Sunday, October 2, 2011


By Kitson
[aro·ma·ther·a·py noun \ə-ˌrō-mə-ˈther-ə-pē\ : the use of aroma to enhance a feeling of well-being]

One soggy Welsh Cob,
happy to see me and my bag of apples.
 When the bag of bruised apples and overlooked carrots that I keep in my refrigerator starts to overflow, it’s a clear sign that the demands of family and freelance work have kept me from the barn for too many days. It felt more like Maine here than DC this weekend, with a chilly rain falling since Friday night. But I was itching to get to the barn.

By Sunday afternoon I had not made it out to Potomac. Pee wee football, little league and laser tag birthday parties dominated the weekend. As our house filled up with neighbors, chicken wings and football on the big screen this afternoon, I grabbed my bag of apples, slipped on my paddock boots and headed out the door. It was hardly raining; I was optimistic. Maybe I could get in a quick ride out to the bluff behind the back field that looks out over a beautiful, wide section of the Potomac River all the way to Virginia. On the way we might see the occasional bob of a red fox tail disappearing through the trees, brilliant green moss and a hint of silvery mist over the fields. One time I saw a bald eagle up close, his white so white and his yellow remarkably yellow, eating a lifeless mouse on the ground. On a day like today, I might smell leaves dripping with a whiff of rain and damp piney bark combined with the smell of horse and leather.

Actually, all I had to do was get out of my car at the barn for the horsey aromatherapy to begin. It had started raining a bit harder, but I didn’t care. It was time for the evening feed and the sweet smells of hay and grain stuck in the air. That plus the smell of rain and wet grass filled my nose. It was pouring by now, so I left my saddle in the tack room and decided that a muddy visit to the field would do me.

I unlatched the gate and called for my horse, Taff. Upon hearing my voice he lifted his head, arched his cresty neck and looked over the wet back of his friend at me, “Whaddya got in that goodie bag?”

He and four of his closest friends joined me for a super applesauce machine slobberfest that made me chuckle. Chomp. Slurp. Bubble. Chew. Bits of foamy carrot and apple dropped in the mud. Their ten dirty hooves made an adorable ring around me. Another horse, low on the totem pole squeezed in to eat the leavings off the ground. I pushed them aside with a wave of my now-empty bag and turned to open the gate. I said my good-byes and ran through the rain to my car, willing the delicious scents of the farm – the mashed slobbery apples, the sweet notes of grain, the green smell of wet grass -- to last me until my next visit.


  1. ...thanks for the "aromatic" image, I even hate to wash my barn clothes some days!

  2. ...I even hate to wash my hands and clothes for sadness of leaving the smell!