Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Horse Breathes On Me

I was feeling dispirited yesterday, because of recent developments in my life.

I decided to go for a walk. I find that being outside of four walls really helps when my emotions are taking a belly flop.

And in rural New Mexico, where I now live, I find it pretty well impossible to stay down for long when I go outside. Mountains, big fluffy clouds, hummingbirds, sunflowers growing along the roadside... it's enough to make me want to learn to use my camera! (That's another long story.)

I crossed the acequia (beautiful, rock-lined irrigation stream) near my home, walked across a meadow, and followed a driveway that passes by a horse pasture.

Two of the horses looked up and clearly signalled that they were curious about me. I love horses, so I decided to return the favor. I walked towards the fence marking their space and started telling them how beautiful they were... two gorgeous chestnut horses, gleaming in the sun, one with a narrow, lightning shaped blaze on its forehead.

I guess they liked the sound of me, since they ambled on over to the fence, poked their heads over and started sniffing me and generally checking me out. I started to stroke the one closest to me. It was somewhat interested, then started to move on.

The second horse was very interested, though. It responded to a few strokes along its neck by putting its mouth and nose right next to my throat and treating me to ten or fifteen rounds of the sound and warmth of its breath, exhaled across my throat and face.

I am new to the country and new to horses. My instincts said, no problem, so I stood there fairly calmly, receiving the beauty of its breath with all the presence I could muster. And of course, I also registered the fact that I don't know much about what to look out for when spending time up close with a horse, and its big teeth were right next to my throat. My decision in the moment was to stay for a while.

I was mesmerized enough that I can't exactly remember now who backed off first, but I bet it was me.

The horse and I hung out a little longer from a farther distance, looking at one another. I continued telling that horse how beautiful I thought he/she (gender was not revealed in this encounter) was.

I discovered on this visit that horses have impossibly exquisite eyes! I was amazed by the shape, by the quality of the light reflected by their eyes, and by the integration of power and tenderness I saw in their eyes.

Those horses returned me to my equilibrium, and I was able to take several productive actions over the rest of the evening.

This morning, I searched the web and found inspiring information about the qualities horses demonstrate and can teach us.

I also found this video that brought me to tears through its exploration of horses and the connection between them and the human spirit.

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