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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sterling Archer got his name~

It was the last day of our time together and we had a plan for "healthy celebrations and endings".  The girls were sad that it was their last day and my co-facilitator and I felt that too.  One of the things we did was choose a card from "The way of the Horse" and one of the girls read it.  We began outside, but had to move inside because of the shorter daylight in October. When we went inside, the girls saw our new colt in "Sorrel's" stall.  It had been his stall for  all of his 20 years at our farm and his name plate was right there. Which brought up the topic of this new little boy's name.

In the summer and fall of 2010 In the Company of Horses had a group of girls from two group homes come to learn by way of the horse, things like; how to get along with others, how to ask permission and be grateful, they learned about positive body image and enjoyed the freedom to dance with horses uninhibited.  They learned about themselves and universal truths outside of themselves. And along the way they experienced the death of my first horse and the addition of our new colt.

As one of the girls went on reading aloud from the book, another laid across the stall door snuggling with our P.R.E ( Pura Razza Espanola)  colt.  It was quite comforting for everyone as I'm sure they fell asleep together.  When they awoke, some 20 minutes later; the troubled and youthful sixteen year old girl proclaimed, " I know his name".  Curiously, I asked "What is it?" She said "His name is Sterling because just like when you get your ears pierced you get sterling silver posts, because you will never get an infection and he'll never do you wrong."
Well that sounded right to me!

This little horse seems to be wise beyond his years (ha! months).  He knows things, like how this sixteen year old girl who stood 6 feet 6 inches tall needed to cuddle with him on her last day at the farm, he did not judge her because of her family situation or the way she looked or talked. I'm sure he enjoyed what she offered to him as well, unconditional acceptance, a warm and undemanding welcome to his new home.  He doesn't mind being alone and he also likes to be together. He does have a Sterling character and his color is dark gray for now.

His papered name is Valiente Silver Cross Wind.  He came with the nickname "Bogie" which is fitting because of his confidence and air of maturity, named after the actor Humphrey Bogart; suave, debonair. Sterling Archer was a natural progression coming from my Son who knew right away he needed the rest of his name from a comic character Sterling Archer.  He has a gleaming smile and will also "Never do you wrong".

This is Sterling in his stall; He can just fit over the door! 

Monday, February 14, 2011

A family learns by way of the horse

A Mom and Son came to work out an issue they were having in the arena.  Mom teaches yoga and wants her son to have his own yoga practice, which at 10 years old, does not appeal to him.  Son is a football player and looks like one!  They tell us that they have agreed to just do 5 sun salutations every day together, but they never have.
So we send them on a task to use the things in the arena together to "create" a metaphoric place where they will do yoga.  They use all of the hula hoops and make a free standing sphere.  Then we asked them both to go get a horse of their choosing and bring the horse to the yoga place.
Son was doing a lot of talking and bribing and coaxing with the pony.  Mom seemed to just go over and then her horse followed her to the yoga place, then the pony came over to be with them!  The son asked, looking astonished, "How did you do that?"
So we (the facilitators) asked Mom, How did you get these horses to come with you to your yoga place?
She explained that she was taught to greet each being with an open heart, so she went over to the big chestnut thoroughbred opened her heart in a greeting and invited her to join with her heart and she accepted, then the pony just joined in with them.  
We asked Mom, "Where did you learn how to greet each being with an open heart?"  Mom replied that she learned  this from her long time yoga teacher.
This is what she wanted for her son.  While he did not readily agree to have his own yoga practice, he saw how his Mom's practice gave her something special that he wanted.

It was a simple session, but profound. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Universal truths.......... timeless, without boundaries.

Here in NJ, I felt the spring come in a few days ago, maybe as much as a week or so. If you follow this blog, you will surely notice its new look!  I love winter and snow, so I'm satisfied now. I think that is why I love spring so much and when it comes, the changes are everywhere.  I think that rain we had the other day was telling. Then the peacocks, their feathers are long and gorgeous.  They loose their tails in the fall and spend all winter growing them back, they are like a calendar dancing around the yard. They start to fuss at the feed bowls in a new way.  In the winter, they are just happy to eat, in the spring, they dominate the bowls  arguing with the rooster, and even the hens want to tussle with each other.  Feeding time is quite a lively time that takes on a whole new life in the spring just like everything else.

 Sterling, my lovely Andalusian boy is growing and changing every day.  He owns his seat at the table if you know what I mean, which for a 9 month old, I'm impressed by!  He is kind in every way, smart and thoughtful, and happily I have not seen signs that he is "interested" in the girls. I find great joy in watching the horses interact and I learn much about leadership and living together, waiting with patience. As Sterling makes his way into the hearts and minds of  his band of mares, I'm drawn to thinking about the rhythm of life and the universal truths all around us.

Feel; timing; balance.

  • Music - Listening to the quality of the spaces between the notes or playing the long note..........
  • Painting something - A portait or a barn; Painting it thick, thin, one coat or many, combine colors? Brush, roller, feather or rag; maybe a sponge or a leaf, maybe fingers. 
  • Making  love - I remember hearing an interview with Carlos Santana where he explained to all the ladies in love with him that "I cannot do to you what my guitar does to you", soft or firm, slow or faster, the first time;  the last time. But we look for that, that universal truth of feel. We all innately know it when it's right. 
  • Driving a sports car - or a big rig, feeling the flow of the road, traffic, the engine when it's asking to shift, be the grace of a pick up as you down shift before the curve and apply just the right amount of gas to stay in the curve, a well oiled machine.
  • Building something - With integrity, that works, that looks good, that lasts, smell the wood, sand it smooth, feel the engine purr when it starts for the very first time. 
  • Baking something - Choosing the perfect ingredients; organic grown to perfection added at the perfect time. Feel the batter, know when it's perfect, inhale deeply to know when it's done. Find the sweet spot! 
  • Practicing yoga  - Strong and slow, hold and let flow, the breath in and then out
  • Walk - Feel the Earth, placing your feet one after the other in rhythm, like a dance. Smell the land, the pavement, the leaves or the water, feel the wind on your skin, drinking it in.......
  • Swimming - immersed completely, breathe through your mask at 30 ft., snorkel just under the surface, backstroke on top of the water with ease and timing, rhythm and relaxation.  Feel the water cradle you. Catch a wave and stay on top; or ride in the middle or just dive underneath. 
  • Stargaze  as the moon rises and flows across the sky, then disappears  into morning when all the flowers open up to gather the sunshine. Sense the changes when they come, feel the winter, smell the spring, languish in the long days of summer, rejoice in the blaze of autumn colors. 
  • Ski with the mountain.
  • Dance by yourself to the music in you; Dance to natures music all around you; Dance with someone else; be willing and brave enough to lead and be led. Feel the rhythm find the sweet spot. 
  • Ride a horse: let go and ride forward and back; up down, over under, through...........

    Add yours......