A horse of a different color is actually thought to be an adaption from Shakespeare. In the Twelfth Night, he says, “A horse of the same color.” To mean two things that are the same. I always find it interesting where the different English language idioms come from.
Today I took my daughter to brush my friend’s horses. She’s always had a love for animals, but being in suburbia, we lack in animal diversity. For grief therapy, I had taken her to equestrian therapy. She loved the pigs, donkeys, and horses at the therapy farm. She brushed horses and talked about her feelings. All the research says it is actually more beneficial than regular therapy. Unfortunately, the insurance companies haven’t caught on to this research yet, and I fund myself hundreds of dollars poorer.
So off we went to brush my friend’s horses, who was so kind as to let us come and brush their horses whether they needed brushing or not. As soon as we walked in we heard a horse that was not so happy to see us. This horse, named Calypso, was in heat and was very irritated we were there. Side note, Calypso is from Greek Mythology. She is an irritable diversion. I found it ironic that she was named aptly, but I probably was the only one around to think so.
We set to brushing the other horse and then the pony. They stood still politely while I tried to brush their manes like I brush my daughter’s hair. We used many types of brushed and then rewarded them for their good behavior. All the while Calypso whinnied and snorted as if to say, “Don’t even try it!” We walked in a large half-circle around her and headed to feed the crazy chickens.
We feed the chickens while admiring the beautiful rooster. It seems he was strutting his stuff since the other two larger roosters had died in an epic battle to win the lead rooster role. It seems the Urkel of the group had paced himself just right and now ruled the roost. We finished up and headed to sweep up and leave.
As we were cleaning up, I paid little attention to being near Calypso, who decided to touch me with her head as I was standing nearby with my daughter. We patted her face and her head, finally giving her some love and attention. We headed out to come back another day.
As the day rolled on I started to not feel well. My mild autoimmune kicked in and I felt the fatigue, burning eyes and body aches I sometimes get with a mild flare. I was irritated about it coming on. I had changed my diet and was trying to exercise, but maybe the 12 miles in three days I had walked had been too much too soon. I really hated listening to how others at work would bike ride and rock climb and cross fit. I wanted to be that type of a person again, but I’ve realized I need to be ok with where I’m at. (Even if my friends joke about my water classes with people 20 to 30 years older than me).
I had promised my daughters a trip to look at Spring clothes and I tried to lay down to see if I would feel better before we left. A couple of hours later we headed out with my daughter driving. My youngest started prodding me about a job, driver’s ed, clothes for an upcoming trip, and so on in the short drive down the freeway. I lost my temper and yelled at her and then proposed we go home.
I felt the heat in my face, my pulse race, and I should have waited to speak but I didn’t. As we sat pulled over in the mall parking lot, I calmed down and apologized. I felt terrible for yelling. Though my daughter was driving me crazy, it wasn’t helpful to yell. I told my daughters I wasn’t feeling well and I shouldn’t have yelled, I should have rescheduled the trip out. We decided to continue on with a shortened trip and went to one store, they found a few cute items and all was fine.
A couple of hours later I had a book group. We only meet twice a month. I had no desire to go to it. I was irritable, tired, and just plain not in the mood. But I went. Within 30 minuted of being there and talking about my day and our book, I felt emotionally better.
As I sat there I realized Calypso and I were not so different. She didn’t feel well and was irritable. This caused everyone to not want to be around her. Calypso was loud and carried on, showing her disproval with everyone. Once Calypso calmed down enough and received a little attention, she felt a little better and she stopped making so much noise.
It brings to mind what happens when people have anxiety or depression. They are grumpy, irritable, and sometimes they say harsh things. In truth that is probably when they need people the most. Maybe just a gentle hand to say, “I know you don’t feel well, but I am here.” Maybe equestrian therapy isn’t such a bad idea after all.