Let’s see what the horses do

28 March 2022

No two walks with the horses are the same. What changed the apparent routine when we brought them to their field yesterday was Jenna staying very far behind in the beginning. During the cold and humid days her arthrosis bothered her a lot more, and it hasn’t really improved with the higher temperatures. She was now so far behind we wondered if she would be able at all to come the distance to the day field.

My first default reaction is always to look for a solution: What can I do? How can I solve this? But I very much prefer my second reaction which has become: let’s see how the horses respond and take it from there. Will Jenna catch up? Will the others continue to the field without her? This way the original plan is let go of, all kinds of new scenario’s open up and in the end we might also turn around and go back. So we did nothing and stayed with the other five horses where they were.

For the next quarter of an hour the five stayed put, grazing, and we did not see Jenna approaching. Now what? We could not stay there all morning. I walked back to Jenna where she was grazing on her own and led her slowly in the direction of the others, giving her time to find her step. I told her: “I will unclip your lead rope once we’re with the others, and then we’ll see from there. We won’t do anything that makes any of you uncomfortable.” Jenna touched my hand with her nose and I heard “you can also unclip my rope here”. So that’s what I did and I continued alone towards the others. We proceeded slowly, keeping all the options open. We went through a narrow passage into the next grove, and watched the horses graze while slowly walking further. They all seemed at ease. Did they know where Jenna was and if she was coming? They have their own ways of communicating, of knowing where the others are. A kind of shared energy field in which information is spread. And I’m also sure they continuously communicate with us, with body language, with their eyes, and through this energy field. To me this is the most fascinating part of living with horses, learning to tune in to the energy field where communication takes place. Nature’s own world wide wireless. I very rarely hear words, like what Jenna said earlier. Mostly I get an inspiration, I feel something happening, or I just suddenly know something.

After a while we heard Jenna whinny. She was close by. Some of the others responded and there she appeared. Her step looked much more easy and light as she joined the rest of the herd. Often it is this way, that she needs some time to warm up. We watched her as she grazed with the others and slowly she took the lead, walking in front further towards the day field. We crossed the olive groves on the hill, where the younger horses love to run and play, kicking and jumping. I was so pleased we had made it so far, it is such a joy to see them having such a happy time. Down on the beach Jenna walked almost normally again, she was eager to continue to the fresh greens at the end. From there it is only a short distance to the day field, where we left the horses grazing contently.

Another thing I have learned during these walks is being open to things not going as planned. Not just accepting them because they will happen anyway, but really welcoming them. When we’re stressed and in a hurry, it can be very frustrating if something doesn’t go the way I planned and I have to take care not to just push forward into what I want to happen. Doing that may accomplish what I had in mind, but also leaves me with a sad and lonely feeling. I have not only pushed myself, but others as well. Allowing things to be as they are, a walk taking much more time or not being completed at all – it means I have been in connection with the horse-human herd as it is and what it needs at that moment. That is far more fulfilling.

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