The first day we were here in Michigan, I noticed a phenomenon never seen in the twelve years I lived next door to horses. Driving by one of the many, many horse farms surrounding our house, I saw horses laying on their sides, hog tied. Not one horse, or even two, but many of them, at different farms. We were used to seeing horses in NJ on their backs, all fours in the air, whipping back and forth with dust flying, scratching their backs, or sitting up regally, with their legs folded under them. Like a bad M. Night Shyamalam movie, these Michigan horses lay still, no discernible breathing, for hours at a time. On the way to the grocery store I would see them, and then on the way back home, still there.
The friendly lady at the hardware store explained when I questioned her about it that horses get tired of standing there all day, so they lay down and take a nap. I have never, ever heard of such a thing! What is different about the horses here? Are they more relaxed because they don’t have to worry about rush hour? Did the constant roaring of planes from McGuire Air Force Base make it impossible for them to have a mid afternoon nap? Or are they depressed because the economy is so bad here? Why bother keeping in shape? Just bring on the feed and let me sleep?
The pace of life is certainly slower here. Even Jim, master of ‘finish what you start no matter the time of night’ has taken to getting a wistful look in his eye and “Gee, I could take a nap about now.’ What do the horse know that we have yet to learn?
Another thing we have observed, in our sheep, too, is that the animals here stay out in the weather. My sheep would no sooner get their wool wet than I would stand out in the rain. Yet they have been getting wet since we moved. The horses next door stay out, too. Everyone has a shed they can escape to, but seem to prefer the sky over them. The sheep are the cleanest they have ever been. Are the animals in NJ vain?
I”m going to my first spin in here on Saturday and will ask the shepherd hosting it if his Shetlands stay out, or if they too prefer to come in, sit by the fire, and have a cup of tea.