On November 3 we fell back for daylight savings time, which means the usual four pm feeding time becomes “three” by our human clocks, and something approaching later than that by the natural ones since the daylight gets shorter and shorter each day. Add to this the fact that on November 5, I returned to working in the office a few days a week (and home the rest of the time), which means I don’t get home until 6. It’s dark.
The horses have noticed. I’m sure had I been here I would have seen them standing near their feeding stations making sad, forlorn, “starving” eyes toward the house. And eventually when no one came out to feed them, they meandered back down into the pasture. I came home, scooped up their food, and in the dark started filling buckets. That first night, they finally came running when they heard me call their names only to stand around and look lost. “Why’d you call us up here? It’s dark. We have horse things to do.” Eventually I shook their buckets enough that they realized they had food and all was well.
Some evenings they’re up waiting for me. Others I have to call them, though they come quickly now. When I work from home and on weekends I feed closer to the original time just so I don’t have to do it after dark. However, I won’t deny the thrill I feel when I hear the pounding hoof beats in the dark as my equine kids come to get their supper. It’s majestic. It’s powerful.
Soon the days will grow long again and I’ll no longer be feeding after dark. Until then, I’ll stand in the chilly air, listen to the pounding hooves and know my horses are happy that I’m home because it’s dinner time.