I’m almost fifty six, well into my middle age. Aside from the requisite hot flashes of this time of life, I’ve come to recognize a few common characteristics between myself and other women I know who are in my age range in comparison with what I see in the older mares on my farm. I spend time every day with these Haflinger mares–one age 17+ and the other 19+ (who are not quite menopausal but sometimes act like it.)
These mares still have a lot of life left. They run like the wind when turned loose, their hair flies in the wind and they can buck, kick and fart with the best of them.
These mares know who they are. There is no identity crisis here. They are mothers who have pretty much finished their mothering years, and may well be on to their grandmothering years. They still like to flirt and haven’t given up on the idea that they can still attract attention from a certain fella in the neighboring field.
These mares know their jobs very well, sometimes too well and anticipate what is being asked before it is requested. They can go for long periods without work but once saddled or harnessed up and pointed in the right direction, it is like they’ve been doing their job every day for years. No need for a steep learning curve, or reminder lessons. No funny business or messing around. There is pride in their work. They can be a bit out of shape though, with a tendency toward the fluffy side of fitness, so they need a moment to catch their breath once in awhile. Their muscles sometimes hurt the next day. They break out in sweat easily.
These mares are opinionated. There is no question they know their own minds, what they want and how they are going to get it.
These mares are stubborn. Once they’ve decided something, it takes a sharp whack on the behind to change course. Once they’ve decided they don’t like another horse, the only way to change that opinion is for the other horse to adopt an attitude of complete servitude and submission, giving way whenever approached and grooming the boss mare whenever asked.
These mares are hungry. Always. See “fluffy” above.
These mares don’t sleep much. There is too much reason not to. They might look like they are napping, but they are actually meditating on the next plan of action.
These mares are not as fussy about their appearance as they used to be. The four foot manes have been rubbed down to two foot manes and may have a few more tangles in them. They stride through mud puddles without a second thought, whereas when they were younger, there was no way a hoof was going to set foot in such dirty stuff.
These mares don’t keep as tidy a bedroom as they used to. Why bother?
These mares know how to make best friends and keep them. If their best forever friend is not turned out with them in the field, they will stand at the gate, and call nonstop for an hour asking where she is.
These mares know how to give great kisses and hugs. Especially if you are hiding a carrot on your person.
Yes, we middle aged gals, human and equine, do have a lot in common. Nice to know we can stick together, through thick and …well, thick.