Sunday, April 4, 2010

If they could talk

Here's the mystery plant. Any guesses yet?

Today was a wet, cold day on the ridge. The horses chose to spend most of the day outside and didn't seem the worse for it. No shivering.

I want to leave the debate for today (continue comments if you like, they are quite interesting and I think valuable for exploring this) but what I do want to write about is the feeling that I get when going to see the horses. Horses kept in an environment where their social and physical needs are met, in my experience, will typically not give a person that excited greeting that a dog gives when their "human" comes back. Cats too, have a greeting although it seems to be more of a demand. Unless the horses know you're bringing them a bucket of grain or similar treats, they seem to be content to continue what they were doing, and maybe eventually come up, or welcome the person with a gentle nosing, or request for scratching.

I used to interpret this as that I was doing something wrong, that the horses weren't more excited to see me even after an extended absence. I now think that this is a reflection of their nature which is to "be" in a very different way than other companion animals.

If we could think of the three animals (dogs, cats, horses) as people, it might go as follows:

Dog (running up, arms outstretched in a waiting hug): Hey it's soo good to see you, I've missed you these past 5 minutes, hey want to go out and play frisbee? Come on please? Please!

Cat (walking up slowly): Ahem, Ahem, Where have you been? It's cold in here and I want wet food now...oh and please sit down so I can warm my feet on your lap. Did you remember that I said I want wet food?

Horse (continuing what she's doing): If you're really interested in what's going on, my friend over there has a sore leg and those neighbors across the street are worried about the family they live with.
Have others of you noticed this, or something different?


  1. I always (imagine to) feel warmth and love in the first look that I get from my horse when she sees me approaching.

    I actually do believe that they get all the information they need to evaluate my state of mind from whatever distance, they don't have to come close to see through us.

    And it takes few moments of looking at horses for me to settle down and "tune in". Horses will come when I'm ready for them :)

  2. I find different horses, in different moods, respond differently. George is an eating machine. He never gets treats in the pasture, but he always comes up - briefly - to greet me, and then says, "Well, I'd love to stand here and chat, but I have about 2,000 calories I have to get in before noon." We used to a have a T'bred (RIP) who would always hang with the humans if they were in the pasture in preference to anything else. Others will come up for a treat and then leave. Bridget and Chloe come up for their treats - I give all the treats immediately, and then there's no more til next time I come out - Chloe sometimes sticks around, sometimes not. Bridget will nearly always stick with you. Gus will be human-sociable again depending on his eating schedule. The Friesians, despite their great size, fly over and settle like birds for a few minutes beside you, and then leave.
    I don't approach the horses directly any more. I go out and station myself and wait for them to approach.

  3. Your horses appear to have a very rich environment, and so they're probably not bored and not looking to the human to provide them with amusement.

  4. hi,
    i feel as if when their needs are met and the horses are content, they will tell us when they need something from us: scratches, entertainment. my 4 always make contact in some way when i appear, as if to check in with me. my job(watch duty) when i am hanging with the herd also means everyone can relax and freely expres themslves.

  5. Hello Stormy, my name is Valezka and I live in Australia. I have been following you for sometime and also been a member of the horse conscious group and Carolyn Resnicks group. But I am quite shy about posting.
    I just feel so much emotion from your blog and I think that I can add something to this discussion about this change in consciousness that is affecting us all. An old mare came into my life nearly 5 years ago when I had just birthed my 4th child. I was never horsey in the normal sense and I certainly did not have any horse experience and yet this mare was given to me because I was vulnerable enough in my life to not ask questions about her abuse and neglect, I was nieve, but even though many thought I had been taken advantage of, I stuck by this friend and she changed my life. I had never experienced the love and compassion I felt from this mare towards myself. I had always suffered from depression etc and was an abuse victim in my childhood, I saw myself in her and I did not see the bag of bones everyone else saw, I saw an angel. So I began a journey of learning how to be the horsewoman she deserved, I learned everything from hoof care, holistic health, feeding, anatomy etc everything except riding because she was far too old and frail for that. Most of all I learned to love, something that I thought I knew about, but with her I had to learn to stop the world as I knew it, with all its mindless chatter and expectations and judgements and come from my heart. This was very challenging. But here I am today because of Amber and since I accepted her challenge and she opened a door to me horses have been turning up to find sanctuary. I needed sanctuary and because of my love for them I created one we could all share. Today there are 6 members in my herd, all of them old and not wanted anymore, and what I wanted to say that I think is relevant to your thread is that although this makes no sense to anyone else I know, having these Horse Elders in my life has brought me much more than what normal horse ownership would have. I am only allowed to ride one mare friend who has been teaching me for 4 years now and when she says so then we ride bareback and bridless in total connection. I have been told that this is foolish as this mare was quite sour along time ago and yet because I have never forced her and I have listened to her and not my well meaning horsey friends, she has shared herself with me and sometimes she teaches me how to ride. So this herd has no real purpose in the horsey communitys view, they are useless, but when we connect to this new vision of our world, of ourselves and fellow beings, then all of this has so much more purpose, is so important because a community is growing, we are all feeling the earth, we are all connecting and seeing each other, isnt this what it is all about. I have always sought invisibility with my herd and yet for some reason we must be shining and people are noticing us, I am uncomfortable, people want to know what I am doing with my horses, women want to seek sanctuary with them and find solice in their long manes. The Elders live on a hill top and it seems that they are sending out a call and women and horses are answering and comming. I dont know what will happen, I dont know what I will do except share this place and bare witness to this magic. But inspired by your beautiful blog and your courage and introspection, I will blog about this too because it seems women, mothers in particular need sanctuary, I was not alone in my pain and isolation, The horses now that they are well, are healing this hillside and humans at an incredible rate, I am so in awe of what is happening here, and it is just what you are talking about.
    I just wanted to share this as encouragement in your work because it is happening all over the world and in the most incredible places.
    Thanks Stormy

  6. Thank you for your story Valezka. Your sanctuary is something I dream about too!

  7. Valeszka, that is beautiful. It reminds me of this: