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I miss horses. I miss their attitudes, their swishing tails, their wiggling ears. I miss their unmatched smell, which is an aroma perfumers should bottle--they'd sell millions.

I don't miss frozen fingers unable to grip the curry comb in the winter. Or the pain in my back from bending to pick out crusted-in dirt from their hooves.

I miss the tired satisfaction after a ride, or even after just a visit to the farm. I miss the wide open spaces, the lines of fences, the buckets of manure, the fragrant stacks of hay bales.

I miss lugging a saddle from its stand and heaving it onto a tall back. I miss the ways a horse can flap its lips but then refuse to open them for the bit.

I miss the ways a horse will not perform the riding manoeuver unless you ask it using all the correct aids with the correct pressure, all at the same time while not being unbalanced or too forceful or not forceful enough. I do miss the way a horse responds when you relax and use all the right aids because you get it.

I don't miss a horse refusing to go into an arena corner because there's a scary shadow that's been there for the twenty times he passed it today but on the twenty-first time it suddenly seems totally freaky. I miss learning the proper way to react to these crazy unpredictable reactions.

I don't miss their knowledge of how to unseat you. I don't miss going to the hospital so a doctor can check your concussion.

My Current Horse

I miss walking into the field and seeing your horse raise his head from the grass to look at you. I miss being recognized and the nicker. I miss that warmth in my chest.

I miss the crunching of a carrot or an apple, and watching juice fly and pieces fall from their big hairy lips. I don't miss wiping juice from my cheek.

I miss the happy tired feeling when I return home, the horse-smell perfuming my clothes, and the mud caking my boots.

I don't miss the grief of watching a horse fade into old age. I don't miss the call to the vet. I don't miss the hole it leaves in my heart, even years and years later.

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