November is grey. I feed the horses in the morning in a kind of non light, which is more an absence of darkness. When I get home in the afternoon, what counts for daylight is already fading. The beech trees haven’t lost their leaves yet, and lend splashes of vivid colour to fields that otherwise seems perpetually shrouded in tones of Payne’s grey.
I have no electricity in my yard, so I prepare the feeds and put hay in the field shelter for the night before it gets dark. By the time Minnie and Cassie have finished their evening feed, it is pitch black. I have to drive my jeep into the yard to light the few steps from the stables to the shelter. Before I turn them out, I spend a few moments with both of my mares. The light from the jeep doesn’t quite reach into the stables and there is an intimacy to being in the dark with a horse that is therapeutic. I breathe in the mixed smell of horse and hay and perhaps some fresh manure. They both have their own scent and even if I was blind folded and not allowed to touch I would know them that way. I listen to the sound of their breathing and find my own breathing slowing down in time with theirs. They nuzzle my hands and face. Moments in the dark.