Tuesday, February 17, 2009

JUST BrEathe

On Monday, Paint Girl and I were supposed to run some errands, but she was feeling under the weather. This ended up being a good thing for my horse and me, as there was no rush around and I was able to go out and just hang out with my horse before I left.

I ventured out around 10:30. The morning was cold, the sky blue and the sun shining from the south.
My Boy was out in the back snacking on his breakfast scraps when I entered the pasture. I called hello to him, then headed towards his run-in shed to give it a pickin'. Luckily, he's been keeping a pretty clean home front these days.

I then went to pick out around "his tree" afterward. He stands there a lot, and therefore, he poops there a lot. I don't like him standing in his poo.

He was very interested in what I was up to and walked down to the tree from the back of the pasture.

For a while, I just stood there and watched him, letting him wonder. He finally gave up and turned away to stand in the warm sun. I finished my cleaning and put away the apple picker.

I spotted the perfect hang-out spot. One of the big exposed roots of his tree.

I headed over and took a seat.

It was such a nice morning.

You don't realize how much you absorb by just stopping. Stopping all that you are doing. Instead, using your senses and just taking in the environment around you.

I could see the soft breeze blowing his tail.

And although this picture doesn't show it like I saw it, his coat glimmered copper and those long winter hairs were shimmying in the breeze, too.

I could smell his horse breathe. I could hear it, both his breathing and his lip-smacking. I could touch his velvety nose.

There were moments when he seemed to doze off.

Then, his head would suddenly jerk towards the woods, like he had heard or was watching something.

That prey animal instinct kicked in. Always on guard, he was looking out for himself and the mares next door.

But I'd like to think he was guarding over me, too.

I sat there for a long time. I took a lot of pictures. It was hard to resist the blue sky and the interesting perspectives.

I am not usually practically under my horse. I felt safe against the tree. I really wonder what was going through his head. He probably could not figure out why I was there.

At one point, I got up to rub him a bit. I rubbed his neck and whither and shoulders.

Then I went and sat back down. And he immediately turned around towards me, which I thought was sweet. Left him wanting more!

It was a good experience to just BE.

I am usually so concerned about working with my horse. Making sure that he is caught. That he gets groomed. That his hooves are picked. That he gets exercised. This was the first time I have intentionally just "hung out." I completely tried to just be in the moment. To stop thinking about all the things I needed to do later that day or the next day or next week.

It was really nice.

I think I will try to do it more often.


  1. Getting caught up in all the crap in our life, it is hard sometimes to sit back and smell the roses! Glad you enjoyed your day PG. I do try to hang out with my guy, but again I feel I'm rushing too. Good post. Makes me think!

  2. I am glad you had this time today. A momentary Peace on Earth.

  3. What a perfect morning! It is so nice to just be with your horses I did that a lot as a kid and wish I had time to do it more often now.

  4. I have sooooo much more time to do that here in the desert than the PNW! It is a 1/2 hour or more drive there, here I can be with Jesse in less than 15 minutes....even with my stop at Starbucks!
    I love it most when Jesse tries to get me to "let him out" or to show me alll the things in his stall. When we fist got him... I had to be careful when I was in his satll at dinner time. He would pin his ears and turn at me. My trainer told me that Jesse has to be ok with any thing I need to do with him...or his food! Over the years he has gained trust that, I do not want to eat his food, I do not want to drink his water, but I may decide to take him away from both! He is OK with that!
    So glad you ahd this time with "Your Boy"!

  5. awwwww what a great day, thanks for sharing that! It's nice to just stop and smell the coffee sometimes, or in this case the equine!

  6. Sometimes just to "BE" is such a wonderful thing with your horse. Just hanging out with your horse is a good thing. No pressure on them to work. Just hang out and do what they do best, be lazy!

    So a lazy day in the sun, just hangin, is a good thing. Do this more often, and he will become your hang out buddy! LOL

    Ironically I did the same thing with my Ladies today! It was good!

  7. I love just hanging out with Jack. Sometimes I take out a chair and a book, Jack loves a good mystery story LOL

  8. Good for you- those are the very best days of all, aren't they? I love the photos, I can see the shine on his coat- he is a beautiful boy!

  9. A cool crisp sunny blue sky day? Nothing beats just sittin' back and takin' it all in! Seems as both of you were enjoying the moments.

  10. So nice you guys had such a good time together! Sometimes we just need to take a break and ENJOY our horses. Instead of finding something to focus on or work towards.

  11. Since I am a total camera idiot, please tell me how you take pix of yourself? Like in the arena? Where are you putting the camera and how do you know you are in view of the camera? ok you don't have to answer me here, tell me next time I see you.
    Glad you had a good day with your boy. I feel bad we couldn't go shopping like we planned. Unfortunately the sickness won the fight this time.

  12. It is moments like you just spent with him that will deal with his hard-to-catch routine. He will come to you if he is curious as to why you are ignoring him. Just like a man. tee hee

  13. Just "being with" our horses is a wonderful way to observe them, and bond with them when we're not "doing" something. Your boy is very lucky to have you!

  14. Honestly, to me, those are the BEST times. No pressure, no guilt about what you "should" be doing. To me, there is no greater compliment than when we're just hanging out, and one or both horses lies down beside me. Bliss.

  15. I could hear my heartrate slowing and breaths coming more deeply as I read that... like yoga for your eyes!!!

    Loved this post - and wishing I had the time to do more of this exact thing. Anyone up for some babysitting??


  16. I love just hanging with the horses. It's very peaceful and there's absolutely no pressure to do anything other than to "be". You may find that he is more willing to be caught if you spend more time just hanging with him.

  17. Love those quiet communing moments. They come sporadically like little treasures.

  18. Those are really the best times -- just being around the animals and enjoying the outside. All of us should make more time for that. Reading this made me want to go home right now and be near my horse. But I have to work to make money to afford to keep here, so here I sit. Thanks for sharing.

  19. {Leah}~ My Boy had been laying down in this spot before I got out there, I saw it from the house. I was hoping he'd go and lie down again while I was there, but I knew he just wouldn't feel comfortable doing that. He's the kind of horse that if you even come near his pasture while he's laying down, he's up on his feet.

    {CTG Ponies}~ That is my hope, that days where we just hang and there is no catching or exercise, it changes the pressure of always being caught. And that it associates me with some positive things! ;)

  20. I do that a lot. One cold starry night I laid in the round bale feeder and all my colts were circled around me eating hay and fiddling with my boot strings and hair.

    Recently I lost a good friend to a combination of pneumonia and heart attack. When I got the news that he had passed, I went to the barn and the two horses that I've had the longest came in and comforted me. They are usually in mid-hierchy of the herd, but they wouldn't let anyone else enter the barn while I sat by a post and cried. They stood over me and would nuzzle my face now and then. They would breathe into my hair. And once and a while they would nudge me to see if I was alive I guess.

    Those are the moments I cherish. Those are the moments I know that when I'm "training" I must also be doing something else right.

  21. Oh PG, I'm so glad you did this!! Those times can be so very magical! I love doing this very thing with my horses. Like you said, you just become "one" with them and become part of their herd and soon they accept you as one of them and you and they can just BE. If you do this more often, you'll find that your horse will become so much more accepting of you and less suspicious that everytime you approach them - you're going to get them. Think about it - that would get old wouldn't it? Good for you and good for My Boy!! Soak up some sun and relax!!

  22. I used to do stuff like that when I was little, but it's been quite a while! My horse would definitely think I was a weirdo.

  23. That is such a wonderful way to spend your horse time! I don't get enough of it either now that I'm a grownup/ mother/ wife etc.

    but, I spent most of my childhood like that!

    It really is a good idea to not only leave your horse wanting more, but take the pressure off of both of you. Great post.

  24. A few posts ago when you were going on about him not being caught. Doing what you did here is exactly what I meant. Just hanging with them can do more for your relationship than any clinician, book, video or equipment could ever. They seem to just be interested in getting to know you and being able to respectfully invade your space and sniff you and see what you are all about.
    I find it funny when I work with a new horse I intentionally never let them invade my space. I don't want to be trampled and they have to know where my hula hoop is. But when I invite them into my space by just hanging out in their area (stall, pasture etc) I learn the most about them by the way they approach me and investigate what I am about. It seems to make them want to come back for more. Plus it's something you can do if you only have 5-10 minutes to spend with them. I do it several times a week with my guys/girls.

  25. You're blog is looking good.

    Every now and then I stop and just listen. Silence. It's amazing all the noise just walking around makes. Just our breathing makes.


  26. I love this post! :)
    Sometimes it is nice to just "be," isn't it??

  27. {Sydney}~ the great thing about hanging out with My Boy this way is that he is not a "pushy" horse. He was fine with me being in his space, but he is also very independent. So I didn't feel like he was going to rub on me, nudge or nip me for treats, or inappropriately get into my "hula hoop" of space. By the way, I really liked that hoop concept, kind of like we tell the kids at school: pretend there is a bubble around you and that is "your space." I wonder what it would be like to try this with a more "in your pocket" horse personality?

  28. I did that today after my ride and enjoyed it so much! One of my favorite things to do! I must have looked just a little too relaxed tho', cause I was leaning against a tree with my eyes slightly closed when I felt a giant sprinkling of tree bark raining down into my hair. Jackson was picking at the tree above me. Since he doesn't normally bother with trees I am quite sure he was trying to get my attention! It worked!

  29. That was so beautiful! I love those little moments with animals and nature - not to talk about the soothing effect of such a bright blue sky!

    Warm greetings from Africa,

  30. (^_^)(^_^)(^_^)(^_^)Ride off into the sunset at the........ HorseMingle.com ................. site for horse people of all fashions. Find your dreamdate, riding partner, life partner, or just that special friend to talk shop with. You can be sure to find them with us. (^_^)(^_^)(^_^)(^_^)

  31. It's good for both your soul and My Boy's. What if you just started hanging out like this for the first five or ten minutes every time you are with him? Like a little warm-up meditation.

  32. It's so nice just to spend time with your horse. I love that he is "coming" to you wanting more rubs!! Maybe that is what he needs to get better at catching. Some scratches and then walk away!! Hee hee!! You be the tease, not him!!

    And on the post before, I love the log dragging. I need to do that with my horse. What a great idea.

  33. Love your blog!!! I am a natural horsemanship follower for the past nine years...i cant imagine being with horses any other way!

  34. Yay! I knew you'd enjoy yourself if you'd just hang out with your My Boy, with no agendas....just living the moment.
    This is the very best thing for the both of you. Of course, he is learning that just because PG is in his space doesn't mean that PG wants something from him. This is marvelous!

    Way to go, PG!! I just know that these special quiet times with your handsome pony will help smooth some of the issues you've been having, too.

    You took some beautiful photos. Some that I'm sure you will treasure forever. :)


  35. This post was just lovely. I can so relate, and how about the peace you get filled with just being with them? Amazing. I believe there are lots of kindred spirits here on posting comments on your blog. I loved the way you wrote and posted pictures like this. Thanks for sharing this moment.


I love hearing from my readers!! I truly enjoy all of your feedback, advice, helpful tips, and stories. You all make me laugh and I learn so much from you, too. I will try to post replies to your comments as often as I can.

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