Ears and trees. As a rule. To some it’s only just that. For me, it’s coming around a corner, seeing a breathtaking panorama of greens, shot with stark gray, white, black. Bay curly black tipped ears, sorrel, palomino and black, my constructs are living breathing frames of reference. I breathe deep, settle in my saddle, pull out my phone and try to capture some of that magick in a snapshot of time and place.
It’s offering softness to hack horses, tripping down yet another hour long trail ride in a day full of them. Going deeper in what “not give them opportunities to pull on me” means. Learning again that a soft feel is not collection, though it certainly is a precursor. Layers and levels. Shaking my head at how much I didn’t know when I thought I knew so very much and how much there is to learn from here that I have no way of knowing . . . yet.
People come to our ranch who have never actually even touched a real horse before, have no idea of the manner of beast they are stepping astride. It is my gift to try to help them realize, my burden to try to keep them alive for their hour of discovery, and hope they come back and try it again.
There is a solid reverence to be found appreciating the grace and beauty of the natural world, gifts that are still unspoiled in places and within reach. I have not lost my wonder that a horse will consent to not only carry a person about but even partner up and maybe have some fun doing it.
I confront fears, chase demons, find joy. Make mistakes, nearly tragic, and burst lightbulbs of discovery. I grin at trees because I am growing too. I get it. Mitakuye oyasin. We are all related and I am blessed when I can remember that.
All this stuff is horsemanship, and it’s life. I search for softness, effectiveness, in my marriage, my job, family and friendships. I seek to behave with integrity, can’t be one person at the barn and someone else, elsewhere.
When the rocks rattle pretty loud between my ears, and I am thinking there will be always times that happens, there are ways to find solace. I am not alone on this journey and that might be the very best part of it all. Being one among my fellows allows me to be helpful when able and ask for help when needed. There’s a journey there, folks.
My buddy, Royal, is on his way back to his peace of mind as well. Thanks to my friend, Colleen Parmenter Hamer, who has made it her life’s work to get good with these things, he steps into a trailer with the same drama and verve that he does everything else in life, then . . . stands calmly and waits. The changes made during that process though were not about getting him in a trailer.
They were about getting him ready . . . to get in a trailer, yah sure, but to be good about his life again. His panic had come with him, from that wreck. That stuff shakes a horse up pretty bad and don’t let anyone tell you it doesn’t. Takes some good therapy to help them recover, call it what you want, that’s what I saw . . . transition from fear, worry and doubt to trust, belief and willingness.
Looking forward to riding with Peter again in September. Smiling at Kristine’s “Woohooo BIG CHANGES!” We have not met face to face but I know what she’s talking about and am ready for the next wave . . .
Some photos taken by me, you can guess which ones! Others are credited to Christine Shenefield, Troy Shenefield and Karen Johnson.