Monday, March 15, 2010

The person I am

In comment to the last blog, Jeanne wrote:
How the human feels does get lost when "doing" with horses. My son made me realize that most of the concerns were about the horse and not him. How does the human feel?
This is well said. I know Jeanne and the son she is talking about. I spent many years trying to do my best to balance on the line between teaching kids who wanted to learn to ride horses, and working with the horses who gave the best they had to offer to kids. In the end, I chose to walk away from the existing system because I couldn't find a way to respect them both.

Everybody, both human and animal, needs companionship and guidance. How can I give my best? By putting myself in a position where I am getting companionship and guidance from others whose wisdom I respect. When this wisdom fills me, then it can spill out and nourish others.

Today I spent a few hours with Emerald and her older brother Kaden. As usual, I wanted to spend the time in the horse pasture but Kaden had another idea. He proposed a hike up to "the rocks". We packed provisions and set off on an adventure.

Kaden built a rock sculpture and then used his rock-throwing skills to demolish it. Emerald and I found a dwarf moss forest that was best appreciated with our eyes at rock level.

When Kaden took Emerald's special rock to tease her (as older brothers often do), Emerald started loudly protesting. I whispered to her the secret way to get Kaden to give her back the rock. Within less than a minute, without either of us saying a word to him, like magic, Kaden was giving Emerald back the rock. Actually it surprised me how well it worked. If Emerald ever meets you in person, maybe she'll tell you the secret.

After our rock adventure Emerald accompanied me to the pasture where she built a stick bridge over a particularly large puddle and then balanced her way across it.

It seems healthy to allow Emerald to choose whether she actually wants to be with the horses or not. She does say she wants a horse, and wants to ride, but there are many other things that she also wants to do, like talk to her stuffed kitty, build a boat to float on the pond, and play with dogs. My guess is that the longer that she is into many different things, the more chance she'll have to discover a path which calls so strongly that she'll stay on it longer than others.

After a while, Emerald went to work on her boat and I continued on to see the horses. Along the way I noticed some pretty little flowers on a bush that I had never noticed flowering before.

Sundance seemed very interested in some scratching today.

I soon discovered why. One plump tick had taken up residence on her nose, and after about 15 minutes worth of udder-area scratching I had pulled off 6 more ticks who hadn't seemed to firmly attach themselves yet. I counted 3 different varieties of ticks.

The most interesting thing to me is that I thoroughly scratched the same areas on the other horses and didn't find any. I don't know if Sundance is walking through different brush than the other two or if there's something in particular about her that the ticks like (or dislike about the others). It's a mystery for now.

Below is one of Sofi's, "Yeah, that's the spot!" expressions.

The next picture is a sure sign of the times for those who've had horses.

Yup, spring is around the corner. Shedding time!

After the itches were satisfied I stood drinking in the beauty of the day.

As I got down on the ground to take the next picture I noticed the contrail behind Sundance. It reminded me of a picture I'd painted 10 years earlier.

I remember when I was painting it I had been feeling the mixed emotions about taking space as a rider on the horse's back.

This view of the pasture reminds me of a Van Gogh painting.

There are moments when I still feel guilty about being out there scratching the horses. It's like I feel that I have to justify taking the time to do this simple thing. Shouldn't I be spending my time "training" the horses? In this time and place, horses are expensive and time-consuming pets. What is the justification for having them if I'm not riding? Have I actually been finding something that is more fulfilling than that?

When I'm with horses I want to experience peace, companionship, fun, and exploring growth. As with any companion I can also expect to experience some tough decisions, heartbreak, and hopefully heart-openings.

It's the person I am, not the activities I do that determine the experience I have.

An update from Cheryl about Versano and Ebony:
Just wanted to let you know the horses made it here just fine and I washed the mud off of them and they were put out in a pasture just the two of them to meet and greet the other horses over the fences on both sides of their pasture. They were busy checking out their new home and playing this afternoon.

1 comment:

  1. I am currently reading J. Allen Boone's Kinship with all life, it goes together with your blog so well! I love to read your thoughts, as I am on that same path (in which your dvd still plays a big part, when I'm trying to explain my ways of being with horses for other people!), THANK YOU <3

    Greetings from snowy Finland, though it is spring here too, if you ask my icelandic mare :) She also sheds alot already!