigned it from "horse smell = poo" to "horse smell = good, safe, & happy."

All I know is that any time I'm stressed over a life event or am in a particularly bad mood, I try to stop by the barn (even if just to feed) and bury my head in Dexter's neck and take a big whiff.  I'm not afraid to admit it, and I know it sounds weird, but it works.  It melts the stress, it calms me down and it just makes me content.  I've always loved the smell of a barn and horses but this habit is a new one.  Maybe it's because I don't always have time to ride and when I go out to feed Dexter I get whatever I can.

The interesting thing is that my husband (a non-horsey person) has started to like the smell.  I'll come home and he'll say:
"You smell like a horse."
me - "I'm sorry."
"It's OK, it smells good." 

The only thing I can figure is that his brain is making the same reassignment mine did.  Only for him it is because I'm in a better mood when I come home smelling like a horse (horse smell = happy wife).  I've already shed the stresses from the day and am re-energized.  I doubt he would agree with me if he shoved his head into Dexter's mane and took a big whiff.  But the fact that my horse smell is pleasant to him makes me happy.

So I suggest to those of you who love horses and get excited when you get to the barn and catch a hint of that familiar smell, try just sitting ans smelling your horse.  (Try to stay near the front end, a little too much poo smell can probably spoil the experience.)  It may be helpful being that in the winter months its hard to get a ride in.  I'm not saying its going to be a cathartic or religious experience, it may just smell like a horse to you.  But for me, its one of the sweetest smells I know.

1 comment:

  1. Mmmmm, I do love the smell of horse. I can't ever remember a time when I didn't like it, even when had just started riding. I try to be considerate and keep that smell off of me, but I personally l-o-v-e it.