Saturday, May 22, 2010

Wild beauty

I've met some interesting people who might get behind he ERC - USA idea. I'll keep everyone posted about how that progresses via this blog.

Meanwhile, yesterday some friends and I ventured into the garden and found among other things, the carrots that had been planted last year and not harvested. I went right to work on that bed and unearthed some treats for the horses.

They aren't sweet or symmetrical...

...but the horses are enjoying them just the same. I imagine these are more like what wild carrots were first like before we bred them to be the things we recognize in stores.

Some bad news for the mystery plant...

...and good news for whatever is eating it...

...I'm not sure if it's some sort of bug or larger animal but for the past few days it has been getting eaten. There are others further back in the bushes that haven't been damaged yet, maybe the creature will get enough from the one plant and leave the others alone.

Some more beautiful pictures from the area.

This evening as I was walking down to the horses, amidst scattered raindrops, I looked over and saw these faint outlines. They didn't look like rain in the distance, more like smoke rising.

I zoomed in with the camera and got this. Very ethereal-looking.

When I went into the pasture, the horses were mostly grazing on the scotch broom blooms. I sat on a rock and got quiet. Patrik soon came to check me out...

He gave me some warm nuzzles, perhaps to see if I had brought him some carrots or other treats. After he saw I didn't have any treats he drifted off and Sofi came to visit. She wanted scratches. I spent some time scratching her from sitting on a low rock and then she seemed content to stand nearby and go into a quiet space. After a while, Patrik came back, Sofi moved off, Patrik again nuzzled me and then very gently approached Sofi who nickered at him. I watched, hoping for a miracle...

...and then it happened, they started scratching each other. I know this doesn't seem like much for other horses, but between these two it is big news. It has taken a lot for Sofi to feel safe enough to let Patrik get this close to her, and for Patrik to understand that she needs a gentle touch.

The encounter ended when Patrik got a little too rough on Sofi's spine and the two of them ran off together. I went to leave and as soon as I got to the gate, the three horses came galloping up. I went and got some more of the carrots and soon everyone was happily munching.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Equine Rights Coalition - USA

I have an interesting thought for today. I've been inspired by a couple of sources. First, I learned about what Natascha Smargiassi is doing in Switzerland. I first met Natascha through NHE and then got to know her better as she very thoroughly helped me research for the Path of the Horse video. Natascha is now working with the Animal Welfare Authorities in Switzerland towards the end of abolishing equine sports in Switzerland within 10 years.

The second source of inspiration was an email I got from a woman asking for more of the hard science behind what I show in the video in Alexander's section. She wants to have something concrete to explain to people why she doesn't ride. I have had many such requests and now I feel like it's time to do something more proactive about this shift that's happening within the horse world.

To this end, I'd like to propose getting together a group of people who are interested in working to promote equine rights within the USA. For now, I want to focus on the USA since that is where I live and the culture I am familiar with. If others want to facilitate similar ventures in their own country I'd be happy to share information.

Here is the vision I have for the Equine Rights Coalition - USA. Please respond and tell me if you have time, interest, or other talents or resources to put towards this venture.

ERC - USA the mission
  • To facilitate a shift in human perception from horses as riding or sport animals to fellow sentient beings with unalienable rights to healthy, pain-free lives.
  • To provide scientific documentation to support the case that current accepted treatment of horses is not a healthy, pain-free way of life for them.
  • To be a source for media or political organizations to go to for more information on the subject of equine rights.
  • To evaluate the necessity for and work towards legislation changes regarding equine rights.
Other activities that ERC - USA might be part of
  • Informational booths at various types of events
  • Publishing books and videos for children and/or adults
  • Hosting movie screenings and book signings for people who are in alignment with this cause
  • Hosting a website dedicated to the issues that ERC - USA supports
ERC - USA needs people who...
...can do the paperwork to get ERC - USA established as a 501c3 organization
...can write grants
...have a science background (especially veterinarians) and can conduct experiments and/or present scientific findings in papers or speeches
...are good communicators and believe that most current horse treatment is unethical
...would like to start equestrian centers based on healthy horse-human relationships to provide a model for the future
...want to be a voice for horses

One thing that feels very clear to me is that my job is to offer this opportunity to bring like-minded people together under the flag of equine rights. The shift is already taking place, there is something within people, especially younger generations, that tells them that something is wrong with the current model of working with horses. Our job will be to provide an organization that people who already have heard this calling in their hearts can lend their strengths and talents to.

I have no interest in "convincing" those people entrenched in the horse world that what they are doing is wrong. I will lend my strength to providing accurate scientific information and a new alternative, not fighting the old one. Those who are called will find us. If this calls to you, please email me at .

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Another day of wonder

Today I woke early to a foggy morning after yesterday's rain. Sunny wasn't even up to go on the adventure so I went by myself, taking time to explore each thing that stood out to me.

The heavy dew and rain made the grasses sparkle.

The mystery plant is continuing to climb and develop. We have three winners now who have correctly guessed what type of plant this is, but I will keep it a mystery here on the blog so we all can see her reveal herself before we name her.

The bottom of the mystery plant.

Here's a fellow I met in the road. If watching this doesn't slow you down I don't know what will. See if you can get into his space while watching this.

Another beauty.

Today was the day of Sofi's liberation. After a few weeks in the diet pen Sofi was very happy to get out. She eagerly grazed right near me...

...until I walked off...then this is what happened.

Down below, Patrik is turning to me.

A few minutes later here is the dynamic.

Whenever I don't know what to do with the horses I go back to exploring other things.

Then either I think of something else to try, or the horses come over and guide me.

Here is a flower I remember Patrik liked to eat last year. I picked it and gave it to him later as a "thank you" treat.

Meanwhile in the barn, Sophie (the black sheep) was keeping watch over Robin. Robin is very old and deaf and doesn't get up and out as quickly as the others. Sophie also keeps an eye on Kelly, the blind sheep.

Here I am graced with one of Sophie's hugs.

More diamond grasses.

I've never noticed clovers with six leaves before, two sets of three on each side of the clover flower.

Whether in the large view or small one, the pasture is alive with color. This is gold country that we live in. Apparently the gold can't stay underground anymore, it is popping out all over!

Later in the day I was doing some work with friends and we found and relocated this creature.

Here are the goats, Molly, the mother in the back with Joseph on the left and Priscilla coming up to me. After some tender scratches, I turned to leave...

...I looked back and saw they had all lined up to follow me.

The blooms of the blackberry bushes are just about ready to open.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Taking a walk

Yesterday I had an amazing experience walking out to "the rocks" from where I live. It is a short walk but one that I don't take often enough. When I went this time, I felt like I was stepping into a painting...

...the blues, yellows, and greens...

...seemed to vibrate right off the trees, bushes, grasses.

I felt transported into a storybook. Around the corner sat a swinging seat, inviting me to be still and rest...

...then I continued on...

...down the trail, laden with clover and butterflies...

...and into the woods...

...the living trees seeming to be dancing to their slow tune...

...and where they parted...well, that is something best left to be experienced in person...

On my way back, I saw the first wild roses blooming...I wish I could send the smell along with this picture.

Is there anywhere that is calling you to walk today?