Handsome is as Handsome Does

. In emotional overwhelm I dismounted, wrapped my arms around Handsome’s golden neck, and wept tears of gratitude into his blond mane. I felt Dianne join our embrace, the three of us holding one another in heart celebration.

Hoofbeats pulse earth’s heartbeat

Rhythm of life in matter, incarnation,

Particles, strings, waves of potential

Flooding the energetic body

Thrumming through flexing feet,

Calves, thighs, and hips,

Root chakra humming,

Sacral chakra strumming,

Hara spinning, caressed and massaged   

By the Horse Heart I embrace.

Handsome is as Handsome Does

I am 76 years old and a passionate, lifetime horsewoman. In the past 8 years, I have been unable to get on a horse unassisted. The last two years I reconciled myself to the idea I would never ride again. Severe osteoarthritis was eating at my joints. After two complete shoulder replacements, a right hip replacement, a degenerative nerve to a muscle in my right hip (which cost me the ability to lift that leg and swing it over the back of a horse), and severe sciatica in my left leg leading to a looming option of back surgery, I decided to try physical therapy one more time. I was assigned a therapist who listened to me: a 75 year old woman bent over a cane, not able to step up and down from a street curb without help. Exercise by exercise, Logan began to bring my body back. In the beginning, it was exhausting, physically, emotionally, and energetically trying to negotiate pain limits, general weakness, muscles that just would no longer respond. Fear of pain got in my way. My belief that arthritis, gravity, and designed obsolescence was the natural way told me I was aging out. Logan never asked too much while continuing to encourage me to do the exercises, a little at a time, and gradually increasing the time and intensity of the workout. Yes, I know, common sense, but not all Physical Therapists are created equal. Some have a work out regimen, and that is what is followed, an irrefutable dogma. Finally, with Logan’s guidance, my body began to strengthen. I was able to put aside the cane; still careful at curbs, my dog and I could walk a flat mile. My Medicare-allotted time with Logan was running out. I reached inside for one more goal: to mount a horse unassisted. Without hesitation, he directed my exercise to mounting from the off-side, the right side of the horse. Faith in his knowledge allowed me to begin to believe that this goal would be attained. However, we ran out of time before the goal was realized. I continued the exercises, slowly reaching the pinnacle of standing in firm foundation on my right leg and swinging my left leg over the back of a chair. 

The second ingredient of realizing my goal was the horse. After my last horse, Sparkle, died, I sold, gave away, or tossed all the accouterments of horse ownership, including my mindset. Now I needed a safe partner to mount myself on: a safe horse, a safe human, and a safe environment. If she agreed, I knew just the horse/human combination: my long-time friend Dianne and her honest Haflinger gelding, Handsome. I reached out, and she responded with a resounding “Yes.” The day we chose for the “big event” was one of those perfect, midwinter, spring-like days we sometimes glory in the Sierra Nevada foothills. We met at Laughton Ranch in Jackson where Handsome is boarded. From the barn, we passed through a leaning pasture gate, negotiated a goose-grazed green pasture, passing a pond and horses standing in the sun. We went through another gate and walked a dirt road towards the out barns, round pens, and sand arena, all well-used. Handsome lived here in a big paddock. He was nibbling his grass hay when we arrived. He nickered to us, knowing the routine. Dianne collected the saddle, bridle, and brushes; then, together, we collected Handsome. We curried and brushed him at the hitch rail. Dianne saddled him and warmed him up in the round pen and then took him through his paces in the arena. There was no mounting block in the arena. My goal for unassisted mounting was not from the ground but from the solid base of a mounting block. It was back near the hitchrail. We walked back. Dianne aligned Handsome to the black steps and asked if I was ready.

This was the moment. I knew I was ready, and yet I trembled. Not my horse, not my saddle, not the left side. Remembering to breathe, I looked down on that neck, knowing it was his round barrel that I would swing my leg over and settle onto, not this short neck reaching out in front of me. Dianne counterbalanced the saddle, steadying the already steady Handsome. I put my right foot in the stirrup. I may have collected some mane, I remember reaching for it, and swung my left leg up and over. I felt the skim of the cantle on my calf, and then I was on. I was on. I was mounted on the living back of a horse. Somehow, I heard Dianne ask what I wanted to do. I wanted to feel the horse walking under me. I wanted to feel that earthly energetic connection. All I wanted was exactly what I was doing. And she let me do it, she facilitated the experience. I am so grateful. 

We didn’t over do. After riding, I dismounted, then mounted, rode, and dismounted again. I felt the rhythm of Handsome’s movement flow between my legs. That was all I needed. In emotional overwhelm I dismounted, wrapped my arms around Handsome’s golden neck, and wept tears of gratitude into his blond mane. I felt Dianne join our embrace, the three of us holding one another in heart celebration.

My friend Dianne, editor, writer, artist, energy worker, horsewoman.

Thank you!

Beauty Revisited

I am struggling with bringing Beauty out of the realm of the subjective, intuitional and metaphysical into objective, measurable and scientific concept.  I am looking to validate the intrinsic beauty of Horse.

This search has brought me into the harmonizing concept of mathematics in nature, art, architecture and all things human striving for rhythm and balance.  Philosophers, scientists, artists, Theologians have all sought the paradigm of Beauty.  Who am I, one small person in this great universal complex in which we reside, to take on the essence of Beauty?  Because it is about Horse.

Beauty builds bridges
between you
and the creative forces
in Nature…
between you
and
infinity.
Torkom Saraydarian

Beauty, it is said, is in the eye of the beholder.  And yet the study of art and mathematics show there is a universal form to beauty – an asymmetrical balance that creates an ever-evolving movement, forever seeking to bring the whole into balance and forever recreating its asymmetry in a harmony that carries the eye into a mystery of searching.  It is called the Golden Ratio, universal “sacred geometry” that shows itself in the spiral of galaxies, in the crest of an ocean wave, in the curves of a conch shell, and in the complex spiral of DNA.

What is the Golden Ratio?  So now I am going out on a limb, talking about mathematics, design, form and natural, organic beauty.  Quite a combination of concepts.

Elaine J. Hom, Live Science contributer, says “The Golden ratio is a special number found by dividing a line into two parts so that the longer part divided by the smaller part is also equal to the whole length divided by the longer part. It is often symbolized using phi, after the 21st letter of the Greek alphabet. In an equation form, it looks like this:  a/b = (a+b)/a = 1.6180339887498948420 ….”  golden Ratio

graphically it looks like this:

 

 

The artist, Diana Rueter-Twining, creates this vibrant beauty in her sculpture, allowing the essential horse energy to emerge through static form. Her wonderful creation, Maestro, is a perfect example of Horse in the potent balance of the Golden Ratio.  She says of her process:

“Dressage is a discipline of horse and rider requiring extreme strength, grace, balance and will. It is often associated with the famous white Lipizzaners of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria.

 

I chose to pay homage to this in my sculpture, MAESTRO*.  In studying the horse I found that proportionally the horse in this gesture approximated the Golden Ratio or Divine Proportion in mathematics.”

 

 

“The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man” is a famous quotation attributed to Winston Churchill.  The horse embodies the golden ratio many times over in its form.  We can’t help but admire the shape, the combination of curves and angles, the flare of nostrils, the flag of tail, the curtain of mane – beauty expressed in every part and every movement – universal, primordial beauty. Horse beauty is a dynamic, living thing.  It shines in the elegant cadenced dance of the dressage horse, the classic curves of the Spanish horse, the crest of the wild mustang, the arc of the hunter over a fence.  Horse is a universal symbol of free-flowing Beauty, Spirit, Courage, and Freedom.

Beauty also comes in relationship, searching for that melding of horse/human understanding, reaching into the mystery of inter-species connections.  As a teacher of foundational horsemanship, I ask my young students at their first lesson, “Why do you want to learn to ride a horse?”  The most common answer is, “I love horses.”  Can’t go wrong with that.  Starting from a place of love can only lead to success.  For me, watching these young horse people struggle, trying to grasp the physical, mental, and emotional intricacies of learning to handle and ride a 1000 pound horse and then suddenly pushing past the barrier of not being able to being able, is absolute beauty.   I am passionate in sharing with these young people the experiences and practices that my 56 years of teaching has taught me.  Yes, teaching teaches.  My mentors teach me, the horses teach me, and students teach me.  Learning reaches out through an entire lifetime.

100_1764

Acknowledgements – I am supremely grateful to Diana Reuter-Twining for allowing to use the image of her wonderful sculpture of Maestro.  You can find her on Facebook and at her website http://www.bronzed.net

 

 

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.