“The nature of the horse remains unchanged, whether it carries the saddle of the prince, or whether it draws the cart of the wagoner. The noble ones accept the yoke, they serve, but will never be slaves, for to themselves they can never be traitors.”
–H.H. Isenbart, The Kingdom of the Horse
Coming across this image the other day I was struck by two things. One, the green grass that is too short lived here, and two, the body language of the foal, which matches the Olympic athletes currently competing in Rio. The unfocused eye, the head tilt, the challenger-ear position, the balance and propulsion, all speak to the innate ability of a horse’s grace and quality of courage and energy, just like the Olympic athletes when in their “zone”. (Accept, of course, humans don’t display the challenger-ear position, a phrase I totally made up, by the way.)
The open, interested expressions on these horse’s faces end my day with validation. It is a boost, indeed, when these independent souls greet my presence with curiosity, and initiate inspection. The horses will gather near and around me, but cannot be touched. Our interaction is voluntary and the horses are often amiable and interested. They take turns inspecting and interpreting me, according to pecking order, and strength of disposition. One by one, if they are inspired, they will approach and sniff and stand near. Some are more willing and accepting of a person than others.
” … This is the age you are broken
Or turned into gold.
This is the age you are broken or turned into gold.”
–Antonia Michaelis, The Storyteller
I can think of moments spent observing horse behavior that have been revelatory and memorable, it is, however, moments as simple as this that ground me. To be observed with such amiable interest, to become a temporary figure of interest to another creature, instills harmony and respect that you carry forward with you as you move through your days.
“The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature
Disrupt, interfere, impede. This is what she does.
“The fact that the lower animals are excited by the same emotions as ourselves is so well established, that it will not be necessary to weary the reader by many details. Terror acts in the same manner on them as on us, causing the muscles to tremble, the heart to palpitate, the sphincters to be relaxed, and the hair to stand on end. Suspicion, the offspring of fear, is eminently characteristic of most wild animals. Courage and timidity are extremely variable qualities in the individuals of the same species, as is plainly seen in our dogs. Some dogs and horses are ill-tempered, and easily turn sulky; others are good-tempered; and these qualities are certainly inherited … ” – Charles Darwin, On the Origin of the Species
A new mother and her foal make a game of browsing together on spent oat tops. The afternoon light is steeped in the warming hue caused by smokey air from a nearby wildfire.
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A lone colt wanders through a late day meadow turned glittery and golden on this, the longest day of the year. Summer solstice is not rare and a full moon is even less rare, but the two together, on the same day, happens once in a lifetime. This very day, we not only get the Summer Solstice, but a full moon as well. This has not happened in about 70 years. The longest day of the year will transition into a night sky illuminated by a full moon crossing low in the sky.The Strawberry Moon, as it’s called, marks the ultimate strawberry harvest time; also called the Golden Moon for the amber tint caused by the thick, low atmosphere it is viewed through.
Kids will be kids, even horse-kids. This little guy romped about merrily; he was caught up in his own little game and giving it his all. It is always a highlight to watch the foals test their skills and courage. The green grass has long since disappeared and the spring foals are burly and rough now so it’s nice the see a cute “baby picture”.
“That night he dreamt of horses in a field on a high plain where the spring rains had brought up the grass and the wildflowers out of the ground and the flowers ran all blue and yellow far as the eye could see and in the dream he was among the horses running and in the dream he himself could run with the horses and they coursed the young mares and fillies over the plain where their rich bay and their rich chestnut colors shone in the sun and the young colts ran with their dams and trampled down the flowers in a haze of pollen that hung in the sun like powdered gold …”
– Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses