It’s home to me.
Each month my horse journals and magazines come to my door and I devour them eagerly. They are full of things only horse people would enjoy reading; the latest research on equine colic, how to care for a puncture wound (graphic photos included), or comparing charts of data and numbers on complete feeds. This month however, in a few different, short, anecdotal stories, I noticed there were several references to scent. The scent of first cut hay in early summer, the sweet breath of a favorite pony, the smell of new leather, and yes – even the smell of manure (especially the smell of manure!). And all of these scents immediately took the authors back in time to “that one summer” on the farm, their week at horse camp they had begged their parents for, or the soft nuzzle of their first pony, gone but never forgotten.
Thanks to a well-known deodorant commercial (and scientific research), we now know that smell is the strongest sense tied to memory. I have to admit, when I first set off for college and had to leave my beloved Morgan horse Carrot behind, I took with me her (unwashed) saddle pad. I would hold it close, close my eyes, and take a deep breath in. Physically, I was in a most unfamiliar environment, but in my mind she came rushing back to me. I could feel her velvet coat, hear her soft nicker, and most importantly, I could feel home.
I love the barn for all the sensory experiences it provides. Digging deep into the grain bin, running your hands through your horse’s mane, the rhythmic stride as you move together, each step gently loosening and relaxing your spine, unwinding your soul. The rumble of grain hitting the buckets, often followed by a thunder of hooves striking the ground, a horse’s whinny, a cat’s purr, a sweet “mehh” from the goats. There are animals of all breeds, sizes, colors, and patterns. And of course there is “that smell”. That wonderful sweet, pungent scent of the stables.
Come and experience the farm with all your senses. I am certain you too will come to feel:
You are at home.