Roxy is my lovely 5 yo quarter horse. Since coming to live with us, she has taught me so many lessons. One thing I discovered very early on was a buried fear of horses! Every interaction I have with her helps me get beyond that.
Today I decided to give Rox a bath. It’s fly season which comes with lots of bites and fly spray. She will tolerate having water sprayed on her from a hose, especially in 100 degree temps, we just haven’t tried much more than that. This time we were going to do a deep clean. Use shampoo. This could be tricky.
Wanting her to realize this bath thing could be a positive experience, I moved slowly. She allowed me to rub the shampoo into her coat using water from a bucket. She loved having her neck and back scrubbed. While washing her mane and tail, I began day dreaming of how professionals wash, dry and groom their horses in preparation for competitions. Anticipation grew as I thought of seeing Roxy beautifully clean, shiny and sleek. We were on our way to gorgeous!
Time to rinse. There is really only one way and that is with the hose. As I said before, she will tolerate it, but would she tolerate it long enough for me to get the shampoo rinsed off her? At first she ran back and forth as if to escape the spray. Then she began to pick up some speed circling around me, inadvertently tying me in the hose and the lead rope. Or did she actually know what she was doing? I held my own. No I didn’t fall. Finally she jerked free from me.
After a wild gallop around the field, she returned surprisingly. Guess I’ve done something right as she showed this trust in me. We began rinsing once more. It wasn’t long before she took off again. This time, I knew she wasn’t coming back. I knew what was going to happen. After charging around, bucking and passing gas as only a horse can, she slowed her pace. Walking to a spot she determined to be the softest in the field, she pawed at the ground, and you guessed it, proceeded to roll in the dirt!!! Back and forth rubbing her back and thus her mane in the dusty, manure scattered dirt! Rising on all fours again and she gave a full body shake. Most of the dirt stuck. Sigh. There’s still shampoo in that mane and tail. That can’t be good. Didn’t get to see what her coat looks like clean and shiny. Don’t think I’ll be in any competitions anytime soon.
You know what? We had fun. It was rewarding to scratch her back and know I got most of the nasty fly spray off her. It was a victory for me to wash down each of her legs to her hooves and not be afraid, and have her respond with respect. I really love watching her run with incredible strength and grace. And yes, it’s fun to see her paw at the ground in a thoughtful way and then roll like a big dog. Having her come back to me, saying I trust you and want to be with you was the best reward of all.
Roxy and motherhood? Always a lesson to be learned. So much of what we do as mothers seems fruitlessly redundant. Laundry. Getting groceries. Making meals. Mopping floors. Give them a bath and have them go right out and jump (or roll!) in a mud puddle! Over and over again we do and then do again. It could, and on many days does get really discouraging.
It’s so important for us to capture the moments and look on them with delight. See the growth. The victories. The rewards. Knowing we are doing the most important job in the world.
Having 7 kiddo’s spanning ages 25-9, I have days where the work done seems to be undone just as fast. There are also days where I seem to be watching my older kids run into the world with ‘great strength and grace.’ In those moments I can say job well done. It was fruitful. Delightful. Well worth it.
The greatest reward? After a time of establishing their own roots, pawing in their own dirt, they come back. New and different relationships evolve. It is then I know, that I did and am doing the most important job in the world.