From the Heart of a Horsewoman…Horse-A Bridge Between Spirit and Matter

“For those of us born with a passion toward Horse, and I am fortunate to
be among them, the ephemeral quality of our Horse longings, our Horse
relationships, bring questions alongside difficult-to-translate answers.
Why? What inner yearning calls me? What draws my Heart to Horses? Lynnea
Honn dances through the dimensions of these yearnings with metaphor,
lore, poetic prose, and fifty-horse-years of hands-on insights. Delight
yourself in this ‘chocolate’ of horse memoirs, one sweet bite, one sweet
paragraph, at a time.”
          Dawn Jenkins, Lady Farrier  Frazier Park, California

Thank you Dawn, for this wonderful review. And thank you for being the first reader to encourage me by “liking” and “following” From the Heart of a Horsewoman. We share the same path. Now we introduce this path to more of The Tribe of Horse. I hope they will resonate with the book the way we do.

Horse Books for Grown Ups

What constitutes a horse book for grown-ups? That is a really good question. I want to say that the characters are mostly grown-ups. Right? Maybe. The types of books may include fact, fiction, memoir, and fantasy. I have an eclectic list of books that I consider horse books for grownups. I must admit, I have never met a horse story I didn’t like. On the other hand, not all horse books embody the philosophy of what I consider right relationship. I think right relationship has been covered pretty thoroughly in other Heart of a Horsewoman blog entries. If you are curious about right relationship in the Horse/Human partnership, please read deeper into the blog. Or read:

From the Heart of a Horsewoman, Horse—A Bridge between Spirit and Matter by Lynnea Paxton-Honn, available from Amazon in e-book, paperback, and Kindle Unlimited August 2020. In this book I share my search for the depth of the Horse/Human relationship through pondering, poetry, and study of the multifaceted interactions that bring such wonderful satisfaction to the mind, body, and soul. I explore practical and spiritual aspects of this amazing interspecies entanglement. It is my point of view that Horse is a bridge between matter and spirit if we are open to that journey. It is my intention to share what that paradigm means to me.

How do I narrow the endless list of books that entertain, instruct, light my imagination, and pull me into the experience of the story? That is the conundrum. There are two that stand out for me, two that have a special place on my horse bookshelf, two that I give away and have to replace. I always keep two copies of these books, one for me and one for you.

1.  Black Beauty by Anne Sewell—I know this seems a children’s book, but at the time it was written, it was a social commentary on the plight of the horse as servant and slave. Its message is timeless, a horse book for all generations, a study in respect for life in all its forms.

2. Horse Heaven by Jane Smiley—I cannot talk to this book any better than the dust jacket description: “ ‘It’s not true,’ says a character in Jane Smiley’s passionate, and brilliant new novel of horse racing, that anything can happen at the racetrack’ but many astonishing and affecting things do—and in Horse Heaven, we find them woven into a marvelous tapestry of joy and love, chicanery, folly, greed, and derring-do… The strange, compelling, sparkling, and mysterious universe of horse racing that has fascinated generations of punters and robber barons, horse-lovers and wits, has never before been depicted with such verve and originality, and, above all, such sheer exuberance.”

There they are—my top two favorites. What are yours?

Do you want a print copy of From the Heart of a Horsewoman at it’s lowest price? This is the place to pre-order your very own copy today for only $10! Each copy comes signed. If you are local, we will meet up for you to receive your copy whether at a book signing or special arrangements. If you don’t live locally, I can ship you your signed copy of From the Heart of a Horsewoman for only $5!

Go to the link to preorder. I hope this works. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeYCDsOUQuorBqL7SAVQYgpUmUmxVBnzaMB5WpHtd26dfOaLw/viewform?embedded=true

Here are a few other favorites:

3. Drinkers of the Wind by Carl A Raswan—It has been over twenty-five years since I read this book. I perused the dust cover and then opened the book to a random page and started reading:

“The Amarat killed a number of their young camels for a joint feast, and provided for our horses every drop of camel milk from their huge flock, even depriving the suckling foals of milk that night—a generous gift that proved to be the saving of our horses. Indeed, the Amarat were a Godsent miracle in the wilderness of the reaches of Wadi Khadaf. With new strength our horses followed in the wake of the camels. All that day we crossed a plain, until finally, toward afternoon, we reached the uprising center of Kirban. Would this be the land of death, my companions wondered? Would our graves be here?”

Drinkers of the Wind is a true story of the author’s passion, from boyhood, for the Arabian horse. Though published in 1942, it is about Raswan’s first “romantic” journey to Arabia where, in searching for the pedigree of purity in the legendary Arabian horse, he lived with the nomadic Bedouins as one of them in the early years of the 20th century. A beautiful read for lovers of horses of any breed.

4. The Last of The Saddle Tramps by Messanie Wilkins and Mina Titus Sawyer—This is the warm and humorous story of 63-year-old Messanie who traveled on horseback, accompanied by her little dog, all the way from Maine to California. Her doctor had told her she had two to four years to live, she was losing her family home, so she decided to follow her mother’s dream of going to California. She bought a good gelding, Tarzan, from a riding academy and splurged on a sixty-cent diary. She tied everything she thought she would need with string to an artillery saddle that made her feel young and set off on a November day with her dog, Depeche Toi. Twenty-five months later, her journey ended. This book is a gem. It is another one that I have had to replace.

There is a Facebook group calling itself “Horse Books for Grown-ups.” No, I didn’t copy the title. I started this blog last year and got side-tracked. The “shelter-in-place” mandate sent me looking for new reading material. The page has recommendations for many titles from people just like us. It also has authors’ promoting their horse books. I am not a fan of the romance genre, and many of these reads are romance stories with horses as the background subject. But some of these new titles are really good horse stories with horses as the main subject and romance in the background. I especially appreciated two:  Mutedby Leanne Owens, and The Hidden Horses ofNew Yorkby Natalie Keller Reinert.

5. Mutedby Leanne Owens—More than a horse book! My mind is still pulsing from the experience this book drew me into. The plot is intricately woven with twists and turns that are always at the right place. This is a horse book for grown-ups. The topics are current and ageless; good vs evil, compassion vs greed, and the delicate dance of the horse/human relationship. It is a story of tragedy and transformation. The this is an intelligent, compassionate portrayal knowledgeably written. GREAT Story. Horse whisperer vs giant pharmaceutical conglomerate is the basic premise. I would almost think that Leanne Owens is a channel for the Min Min, a local mysterious and mystical light phenomenon native to her home area of Australia, because this story is so provocative. The prologue is heart-wrenching. One reviewer on Amazon did not finish the book because of it. The author is sharing the reality of the severe challenges the Australian Outback throws at us puny humans. It is not necessary to read the prologue to fully enjoy the story. It does, however, lay the ground for understanding the journey of Lane Dimity, Outback horseman and powerful social media personality. Go for the ride of a lifetime—read Muted.

6. The Hidden Horses of New York by Natalie Keller Reinert—Ms. Reinert writes with an intimate knowingness of horses. Her descriptions are intricate, tender, compassionate, and dynamic. Who knew there were so many horses in the city of New York? We know about the racehorses, mounted patrol horses, and carriage horses. There are also therapeutic riding horses, school horses, and docent horses. There is a setting on city property where horses are housed very comfortably in shipping containers. This is a place where rescued Thoroughbreds are housed until they find their forever homes, along with those die-hard horse-lovers whose finances don’t allow for the bigger barns. I loved Ms. Reinert sympathetic portrayal of all of New York’s horse denizens. I had a problem with the stilted romance theme that loosely and haphazardly wove its way around the horse stories. I did say I am not into the romance genre, didn’t I? Natalie Keller Reinert is obviously a horsewoman, heart and soul. I recommend the book.

There are too many horse books to share. This blog is Part One and will be continued when From the Heart of a Horsewoman is available for sale on Amazon so that you can add it to your collection. Be sure to check out “Horse Books for Grown-ups” on FaceBook.

Happy Reading, Lynnea

 

 

 

Break Out Moment

Two complete shoulder replacements and a hip replacement later the thought of riding tickled at my heart.  My horse is almost twenty-six years old.  Would she be okay with it?  I’m in my seventy-second year and haven’t been astride in two years.  Was I kidding myself?

I

“Break out Moment,” a prompt used in our writer’s group – Women Writers at The Well.  The prompt came as an entrance into exactly what I want to share in the moment.

The last time I got on a horse I literally crawled and was pushed, gently and tactfully, but pushed nonetheless, on board.  I had no strength in my arms, no support in my legs.  I knew I would never ride again.

I mourned the loss of that life, a passionate life-time horsewoman, but in time became reconciled to the loss.  I sold my truck and horse trailer and rehomed the younger of my two horses.  I cried in deep grief listening to Dave Stamey sing “Come Ride With Me.”

Two complete shoulder replacements and a hip replacement later the thought of riding tickled at my heart.  My horse is almost twenty-six years old.  Would she be okay with it?  I’m in my seventy-second year and haven’t been astride in two years.  Was I kidding myself?

I contacted my adopted granddaughter, Kaylee, and we agreed on a time.  She would be there for moral, emotional and physical support.

Sparkle Plenty stood to be saddled as though no time had passed.  She swished her tail as she always has, flicked her ear and stood.  Two tries accomplished getting the saddle in place.  A little ground warm-up helped to loosen the old mares joints.  I led her to the mounting block, positioning her so that the stirrup was in easy reach.  With hesitancy and held breath I put my left foot in the stirrup, took hold of her mane and the off side of the saddle and lifted myself, my right leg not quite getting high enough to clear the cantle and her rump.  Kaylee helped my leg find its way and my right foot found the stirrup.  I started to breathe.

I’m not going to say that first ride was perfection, but it was.  My right leg was stiff, heel not wanting to reach down.  My hips were tight, looking for the flexing comfort and flow that was their experience.  Scar tissue in my back from a ten year old surgery restricted the fluidity of rhythm.  Sparkle and I were together in the new dynamic.  Her hoof steps slow and careful, my body seeking the remembered harmony of joined movement.  It was perfect.

The following day I was able to lift my leg over, not with the smooth grace of yesteryear, but accomplishing the goal just the same.  My leg lengthened, hips softened, back loosened.  And as we (Sparkle and I) were returning from a short walk around the pasture Sparkle’s shoulders and hips also loosened and she reached into her “happy” walk, sending a thrill of joy through my entire being.  We are not done.  We are beginning – again.

I originally started this blog to share my point of view of the horse/human/spirit relationship.  My plan was and is to write a book.  I was hoping for more discussion regarding other people’s point of view and experience in relationship to the topics I brought to the blog.  Obviously I was not clear in this intention.  It is now time for me to turn my attention to the book.  I very much hope to hear what readers have to say regarding the horse/human relationship in all its forms.  Thank you for sharing in my journey.

Lynnea

SPARKLE PLENTY

My horse is the concrete connection
To the abstract of my soul.
Like Pegasus flying Icarus to the sun
She carries me to the outreaches of my world
Dropping piles of care and concern along the way.
She is Sparkle Plenty, namesake to the beautiful
Bad girl in the Dick Tracey comic strip.
Even as a newborn foal life pored from her like sunrays.
The genetics of grey and age bring the glitter
Of diamond dust to her shiny coat.
Her ears stand sentinel straight when she hears my call
And she answers with a whooping welcome whinny.
Like me she has some arthritis, some wisdom and some silliness.

me and Spark 002

 

 

 

Church of The Round Pen

IMG_132099018582259

Let me retouch the joy I feel working and playing with the beautiful lady, Chloe, as we become acquainted in a Bear Valley Springs Round Pen. The joy of balancing energy between horse and human. I am visiting my brother, just outside of Tehachapi, CA. He has two very nice horses; Silver, a gentle giant, half shire-half quarter horse gelding, a delightful silver grey. And he has Chloe, feminine, lovely, elegant, half Friesian, half paint – a beautiful balance of black and white. I am smitten with her.
Chloe and I don’t know each other. I have been told she has a certain level of training. I find when I ask her to move up to that level she is confused, not sure as to how to respond and becomes agitated, throwing more and more energy into escaping my request. I lift my energy, changing my body posture to more assertive as she escalates. I know that somewhere she knows the correct response and I wait for her to find it, not letting up on my response to the energy she is throwing out. And suddenly she finds it, bending her ear and eye to me, her head and tail lower, she begins to respond rather than react and I yield the pressure of my energy and she begins to lick her lips. Joyful communication. We have found a momentary balance, a balance to build upon.
We see the round pen as a place of schooling for the horse but in reality, hidden in plain sight, is the dance of relationship, the coming together of energies, enfolding one in the other, creating a communication of mind, body and spirit. Horse spirit is our captivator. We are enthralled with the primordial, free expression of horse in body and action. We want to capture that spirit and make it our own. Of course we can’t capture it, we can only interface with it. Come to that common denominator that enlivens each of us.
Like any church, the round pen can be misinterpreted to be all about dogma and rules. Rules are guide posts to a deeper entanglement of promise and potential. When we bind ourselves to rules we bind ourselves to the structure of ego. Ego structure is important but it is only a portal, or an impassable boundary, to the greater dimension of energetic relationship.
This is deep stuff and I don’t mean to scare anybody away. We, of The Tribe of Horse, all seek that mystic relationship with our horse. The relationship where we become one in mind, body and spirit.

TRANSFORMATION. “A personality change aligning to a pattern appropriate to spiritual life which so sensitizes the recipient that incoming spiritual forces have significantly increased impact.”

Today we made thunder – You made thunder.
I am the witness making the space available.
You are my horse, the primal voice of my passion.

Lightning lanced, you arc and lash and flare.
A tornado tossed tumble weed your buckskin body
Bounds, lifts, floats, and dances in the round
to the strident concussion of your own music.
I stand in the eye of your storm
Reveling in the power of your expression
tasting the turbulent wind funneled through your nostrils
vibrating to the pounding rhythm your
hooves drum on the skin of sod and soil.

And then the storm is spent.
Your canter is cradle rocking soft
A Soul soothing cadence quiet as an April shower
I lift my hand and step back, a beckoning bow
Inviting you to share the center with me.
You come, ears up, muzzle reaching into my cupped hands
You blow a gentle Zephyr, the west wind’s promised warmth.
The scent of exuberant exertion lifts off your body, damp and dense.
You are Life coming to me willingly,                                                                                           You share your heart space.

“…great sensuous song of life…”

I’m reading “The Feminine Face of God: The Unfolding of the Sacred in Women” by Sherry Ruth Anderson, Patricia Hopkins and wanted to share this quote with you.

“When I was a girl I would roam through the pastures with my horse, Spotty, and there would be a communion, a great sensuous song of life being sung through us that I have no words for.”  Anonymous

These words are so very validating to read; the experience  similar to my own.  It is only as I grow in years and wisdom that I truly acknowledge the communion with nature, with life, that riding my horse has granted me.  A blessing of spirit, “a great sensuous song of life….”  Several years ago I attempted to put this wondrous song into a poem.  The poem won a first place in a contest held by the East Bay Equestrian Network.

Meadow Music – A Rider’s Song

Meadow music notes of spring

Flow the contour of the hills

Swirl the ponderosa canyons

To the rhythm of gentle hoof beats walking

To the meadow music notes of spring.

Yellow flowers rising, reaching sunburst beauty

To the gentle hoof beats passing through their midst

Walking gentle hoof beats,

One-two, one-two, one-two-three-four.

Meadow grass seeds on their slender stalks

Bow and bob in unison to the rhythm of

The meadow music notes of spring

To the gentle rhythmic hoof beats

Of the mare walking in the horse dimension

Meadow music notes of summer

Simmer warmly through the valley

Wrap round trails traced on hillsides

To the rhythm of muffled hoof beats walking

To the meadow music notes of summer.

Powder puffs of cedar scented dust rise in rhythm

To the muffled hoof beats passing on the path.

Walking muffled hoof beats,

One-two, one-two, one-two-three-four.

Toasted gold by summer solstice

The meadow grass sways in sleepy melody to

The meadow music notes of summer

To the muffled rhythmic hoof beats

Of the mare walking in the horse dimension.

Meadow music notes of autumn

Serenade the oaks and alder,

Decked in glowing passion colors,

To the rhythm of happy hoof beats walking

To the meadow music notes of autumn.

Leaves red and gold shake and shimmy

To happy hoof beats walking in their glory.

Happy walking hoof beats,

One-two, one-two, one-two-three-four.

Parading the yellow leafed road,

Petals of sunlight flutter and fall to

The meadow music notes of autumn

To the gentle rhythmic hoof beats

Of the mare walking in the horse dimension.

Meadow music notes of winter

Sing the blackbirds in the choir loft

Of the ancient oak tree’s branches

To the rhythm of crisp hoof beats walking

To the meadow music notes of winter.

Five hundred voices trilling, singing gospel in god’s house

To crisp hoof beats passing ‘neath their perch.

Crisp walking hoof beats,

One-two, one-two, one-two-three-four.

In the waning light of winter, reflected in the shivering pond,

Barren branches nod to the rhythm of

The meadow music notes of winter

To the crisp rhythmic hoof beats

Of the mare walking in the horse dimension

Lynnea Honn

 

I Am A Teacher of Horse Passion

As a teacher I pass on my knowledge with my heart and soul. I find I tune in with every fiber of my being in the attempt to communicate and share my knowledge, describe in the clumsiness of words. When I connect with a young person who grasps intuitively the concepts of the horse/human relationship steps it is a joyful experience. It is impossible for me to not become very attached to these kids. I watch them with nurturing eye and hand, grow as horse people. I see them explore, get stuck, experience the light of understanding and I move through all of this with them. It is personally fulfilling and rewarding. However, I know with every lesson, every interaction there will come a day for them to spread their wings and move on to the next level, the next horsemanship experience, the next expansion of their passion…the passion that we share. They will leave me. Which of course is what the preparation is all about, it is one of the goals of the teaching. I am devastated, inconsolable, just like a parent whose children have left home.

I have to say, there is real wonder in Facebook. I woman found me, a woman that I knew briefly when she was a youngster and I wasn’t much older. I have been following her postings and page. She now owns a Thoroughbred Bloodstock farm in Florida. I mentioned to her how wonderful that she has fulfilled the horsewoman’s dream. She responded that I was responsible. WOW. What a gift she gave me in those few words. This sharing of the passion for horses has been going on for more than fifty years. It isn’t just in this moment. Just as there are people that have helped me along this journey, the ones I think of in gratitude, there are those whose lives I have touched. We are all linked in this love of horses.

And so I can release my kids, with love, to their future and their past. I go with them in their journey. I am so grateful that, as a member of the Tribe of Horse, I have the gift of sharing the passion for these incredible creations of God, the Horse. For in the end, it is all about our horses.

She is a horsewoman.

She is blessed

with an enthusiasm and passion

that has carried her through life,

generating a journey

compelling and rewarding.

Now she is blessed

by the opportunity

to share her passion

with those starting on a similar journey,

weaving together

the similarities and differences

of interspecies relationship.

She lives in the flame of enthusiasm

as she helps to transform

unknowing into knowing

between horse and human.

Lynnea

Heart of a Horsewoman

The search for the depth of the horse/human relationship through pondering, poetry and study of the multifaceted interactions that bring such wonderful satisfaction to the mind, body and soul. I explore practical and spiritual aspects of this amazing interspecies entanglement.

First blog from Heart of a Horsewoman – an idea that has been percolating for the past 10 years.  Who am I?  A passionate horse lover of 66 years.  I credit year four as the year I was inducted into the Tribe of Horse by a gentle Palm Springs gelding who took the time and interest to introduce himself and the world of horses to me.  What do blogs from the Heart of a Horsewoman look like?  The search for the depth of the horse/human relationship through pondering, poetry and study of the multifaceted interactions that bring such wonderful satisfaction to the mind, body and soul.  I explore practical and spiritual aspects of this amazing interspecies entanglement. It is my point of view that Horse is a bridge between matter and spirit if we are open to that journey.

The picture above is of Megan, a third generation mare raised by me, and Macho, the ranch dog.  This was taken about four years ago.  I love this image of Meg’s connection.  She is one who truly lives in the world of Humans and is eager to participate in the Horse/Human relationship.

This first post is “The Nature of Horse”, something I wrote about about two years ago. It is a good introduction to the point of view of this blog.

The Nature of Horse  Nov 2014

The nature of Horse is Spirit.  Horse is first the embodiment of spirit in earth energy.  Spirit is illuminated in horse by every symmetrical, rhythmic movement…, the side to side swish of tail, the sound of chewing pasture grass, the flash of hooves as they kiss the ground.

The nature of Horse is Heart.  The magnetic principal of heart, the synchronization and pull that draws us to Horse mystery.  That silent beat that creates a primordial pounding in the Human pulse.  Horse heart expands the human heart, frees it to blend with another.

The nature of Horse is relationship.  In relationship to each other and to the ecosystem of existence Horse has lived thousands of years in successful interaction with all the nations of environment; animal, mineral and vegetable.  Horse brings Human into relationship with the kingdoms of nature.

The nature of Horse is sensual.  Horse lives the embodiment of senses, sight, sound, smell, touch, taste, far beyond the human sense realm.  Horse offers Human an experience of expanded awareness.