A Winter Barn Moment

Dive into Shari’s introspective journey in ‘A Winter Barn Moment.’ Written a few years ago while reflecting on her leadership path, this blog post is a serene blend of crisp winter mornings and heartfelt connections with nature. Join Shari as she navigates through snowy landscapes and meaningful encounters with her horses, drawing parallels with leadership and personal growth. A tale of early awakenings, instinctive bonds, and the quiet beauty of nature awaits.

Read the full post below.

I awoke this morning to snow on rooftops, the ground and sitting on each branch of the trees. The sun had not yet arose. It was dark. But I could see the snow almost sparkle, it had arrived.

I got up, put on my sweatshirt and went to the garage. It wasn’t quite cold, but you could feel what was waiting for you outside. I pulled on my boots, threw my hood on my head and put my arms in the sleeves of my jacket. I wouldn’t need to button it up, not yet. And then I opened the door.

The cold air caught my breath and turned it into a puff of smoke. My nose tingles and I was instantly awake. I made my way to the barn. The minute the horses saw me they were alert and their ears pinned into sharp points facing me. Then the bucking and jumping began. This was the first “cold snap” of the season and they were a bit excited.

I fed Skye first. She stalled outside the barn. Although she has a shelter to stand under, it by no means offers her the protection a barn stall might. But she is a mustang and she is hearty. Her winter coat shows up weeks before any of the other horses. She knows, it is in her DNA to survive so she is more in tune, I think, at least her body is . . . to what is coming. She nickered deeply as I slid the barn door open to go to her pen. That’s what I love about my mustang. She is always grateful. Stubborn and outspoken at times, but always grateful.

I turned back to the barn and the three left there were getting impatient, but they knew not to let that get the best of them or it would lead to trouble. As I stepped back in, they all stopped and stood respectfully, with their heads hanging over the panel. I could almost see them bat their eyes.

I decided this morning Jewels would get hers first. Usually, as the youngest, she could be counted on to be the least mature in her thinking, but this morning she behaved as well as the other two, yes she got to go first. And as weird as this sounds, I will share with you, I explained that out loud. I told Dublin and Reba today it was Jewels turn first and I expected them to support that. They didn’t budge.

Now that might sound normal. But what you don’t know is that when I do not say it and I just randomly choose one to go first, I get head throwing, stomping and crow hopping occasionally from the other two. SO, today, I was impressed. I congratulated Dublin for being a gentleman and winked; “Now, Reba gets to go, ladies first.” He looked at me, as if to say, “Ok, I get it, go ahead,” and I did.

When I finally got Dublin’s breakfast, I grabbed a little extra. I told him that. Here you go, big boy. Thank you. Now, you would think I left the barn and went straight to the house. I mean it was 28 degrees out this morning in Golden Valley. But just as I turned to walk towards the door, Jewels stopped eating (as hungry as she was) and came to the panel to ask for attention.

I reached out and scratched her neck. She was tense. She tends to be a pretty big barn baby. As I scratched her she took her nose and rubbed me on the back of my shoulder with it, returning the favor. This is a “you help me I will help you behavior in the horse world”. All of a sudden it wasn’t cold anymore. I stayed for a few minutes, just rubbing her neck and telling her it was going to be warmer today, and I would let her out to run.

As I rubbed her forehead and gave her a final, “You are ok, go eat your breakfast,” she gave me a look of appreciation and went back to her food. Then I heard it; the release of the tension she had been holding onto, after surviving the first “cold snap” of the season. She released a long, loud “horse sneeze”. These are kind of like raspberries with lots of flying saliva. You can get quite showered with wet horse goo from these. I smiled. That was worth the extra few minutes in the freezing cold.

As I walked out of the barn, the sun had begun to come up. The snow on Peavine Mountain glistened. You could see the outline of the clouds above and there was a quiet in the air, a stillness that comes with a new fallen snow. It was beautiful. And that made the early awakening every morning and the cold of this morning worth it. It is the early morning beauty of the earth and knowing you exist within its character. Come fall, come winter you change with the earth, and it is good.

Leadership is a funny thing.


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