Things I’m Thinking About #1

Things I’m thinking about:

1. At the moment, the entirety of our herd is grazing the front paddock. This feels like a delicious and wholly visible luxury. The paddock has dried off enough that it’s forming standing hay, the green underneath sufficiently dried to the point that I’m no longer bobbing my head up and down considering its sweetness every time I see them nibbling at the shoots.

The luxury exists in their immediacy to my senses. I no longer have to hike many minutes up the farm. I can glance them, catch them in my eyesight as I wander from the house up to my office; watch their arguments, and games and intergenerational politics as I make a cup of tea. I can hear them snort as they make their way around, notice the moments when they stand just taking in the view.

The paddock that they’re in is a big one. The bottom edge borders the tidal estuary, which, with enough footsteps forward, flows out to the Pacific. It rises to the foothills of our house, which itself rests at the bottom of the old volcano, Mopanui. Embraced by the arms of fire, cooled by the curtains of the sea.

I love to see their space wandering, when they have the means to do so. They graze where the sunlight first hits in the morning, and then rest an hour or so later at the very top, just dozing, dreaming. Once awake, they venture to the farthest reaches of the paddock, winding their way from left to right depending on the timings of the day.

I love to notice their time keeping. That when the space allows, they have habits and routines that maintain order and spatial relationships in their day.

There’s not a lot that is random, when we are present to witness their daily living for more than a snapshot, more than a postcard amount of time.

2. Friendships. Dee and Nadia have a deep and solid friendship. Two big horses who would exist in harmony in a very confined space, should the circumstances call for it. A few weeks back, Nadia was kicked (the likely suspect was Saffy we all think), and I took her out and put her in a different paddock so she could rest without being moved around.

The thing was what was good for her leg was misery for her mind. She was heart sore for the company of her herd, and things went from worse to worse. Allergies sprang back up that had been absent for years. She kicked out at the fence. The horse that I most trust to be handled by anyone was fractious and unhappy.

I thought to myself, how health and healing is such a balance. That we can get hyper focused on one area, like nutrition, or in this case, the healing of a leg, and we lose something else in return. Sometimes, it’s absolutely necessary for the greater good but often it is not. We can underestimate the emotional lives of our horses in our quest to ‘manage something’ or ‘get it right’, underestimate the presence of their friends, and the impact this has on their wellbeing.

So, I surrendered, in what I think was the best possible way. I decided happiness was the ingredient needed to make her feel better. And that if I got it wrong, and did the wrong thing for her leg, I would at least have a horse who was balanced on her insides and whose heart could find some peace.

Incidentally, her leg is looking great.

3. The other night, I went to check the water in the paddock, and Saffy came over to hang out with me. She was so engaged and wanting to be present that it felt really wrong to leave. And so, I didn’t. Instead, I stayed with Saffy on the hill, and we watched the world go by.

From the position we were standing, I saw an angle of the view that I hadn’t seen before. From where I stood, the mountain of Mopanui was framed by the moving of the clouds in a way that made the entire skyline look like the doming on the earth.

Saffy had brought me to a position where it felt like we were watching the edge of the universe together, as the weather had so framed it in that moment.

And who’s to say we weren’t. Horses have always taken people to the edges of the world, and sometimes further.


❤️ Jane

This photo is from two days ago when I decided the weather was so lovely and the horses so close that I dragged my chair and computer to the edges of the paddock. Merc found this to be a fascination.