I thought I would share a memory which came back to me recently about my journey with the horses which contributed towards how we support the herd today....
The recent stormy and windy weather reminded me of a time years ago when I was lying in bed in the early hours of the morning being kept awake by a raging storm outside. I was aware I was feeling anxious because the horses were out in the field and I was concerned about them being caught up in the storm.
I was still stabling the horses some of the time at this point but had decided to let them stay out as the weather seemed good.
Lying there my anxiety increased so eventually I decided to do something about it. I put my rain coat on over my pajamas and went out to find the horses with the intent to bring them into the stables from the field. It was pouring with rain and the wind was really strong. When I got to the gate of the field they were close by but positioned huddled together with their bottoms facing in the direction of the wind and rain. I opened the gate so they could walk through and stood there calling them but they didn’t move, I’m not even sure they could hear me in the wind it was so strong…so I walked over to them. They all had their heads down and seemed to be in a trance like state, I was saying ‘come on’ but no one moved or acknowledged me and I hadn’t brought a head collar with me to lead them in as I assumed they would be pacing at the gate ready for me to appear and let them in.
I caught myself in this moment as I realised they seemed ok, they were calm, they had gone inwards in themselves to cope and were using their bodies to brace against the weather. As I noticed how they were coping I naturally started to reposition myself so I was stood with my back to the weather also, I felt a calmness come over me after a short while and then found myself just standing with them in the storm too.
I was out there with them for over half an hour and in that time I realised, whilst standing with them, how they were coping. When I became present in that moment and stopped all the worrying I just became a part of the environment and the herd and literally just rode the weather like they were. The weather wasn’t as bad as I had thought it would be from inside my bedroom once I got out there and faced it.
This insight allowed me to recognise that as long as the horses have access to shelter, they are well equipped to handle the weather and actually bringing them into their stables may have upset them more, at least out in the open they could run away from threat or reposition themselves according to how the weather was changing. In a stable, should the weather decide to dismantle parts of it the horse is trapped….
Over time my views changed as I asked myself why I was stabling the horses. My realisation that horses can cope with all types of weather led to me seeking the best environment I could for them, an environment that would stimulate them and allow them to work with nature as much as possible within domestication.
These days I love to watch where the herd choose to go depending on the weather. We are fortunate to have quite a large area for them to roam in and they have access to good natural shelter.
It can be howling a gale outside but I know I will always find them in an area where there is the most shelter from how the weather is behaving that day. Often they find little pockets of calm amongst a wild storm. To watch how they figure this out and know what they need confirms to me they are more than capable of looking after themselves when given the opportunity to do so and have the right environment to support them.
We can learn so much from this in regards to ourselves and how we cope with things in life. Nature has the answers it just depends how much we are trying to manipulate it as to whether we can find our natural answers.