This morning I awoke to the grey light of a wet sky. The clouds had gently sprinkled their moisture during the night so that everything smelt fresh and alive – one of my favourite smells.
As I walked to see the horses I notice how bright green the leaves are on the big old spreading blackwood tree and how the branches hang much lower with the weight of the water they now hold.
I see all the droplets clinging to the grasses – some large and heavy, many more tiny and translucent, transforming the pasture into a sparkling jewel in the light struggling to break through.
It’s Sunday and I notice the peace and quietness – no traffic, no mowers, just the call of the bull to his cows in the valley below.
The dogs and I both notice the brown pademelon wallaby race off into the bush with a warning thump of its tail. Moments later a baby wallaby skitters behind the water tank and off to the bush as well. Tigga would love to chase it with his whippet ears perked up and border collie nose twitching, but he listens to my command to ‘leave it’ and dutifully comes with me to the feed shed.
Blackie and Cecil, the two old sheep come enquiring about their breakfast – baaaing while I mix feeds then happily tucking into their pellets with tails wiggling happily like lambs.
The ‘Old Folks’ – Lucky and Pepsi, hear the clink of the gate chain as I open it and come trotting up for their food, looking refreshed by the rain. Their short coats are wet on top giving them a two tone appearance and their warmth soaks into my hand as I stroke them.
The five ‘fat girls’ are all lined up waiting for their buckets – gleaming smooth beautiful arabians and quarter horses – bay, liver chestnut and palominos sparkle like the jewels that they are.
As they tuck in, the red eyed native hens and their chicks come pecking around at the scraps, darting cautiously and cheeping to each other. The youngest babies still have fluff poking out under their feathers, learning from their parents to not be afraid of horses, humans or dogs that won’t hurt them.
As I walk to move the electric fence for the girl’s daily strip of grass, I’m accosted by a determined Holly, who loves to be scratched just about anywhere. Her nicker says ‘please itch me’ as she parks herself in my path – how can I resist?
Her upper lip morphs into a tiny trunk as I find her itchiest spot and she stretches out to give me more access to her belly. Bliss for a few moments until the others catch up and she gives way to Glory also wanting her share of attention.
As I walk back up the hill I stop to savour the view that has been enveloped in cloud. Tendrils of mist hang in small patches along the hills and the Sunday silence is still un-broken.
The whole earth feels like it is bathed in moisture and I am happy. I am living in the moment and that is pure joy, matched only by the lyrical whinny of Aria, the youngest member of the family, as they come to the gate to be let through to their morning grazing. Her mother, brother and sister all say hello – soft muzzles inquiring, wanting wet faces to be rubbed and patiently waiting for the gate to open. The feeling of peace is complete – everyone is happy.
I think this is how horses live – they feel and notice everything in nature because that is their world. If we do the same, we can become part of their world and that’s what makes them feel safe and repsonsive to us. To clear our minds of everything else by noticing all the little things around us – the smells, the sights, the sounds – that is living in the moment.
Try it someday and see how your horses respond to you – are they any different when you are truly present in their world?