Photo by Audrey Pavia
When my roommate, Lisa, asked me if I wanted to go with her to watch her boyfriend Matt take a riding lesson on Friday evening, I hesitated. I had work to do, and I knew if I ventured into a training stable, I’d get sucked in to the equine vortex and never make it back in time to do my work. But it was Friday night, so I figured: “What the heck?” I said OK.
Lisa took me to a 3-acre facility a few blocks away, where I’d never been. I’d heard her talk about this place, but I’d never had time to visit.
“Go into the barn first,” she told me, as she went off to watch the lesson. I obeyed, wondering what the big deal was about this barn. I soon found out.
When I set foot inside the open-ended barn, I felt like I had entered into The Hobbit. Rows of tiny little box stalls with itty-bitty stall doors lined the aisle. At the sound my footsteps, a dozen little horse heads peaked over the doors.
Miniature horses are among the cutest things in the world, but these were cuter than most. The majority of this barnful of horses was being trained for show, and was wearing tiny little blankets and neck covers. Only their diminutive heads and petite feet were visible.
I made a beeline to the first horse on the aisle, a young one who looked about 2 years old. As I stood over him, he lifted his head up and looked me straight in the eye. It was almost unnerving. I’ve never seen a horse look at me like that. He walked right over and put his head in my outstretched hand. I felt like I was connecting more with a dog than a horse. I scratched him behind the ears, rubbed my hand up and down his face and even bent down and kissed his muzzle. He never once shied or moved away. In fact, he couldn’t get enough of it, and even stood up with his front legs on the side of the stall door to get my attention when I started to leave.
As much as I was in love with this little guy, I had to see the other horses. I stopped in my tracks when I came upon a tiny pinto mare with a foal that couldn’t have been more than a few weeks old. The baby didn’t look real. She seemed like a stuffed horse. Even though she walked around and swished her tail like a real foal, she was just too cute to be alive.
Of course, I had completely forgotten about watching the lesson — the whole reason I went there — until Lisa called to me to let me know where she was. I tore myself away from the barn and watched Matt’s lesson on his full-size Quarter Horse, all the while thinking about the Minis. I then decided that the next time I was feeling down, I’d come back here and meet the rest of the little equines. I have no doubt they are the ultimate cure for depression.