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The  Golden Girls have picked up a shadow. A young appaloosa, new to the pasture has adopted them. Like many other newbies, Tosh, short for Macintosh, has found safe haven with Pepper and Chickadee.


This boy is not even two years old and didn’t know thing one about life in a herd.

Truth be told, some of us thought Tosh was a bit young to be thrown into the pasture to fend for himself for food and community. The dominant horses did their usual yee-haw and giddy-up on him, chasing him and kicking each time he approached. He’s got the kick marks to show he tried. But Tosh is just a little too young to understand the ways of the herd.

Instead he chose to hang out with the Golden Girls.

Pepper may have given him “the look,” ears laid back accompanied by a snort or two, but that would likely be her only protest. So Tosh quickly learned he’d found a place of safety. It was probably a lot like being with his mom. And these two mares have been so good at taking in strays. Their maternal instinct is strong.



Pepper and Chickadee have allowed Tosh to tag along as they wander the pasture. He’s found a place of safety where he can ease himself into herd life. He’s also learned about getting treats. That one came quickly!

Occasionally we’ve found him hanging out with some of the other horses, but then he returns to his safe haven. It’s like a human toddler venturing out away from mom to learn about the world, and then returning to home base.


Come to think of it, Tosh is a toddler of sorts.


Watching this latest drama unfold in the pasture has made me reflect on the people and places in my life that offer me safe haven.

I am blessed to have a rather long list— long enough to customize depending on the situation and what I need. I have friends, family, and mentors, all of whom are willing to make themselves available to me. And I have many places of comfort—places that hold and soothe me, both in the natural world and in my home.


Like Tosh, from time to time, each of us needs people and/or places to comfort us, to offer us safe haven from the storms of our life.


The time will come when Tosh no longer needs the safety offered by two old mares.

As he grows into a strong young gelding, he will likely leave them to take his place in the larger herd. But until then, they have his back.

And don’t you just love them for it?

It’s a terrible choice.

Who in the world would even ask the question?

Such torture!

But as the temperature has plummeted here in Colorado, and we’re dealing with our second big snow, my dear, sweet Pepper has been forced to ponder this very question.

She’s been weighing the pros and cons.


Stay with Fred and his harem of mares?


Hang out with the Herd of Oldsters and be first in line for grain?


Thank goodness she has taken this dilemma quite seriously. “It’s a no-brainer,” she said after careful consideration.

In the winter when the pasture is frozen, food is on every horse’s mind. And Pepper is no exception. That daily feeding of grain keeps her warm, and in her own way, she knows it.

She needs calories more than sex.

Oops, I said it!

The s-word.

Sorry about that…

 I’d never dream of asking you how you would choose if the same question was asked of you.

And if I forgot and happened to commit such a faux pas, I’d never expect an answer.


But my guess is, you’re thinking about it. Right this very minute.

You are, aren’t you?

 Is choosing food over spending time with a hot guy really a no-brainer?




There are some people who just can’t abide messes. They spend their lives straightening, sorting, picking things up, and cleaning. No one has ever attributed those actions to me, but I know plenty of folks who fit the bill.

You may remember my blog post about the differences in car neatness between my sister and me. Here’s a link if you’d like a refresher. The gist of it is that she’s much neater than I am. In fairness to me, she doesn’t feed horses from her car. But maybe that’s me being defensive.

Well, it turns out that my own dear sweet Miss Pepper is a cleaner.

Or is it gleaner?

We’ve taken to calling her Pepperella or Cinderpepper.

She takes it upon herself to nibble up the stray bits of grain that have been dropped on the tailgate or back of the car. She does this even when her own pan still holds grain.

I think it’s a neatness thing. Really I do.

Pepper doesn’t like messes. She’s an orderly, put together kind of mare.

Bud on the other hand is kind of a slob. It’s usually his grain that she’s cleaning up.

My husband’s theory is that Pepper is stalling for time. The more she fiddles around the truck, the more time she has out of the pasture.

I disagree. I am totally convinced that she has taken it on herself to be the cleaning lady. She doesn’t like all those bits of grain lying about.

It’s messy.

If horses could make a tsk-tsking sound, Pepper would do just that.

Instead she busies herself cleaning, gleaning, whatever.

Sometimes she even licks out the feed pans.

What a girl!

I’ve tried to figure out how to get her to my house, but honestly, I don’t think it would work. So I’m settling for taking cleaning lessons from my mare.

Hey, when the student is ready, the teacher appears.



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