Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘equine perception

More Memories

with 6 comments

I hope you will understand if I continue our memorial another consecutive day, but I only made it through half of the pictures I had collected when I composed yesterday’s post, and Legacy’s life was just too big to fit into one photo montage.

Actually, the steps of composing these posts is therapeutic for Cyndie and me in processing our grief, so indulge us another day of honoring Legacy’s recent passing.

Despite holding the important position of herd-leader, he sure seemed to have plenty of time for play and/or mischief.

He never missed an opportunity to nibble and disassemble fencing, gate chains, our electric fence charger, wheelbarrow handles, or any other random item left within his reach. Whenever I took on a project that was in or near the paddocks, he was quick to come over to perform an inspection.

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I repeatedly found myself mentioning to Cyndie that I had a supervisor watching over my every move.

If you look back at the first two pictures in yesterday’s post, there is a striking difference between the sleek look of his summer coat and his bushy growth for winter. When it came time to shed that long hair, we struggled to cope with the immensity of the event.

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Of course, no sooner would we get him cleaned up than he would go off to find the messiest possible spot to roll around.

In his role as herd leader, Legacy made a point of being the first to approach whenever I wandered up to the fence to take pictures of the horses together. Most of those pictures ended up being of Legacy with three horses behind him, but not always.

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One of the most precious things Legacy demonstrated was his keen sensitivity for visitors who may not have any horse experience, might be feeling anxious, or were too young to understand safety protocols. Legacy was often the first of our horses to volunteer for exercises with clients.

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He always took steps to assure every person received attention, not just when there happened to be treats being handed out.

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That being said, he was a major treat-hound when it came to that. The presence of treats may have been one situation where the herd’s best interests were dropped down a notch below his own. The day we brought out the bright red frozen treats, shown in yesterday’s montage, he commanded full, exclusive control until he had his fill. The resulting red lips were a real hoot.

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Legacy rarely demonstrated a need to demand respect, basically, because it wasn’t necessary. He was granted full authority by the herd. Delilah naively tested Legs a couple of times, but it was never a fair exchange. Equine smarts held the advantage in all of their interactions that I witnessed.

There were countless occasions when I watched the three chestnuts scrambling with each other to challenge a pecking order, but Legacy was above such shenanigans.

He left them alone as often as possible to work it out themselves, and they were always careful to avoid brushing into him while they skirmished.

There is an uncanny void in our midst which will be incredibly difficult to fill. Legacy can’t be replaced.

With all that he has done for us in our time with him here, Legacy’s wisdom and spirit will remain a permanent fixture, that’s for sure. We are incredibly blessed and so very lucky to have had the honor of him becoming an integral part of our Wintervale Ranch adventures.

For now, though, it’s goodbye physical Legacy, goodbye.

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Written by johnwhays

January 17, 2018 at 7:00 am

Equine Perception

with 5 comments

This weekend, our friends, Mike & Barb, visited for dinner. Before sitting down to a sumptuous feast, we took a walk around the property that culminated in a visit with the horses. Mike brought some apples, so I opened a gate to serve up treats from within the paddock. Being unfamiliar with horses, Barb was more comfortable waiting just outside.

When it comes to treats, the horses are never bashful. Cyndie, Mike, and I moved among the herd to assure each of the 4 received a fair share. After they’d eaten all the apples,dscn5786e Legacy walked right up to Barb at the gate.

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I commented that he was probably fond of her color scheme.

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Especially considering the color pallet that Mike was sporting.

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Hunter seemed to pick right up on Mike’s playful spirit and soaked up his smell with big yawns and an outstretched tongue.

Cyndie pointed out that as herd leader, Legacy’s role is to make sure everyone is safe, connected, and part of the group. He chose to connect with Barb as a way to include her and acknowledge her reticence and sense of vulnerability over being among such large, and sometimes unpredictable animals.

As we discussed this, I was struck by the memory that I was in that very same place of unfamiliarity with horses when we bought this place. I would never think of stepping inside a fence with such large animals.

After one weekend of lessons on horse communication, and learning to understand my energies of mind, heart, and gut, I was significantly transformed. Before the end of the very first day of that weekend, I had moved from being completely naive about anything to do with horses, to finding myself successfully interacting with a horse I had no knowledge of, alone with him within the limited confines of a round pen.

dscn5787eIt was monumental for me. It laid the foundation for everything I’ve learned since, now living as a co-owner of four beautiful Arabian horses.

I feel like I’ve come farther than should be possible in such a short time. I also feel like I still know so little. Every day there is more to grasp about the remarkable dynamics of equine perception.

More often than not, I get the sense that they know more about me than I do.

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Written by johnwhays

February 13, 2017 at 7:00 am