Friday, January 29, 2010

joining the herd mind/getting ready for the snow

There's a more than good chance we'll be getting significant snow tonight and tomorrow, so before I launch out to get things set up (stalls stocked with shavings, water troughs clean and full, horses groomed, groceries, feed store - yikes, I have to do all THAT today?) I wanted to take a few minutes and write about a magical experience I had yesterday afternoon.

It was 60 degrees out, gorgeous skies, really peaceful afternoon. After Salina's morning of bucking and trotting, and her afternoon arena walking with me, I moved her, along with the donkeys, to the front field by themselves so she wouldn't overdo it, and the geldings were in back.

I wandered back to see the boys, and had a sudden impulse to lie flat on the ground so I could see the sky from that angle. The moment I stretched out flat, all three heads were pointed in my direction. Keil Bay and Apache Moon stood where they were, but Cody walked over to check me out.

It reminded me of what an important job he has. Whenever anything scary happens, Cody moves out front to assess the situation. Generally the pony will move up a few yards from Keil Bay. That's exactly what happened. Cody came right up to me, and then spooked a little bit, as if he were shocked to see me lying down. The pony came about halfway between me and Keil.

It was clear Cody was concerned, so I sat up. He immediately relaxed and began to graze right in front of me. The pony went back to grazing and Keil Bay approached and began to graze just behind Cody.

Although the sky was beautiful from a reclined position, I forgot about it. I had slipped into herd mind. Without really thinking about what I was doing, I stood up. Immediately, Keil Bay came to stand beside me, and Cody took a step away, to give space to Keil. The pony stayed where he was.

Keil Bay put his head into my hands for a moment, and then, again without thinking, I moved. As I moved, I realized I was in sync with the herd. We all took the same number of steps, in the same direction. Our heads all went to the front field, to see Salina and the donkeys, then returned to our own space.

I suddenly smelled something and Keil Bay and I lifted our heads together and both took simultaneous deep breaths, trying to figure out what it was. We lowered our heads at the same moment, then took more steps in the direction of the gate.

It lasted about two minutes. But during that brief time, I was not me making conscious decisions to move and breathe and look. I was one of the herd, doing what they do, as one entity. It was a wonderful experience.

14 comments:

Grey Horse Matters said...

It does seem sort of magical to experience being part of the herd if only for a few moments in time. It will make a nice memory for you.

I'm glad to hear you had beautiful blue skies and warm weather yesterday. Hope the snow is not too bad when it comes.We had it all day yesterday with howling winds. Only 3-4 inches though so not bad at all.

billie said...

I guess I must be a total geek, b/c it was completely magical for me! :)

Grey Horse Matters said...

I don't think you're total geek at all! You had a wonderful time with the herd and it was magical for you and that's all that really counts.

Kate said...

That is wonderful - so magical and touching! Thanks for writing about it!

billie said...

Thanks, Arlene. I was just doing Salina's walking with her, much later than usual, b/c we got shavings in late in the day and I had to get stalls stocked up!

It was dark, but we walked our usual patterns in the arena, with the arena light and the night sounds. Redford followed, Dickens sat in the middle and supervised, and I got completely caught up in Salina's lovely, relaxed, one-two-three-four foot-falls.

I actually thought - oh no - more geekness to write about!

It's such a relief to have her walking with her old swing.

billie said...

Thank you, Kate. I dropped by your wonderful blog and tried to leave a comment, but for some reason, that particular Blogger comment format never works for me. I don't know if I'm doing something wrong or not - but I've encountered it before and when the comment format was changed, I was able to comment as usual.

I'll say it here: what a wonderful evening to discover a blog about horses that has been going for a year! With snow on the way I'll be back over to do some reading in your archives!

Jenn said...

Isn't it amazing what happens when we let our worries go and live in the moment, even if for just a moment or two?

I imagine that's exactly what the horses feel like all the time because I honestly believe they have mastered living in the moment. What a delightful memory, and an extraordinary experience.

billie said...

Jenn, I spend hours a day with my horses and donkeys, but I'm not sure I've ever felt like I was in their moment with them - you're right, I think - they have so much to teach us.

Matthew said...

Being the herd -- amazing stuff Billie. . .

billie said...

I agree!

Michelle said...

Wow, that was intense Billie! I got chills just reading it. What an amazing experience to be a part of. How did you fare with the weather?

billie said...

Michelle, it was hard to capture the intensity in words, so I'm happy to read that it came through for you.

We ended up getting about 3.5 inches, and because it's been below freezing since it snowed, it's all still here. Today we're up to 48, so should begin to see significant melting. And they're saying tomorrow we'll be up to 42 but with RAIN. Which will finish it off quickly, but my gosh, the thought of all the melted snow PLUS the additional rain is making me think of MUD MUD MUD!

Horses and donkeys have had some fun, though, and the kids enjoyed it!

horseadventures said...

I absolutely loved this description of your experience, and also that you were able to be aware of it, and stay tuned in with them. Hope you survive the mud - we won't have that for a month or two (hopefully). :)

billie said...

It was a good few minutes, Wendy - and we are surviving the mud - not much choice except to slog on through!