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Tucking the Haflingers in Bed at Night
by Emily Gibson, Washington
There are moments of epiphany in horse and family raising, and
say that last night was one of those moments. The world has felt so
uncertain for two months, and our family and extended family have had
some personal worries we've been coping with, so the moments of grace
that offer themselves up unexpectedly are so appreciated, and I know the
Lord is beside us no matter what.
Last night it was tucking the Haflingers into bed. Just as precious to
me as tucking our children into bed. In fact, my poor family knows I
cannot sit down to dinner until the job is done out in the barn--so
human dinner waits until horsie dinner is served and their beds
My work schedule during this time of year is such that I must take the
Haflingers out to their winter paddocks from their cozy box stalls,
while the sky is still dark, and then bring them back in later in the
day after the sun goes down. We have quite a long driveway from barn to
the paddocks which are strategically placed by the road so the horses
are exposed to all manner of road noise, vehicles, logging, milk and hay
trucks, school buses, and never blink when these zip past their noses.
They must learn from weanling stage on to walk politely and respectfully
along side us humans as we make that trek from the barn in the morning
and back to the barn in the evening.
Bringing the Haflingers in last night was a particular joy because I was
a little earlier than usual and not needing to rush: the sun was
setting quite golden orange, the world had a glow, the poplar and maple
leaves have carpeted the driveway completely and each Haflinger walked
with me without rushing, pushing, or pulling--just walked alongside me
like the partner they have been taught to be.
I absolutely love putting the Haflingers each into their own box stall
bed at night, with fresh fluffed shavings, a pile of sweet smelling hay
and fresh water. I can feel each horse breathe this big sigh of relief
that they have their own space for the night--no jostling for position
or feed, no hierarchy for 12 hours, and then it is back out the next
morning to the herd, with all the mixed blessings that come from coping
with other individuals in your same space. We all know what that is
like in our everyday experience.
My horses love their stalls, because that is their sanctuary, that is
where they get special scratching and hugs, and visits from a little red
haired girl who loves them to pieces and sings them songs.
Then coming in last night, feeding my human family and tucking those
precious children into bed, even though two are now taller than me. The
world feels right and complete and there is a little bit of heaven on
We've all got to search for those moments in our everyday bustle. We
need our Haflingers to help remind us about how precious it is to be
here. And that we each need a little sanctuary to regroup and renew. I
know where mine is.
Emily from BriarCroft