Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Zen of Summer & Horses

 "Perhaps there's a quirk in the DNA that makes horse people different from everyone else, that instantly divides humanity into those who love horses and the others, who simply don't know.”

Allan J Hamilton, Zen Mind, Zen Horse: The Science & Spirituality of Working with Horses 



Zenning out in the pasture at sundown

With spring fading out and summer fading in, a new calm has come to my herd.  The grass in the pastures has slowly browned up, and their cresty necks are starting to get a little wiggle in them again, as my fear of them foundering is replaced by mild anxiety about sunburn, flies, and hydration.   

But they're calm.  They're sweet.  They're Zen.

Around here, the evenings always cool off, and when they do, the horses gather at the barn to itch each other's withers. If we walk into their turn-out, one or two or more of them will approach us to see if we want to be their itching partner.  There's something magical in that.

Yesterday, I got a 3 hour ride with Cowboy, but it was hot.  When we rode down to the river the horses saw something and went on alert.  We didn't see what surprised them until we got around the corner.  It was a half naked man swimming.  He'd left his bike on the shore and just jumped on in.  So, we let the horses drink and wade--kind of ruining the poor guy's fun.  Then, we decided that next time we ride, we're going to wear our bathing suits underneath our clothes so that we can wade into the water with the horses.  It's hard to picture how that will work, but I'll let you know.

 The Spokane River. Our horse trail back up from the river was half way down that hill on the left.

The farrier came today, and all the horses were their summer-best-selves.  Even the old ones were able to bend and hold their feet up for much longer than usual.  When they treat my farrier good, they make me proud!  My farrier is also a blacksmith and makes his own knives--layer upon layer of hand forged steel--wooden handles--gorgeous.  I want one.

Thursday, I start lessons back up with Leah. We've had this little break while I reconnected with Cowboy, and it has made her miss me, I think.  She's always one of the first to come to see me now.  And, I can detect a bit of sadness in her when I take Cowboy out rather than her, or pet Cowboy, rather than her.  I love Leah, but I haven't missed riding her while I spend time with Cowboy.  I hope that doesn't sound callous, but with her, it's still work, whereas, with Cowboy, it's like an extension of myself.

Speaking of extensions of self, now that I've been playing my guitar, I've realized I want a better one.  Every time I go to the guitar store to pick up an accessory or get new strings, I play them all, and my favorite one is the Taylor 414ce.  One reviewer said it feels like an "extension of her body."  Last week I was there playing it and my husband remarked that I'd gotten much better--my chords sounded clearer--I told him, It's not me--it's the guitar! 

A girl can dream.


14 comments:

  1. Yep! A girl can dream :-) Try out a 12 string one day ~ just for fun. But forewarning ~ they are addicting! Yep.
    The Spokane River is just beautiful. A swim/wide would be awesome! Have a great time!!

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    1. Ha! I can barely handle 6 strings! But I'll do that someday. I'd also like to try out a banjo and an electric guitar!

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  2. I understand about not missing riding Leah and I don't think it is callous. I still miss riding Jackson -- after four years of not being able to -- and rarely miss riding Lucy. I can get to a place of harmony with Lucy but Jackson is the one who felt like an extension of myself. I hear you and completely understand.

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    1. Thanks, Annette. I wish you were still able to ride Jackson. Our time is short with our heart horses, which is another reason I hate to take time away from Cowboy.

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  3. That's how I feel about riding Beamer- riding him is like putting on a familiar garment, everything fits and is perfect. Any other horse is work.
    Have you ever played a Martin guitar? I love their sound. Like I love the sound of a Fender Telecaster electric guitar over all the others. I wish I could play- I've tried but I'm no good.

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    1. Yep, I have tried out a few Martins--probably not enough--they are well loved. They were also spendier than the Taylor 414ce. I'll have to check out the Fender Telecaster when I go electric. It's just my husband and me nowadays, so I can play as loud as I want! I'm not that good either, but I don't care. You should start up again. You Tube has so many great tutorial videos for free. I was learning how to play Country Boy Can Survive today. It's great.

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  4. We used to swim our racehorses in the ocean every summer - what a cherished memory. Those days, & the ocean, are far away now. *sigh*

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    1. My horse would have a heart attack and die if he saw the ocean. It's water crossing on steroids.

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  5. Oh my gosh, I love this post! That quote, so true. You kinda had me gettin' a little teary-eyed at first and then I just started smiling and nodding. There really is a summer zen thing with the horses and it's awesome! Your ride sounds perfect, except for the hot part. Yes go swimming with the horses, or wading at least, so great! I know exactly what you are saying about Leah, you have to spend lots of time to get what you have with Cowboy, and even then, some are just more special. I SO want to play the guitar! I used to play some piano, but the portability and more intimacy of the guitar is wonderful. When you get your new guitar, sell your old one to me. :) Had a great, great lesson on Eags last night and clinic is tomorrow. So excited! Happy summer! Wonderful post!

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    1. Can't wait to hear about the clinic!! Good luck! I'm sure it will be a lot of fun.

      I like the guitar for the same reason--it's portable--and it does get me to sing since I can't play the melody. I've played the piano for years and never had the desire to sing and play even when my instructor told me it would help my practice. Now that my kids are grown, I need hobbies--the guitar has been good for that.

      Looking forward to some updates!

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  6. Oh my gosh, I love this post! That quote, so true. You kinda had me gettin' a little teary-eyed at first and then I just started smiling and nodding. There really is a summer zen thing with the horses and it's awesome! Your ride sounds perfect, except for the hot part. Yes go swimming with the horses, or wading at least, so great! I know exactly what you are saying about Leah, you have to spend lots of time to get what you have with Cowboy, and even then, some are just more special. I SO want to play the guitar! I used to play some piano, but the portability and more intimacy of the guitar is wonderful. When you get your new guitar, sell your old one to me. :) Had a great, great lesson on Eags last night and clinic is tomorrow. So excited! Happy summer! Wonderful post!

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  7. There's nothing like a beautiful summer day for a trail ride. You should take Cowboy swimming it would be fun. We had a horse years ago named Lifeguard (because his nose would burn so we put zinc cream on it like the lifeguards used to wear). A gorgeous paint who my daughter would take swimming in the Long Island Sound. It wasn't too far from where we boarded. She would wear shorts and use a bareback pad. He loved it and one day swam up to a rowboat and purposely splashed the people in it. She had so much fun with him.

    I had a guitar once but couldn't play it well. My son is an accomplished musician and played in a band for many years. Whether it was electric, acoustic, twelve string or bass. It all sounded great. I should try it again one of these days. I do have a birthday coming up in July maybe I'll ask for a guitar...

    Enjoy your time with Cowboy and don't feel bad about not riding Leah. There's plenty of time for that to come. I understand completely, I loved riding Dusty because she was fun and easy. Blue on the other hand is a lot of work and sometimes I just don't feel like dealing with his antics. I hope someday he and I will have fun together too but it's something we'll both have to work on. He's older and just not into being ridden anymore.

    Have a great weekend!

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    1. Wow, what a great swimming story! I don't think we'll be doing that. ;) Wading is more like it. I hope you do take up the guitar again. It's a great way to unwind and get to a happy place. I'm heading out for my Leah lesson in a bit here. I'll let you know it goes. Hope you have a great 4th weekend!!

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