Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tales from the meadow

It feels a little bit like Groundhog day- finding myself alone with two horses, and no one around. Again.
Due to complicated circumstances my mare and my foal ended up in a meadow, just the two of them, far away from other horses. Both came from solid herds, and being alone in the big place has turned them into quite rstless beings. Both have lost their peace, I can see it in their eyes.
People call me mad and make fun about me, but I do understand the worries of these two creatures. The mare misses a mare-friend, instead of having this, she is put into responsibility for the young one, and although being her son, he is not her friend, that's obvious. For her the situation is not appropriate, as she used to be a lady and taught me how to treat a lady.

He is just an easy young horse with a playful mind – and no friend to play with. Good for him, that life outside of his meadow is extremely exciting, presenting free-running horses from the horse-rentals, huge lorries, or seven bicycles in a row. Like a policeman he spends many hours on one of the mounds, just watching.
So I had to give up riding, as the little one can't stay alone. The mare is getting fat, stiff and stubborn – and also very strong, as she has to run with him, whenever he thinks, something at the horizon needs to be examined – in high speed of course. I never saw my horses run so much like in this place. It's breathtaking and beautiful.

As he is too small for riding, although four years old, I started to work with him. Just some minutes every day, with breaks, sometimes more challenge, next day almost nothing, having in mind that his ability to concentrate is only short and needs to be built up gently. And amazingly the mare is helping. She is always by my side, communicating by ears with us, and in fact she is quite a hold in difficult situations, like staying calmly beside us, when he doesn't know what to do or gets nervous (and me getting unsecure of what to do next). I have never trained a horse before.

Together we taught him to walk on halter and rope, walk with us on long walks over this huge meadow, walk on both sides of me, and finally walk alone with me, away from her. His open-mindedness and willingness to say 'yes!' is a precious gift, as my experience with mare and men were rather characterized by constant 'no' and me getting nervous and restless on finding solutions.
The young one and me, we had a strong connection right from the start. I was the last one he saw when they left him alone in a dark stable over night, before he could be brought to a foal herd. He was given to me as a birthday present half a year later, and he remembered me. And as he is close to my heart, his giver will always be. In the following years we lived close to each other, we met daily, and on countless occasions he would lie down next to me, like I was part of his herd.
Trust never dies, if you don't kill it.

He is curious and ready to be a grown-up (at least sometimes ;-) ), he accepts perfumed mane-spray and endless grooming, he endures stinking anti-fly-spray, while the mare immediately leaves, when she catches sight of any of the bottles in my hand. He even tried to follow me into the scary stable (that is too narrow for a horse to turn around) – she refuses, no chance up to now to get her inside in order to take off her irons or even feed her there.
So everything we do has to take place outside and in freedom, with no facility to tie and bind a horse.
Trust never dies, if you don't kill it.

I feel a bit like 200 years ago, living in a remote valley, being forced to find single-person-solutions. You have read hundreds of horsemanship books, only now you know what counts, and how many pages are made of western-european luxury.
In the end the horse is your teacher – it will tell you, where you went wrong and where you have to work on yourself to be convincing enough to lead them through situations that they estimate unsafe.
I am far from that point – but at least I know my goal.

People asked me why I was not selling these horses.
You don't sell your family.

1 comment:

  1. I loved reading your post and always enjoy reading from your life in Iceland although I don't look here very often.
    Btw: same here, searching for similar single person solutions in old narrow Germany.