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.