Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘owning horses

Unparalleled Escapades

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Indeed, there is an element of sadness today, with the moving of our horses back to their previous home, but we are making equal effort to frame their transfer in a positive light. Think of it as a graduation ceremony. Like children who are sent off to school for a period of years, these horses came to live with us for five and a half years. I think they taught us a lot more than we taught them in that time.

Now they have completed this phase of life with us and are going back home. We will use the memories and lessons of our unparalleled escapades together as the foundation for whatever comes next.

Thank you to all of you who are thinking of us today, and sending love and support! We are soaking it up as a healing balm for the inherent sorrow of parting from these beloved creatures, while also using it to bolster our spirits to properly honor the equine wisdom bestowed upon us over the years.

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Written by johnwhays

March 28, 2019 at 6:00 am

Rehoming Horses

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In less than a week, they will be gone. Our three horses are returning to the home from which they traveled when they came to us back in the fall of 2013. There is an invisible gloom darkening the energy around here of late. It feels eerily similar to the dreadful grief we endured after Legacy’s death in January of last year.

Happiness still exists, we just aren’t feeling it much these days.

Cyndie spent hours grooming the horses yesterday. I found myself incapable of going near them. It’s as if I’m preparing myself in advance for their absence. This place just won’t be the same without them.

For now, we still have the chickens. With the snow cover receding, and hours of daylight increasing, they are expanding their range again, scouring the grounds for scrumptious things to eat from the earth. It is my hope that they are getting an early start on decimating the tick population around here.

After Cyndie said she picked seven eggs yesterday, I asked if we were getting ahead of our rate of consumption yet. Almost three dozen, she reported!

Spring has definitely sprung.

I walked the grounds yesterday to survey the flow of water draining from the melting snow. We are benefiting greatly from overnight freezes that have slowed the process enough that no single place is being inundated now. It was the heavy rain falling on the deep snow that led to the barn flood last week. We’ve had little precipitation since, and that has helped a lot.

There are a couple of spots where the flow has meandered beyond the modest constraints in place to facilitate orderly transfer, mainly due to the dense snow that still plugs up the ditches and culverts.

Water definitely chooses to flow the path of least resistance.

I can relate to that. It feels like our life here is changing course in search of a new outlet for our energy to flow. Part of me feels like there should be a rehoming of ourselves, except we have no home to which we would return.

In a strange way, it’s as if I am experiencing a similar avoidance of being with myself, like the way I couldn’t bring myself to stand among the horses yesterday.

If this is not the place where I belong, then I already don’t want to be here any more. Unfortunately, there is nowhere I’d rather be right now.

When buds pop, and leaves sprout, I will breathe in our forest air. That will help.

But it won’t be the same without our horses.

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Written by johnwhays

March 23, 2019 at 6:36 am

Not Easy

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It’s not easy to write about moving our horses… There are a lot of emotions built up regarding the next change in store. After weeks of consideration, Cyndie and I recently decided we need to find another home for Dezirea, Cayenne, and Hunter.

Last week, we learned that the previous owners of the herd are willing to accept the horses back, and we have now begun the process of detailing the specifics involved. Although an actual date of transfer is yet to be determined, just verbalizing the idea, and now having the outcome decided, has already triggered powerful emotions for both of us.

The horses are such an integral part of our lives that we struggle to imagine what it will be like after they are gone. We are each looking forward to regaining a little of our independence again, but it remains to be seen whether we will stay on this property for long without them.

I’ve been mentally revisiting the day the horses arrived here back in September of 2013. That was a pinnacle of thrills that barely compares with any other in my life, except maybe the day Cyndie and I got married. The ensuing years have included more incredible experiences than I can count, having gone from zero experience owning horses, to developing intimate knowledge of our herd.

They have definitely provided me with plenty of things to write about over the years.

Yesterday, while I was tending to the cleanup detail near their evening feeding time, Dezirea suddenly laid down and rolled around in her blanket. By the time I got around to thinking it would have been a good photo, she was already back on her feet.

Then Hunter walked over to the same spot and started pawing the ground. I knew he was going to lay down as well, so this time I scrambled to dig out my pocket camera. In my haste to capture him while he was upside down, I accidentally pushed the power button to turn the camera off again.

By the time I got it back on, he was upright.

It is going to be incredibly difficult to adjust to no longer having them live with us.

Horses have a powerful energy, and I don’t think we will ever be able to replace it.

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Written by johnwhays

March 7, 2019 at 7:00 am

Thinking Seriously

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We are currently doing some serious thinking about making significant changes, not just around here, but in our lives. It is an exercise in re-examining everything, because one thing leads to another, due to the connectedness of all things.

We may not change everything all at once, but just like the series of changes we enacted to bring ourselves to where we are today, a shift in focus, and the first step we take, will likely kick off a metamorphosis toward a new chapter of which we have yet to comprehend.

In the middle of it all, horses. Our precious horses.

It is unconscionable that we would even think of turning our attention away from them. But, in our situation, they just might be the first to go.

This is a really hard thing to contemplate.

Those who doubted our sanity when we set off on this adventure of moving from our home in the suburbs, where family, life-long friends, and gainful employment were close at hand, to a rural location with uncertain dreams of using horses to help others, will now be able to have their opinions validated.

That’s not supposed to matter to the dreamers of the world, but the thought still occurs.

I am able to use the priceless experiences I have had over the last seven years as contented justification for our adventures thus far. Would there have ever been a “completion” for what we set out to accomplish? I’m not entirely sure, although I had visions of possibilities that it appears will go unrealized.

Is there ever really a completion of our endeavors, or is it all an ongoing process?

If we no longer have horses here, it will certainly feel like a completion, but it could just as well be perceived as a new beginning.

It’s complicated.

As such, we are giving it all some serious thinking. Indoors. By the fire. While it snows and snows and snows outside.

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Equine Fascination

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For someone with little prior experience with horses, the last few years have been a big change for me. Cyndie was much more experienced with horses, but she had never owned one before, nor had she ever been so responsible for their care. We continue to grow increasingly fascinated with horses each passing year.

Our horses are an incredible gift.

We were reminded of this once again last night after watching the premier PBS broadcast of the Nature episode, “Equus: Story of the Horse.”

In the time since our horses arrived here, I’ve not felt a strong urge to saddle and ride them. That fact often surprises visitors who are just getting to know us. “Why else would someone have a horse?” many of them seem to think.

One of my favorite things is that we are able to allow our horses to spend almost all of their time not wearing a halter around their head.

Horses are amazing beings. I am soothed simply by standing in their presence. It is quite a luxurious experience to have them residing here with us, where I am able to reach out and touch them, to exchange breath with them, nose to nose.

Most days, our horses seem to know me better than I know myself.

Horse sense.

Some days, they are completely unflappable. Occasionally, they are jittery beyond our reason. They sense things which we fail to detect.

I envy how adept horses are at swiftly resolving differences and returning their unconcerned attention to simply grazing.

For all the size, power, and speed that horses embody, they are impressively gentle, by their very nature.

Put simply, I find them completely fascinating.

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Written by johnwhays

January 17, 2019 at 7:00 am

Happening Now

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I’ve witnessed the evidence in my lifetime.

The trend is undeniable. Feel free to argue the cause.

I claim human activity is responsible.

For the time being, at least we still have trees.

I need to plant more trees.

I heard an ominous story on news radio during my commute home yesterday that highlighted the concerns of owning animals at a time when growing hay to feed them is getting harder to do successfully.

We have hay in our shed for this winter, but future years are not guaranteed. It pains me that our green grass is too rich for granting full-time access to our horses. We end up feeding them hay year-round.

It’s awkward. Like being adrift in the ocean, surrounded by water that you can’t drink.

It will be tough if we reach a point where there isn’t enough hay to feed all the grazing livestock.

It’s not a single issue calamity at risk, though. There are plenty of other aspects of the warming planet that are simultaneously having an impact. I’d sure hate to be in the insurance industry now that we are experiencing waves of increasing intensity severe weather events.

I can’t figure out how they will be able to cover the ever-increasing expenses for claims from the devastation of storm after storm.

I wonder what it will be like here six years from now. We don’t currently have a long-range plan worked out for the ranch. The initial improvements we put in place upon arrival have sufficed for a few years now. There isn’t a lot more we need to do beyond maintaining the buildings and grounds as they are.

Simply responding to the ongoing climate slide may become our main challenge.

I suppose I could always focus on marketing our paradise as a place to Forest Bathe.

I really should be planting more trees.

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Written by johnwhays

October 25, 2018 at 6:00 am

Bold North

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There’s a new slogan in town that arose from the committee responsible for landing this year’s Super Bowl game and coordinating all the related local events around it. The motto being brandished everywhere we look is, “Bold North.”

I like it. It speaks of the harsh reality we face in carrying on with our everyday lives regardless the extremes of weather our northern location dishes out. I take pride in being able to tolerate the ridiculous cold or the stifling heat which we face, both happening within a span of mere months from each other.

However, and I really hate to whine about this, there are times when the bitter cold can really become an excessively excruciating pain in the butt, …and the ears, toes, fingers, nose, and even eyes.

We haven’t even received a bill yet for the last time the vet was here when the extreme cold contributed to ending Legacy’s life, and now we need the doc back this morning to take a look at Hunter at a time when it is again so cold that the tools of an equine veterinarian barely function.

It’s hard on the horse and hard on the doctor trying to help him.

That makes it hard on us.

We ran an errand last night to pick up a propane heater in hopes of taking a little of the edge off for the vet while he is working in the barn.

I don’t think I was as grateful as I should have been for the relative luck we had in the prior four years of being first-time horse owners. I basically had no idea what I was doing when it came to being responsible for the ultimate well-being of our herd. Some days I would return from feeding them and realize, if asked how they were doing, I hadn’t really even looked them over all that closely.

I guess that set me up to have a sense that problems were few and far between, and I came to see that as normal.

This past year it feels as though it’s been one issue after another.

Instead of things getting easier with time and experience, we are in a phase of experiencing just the opposite, and it seems to be reaching peaks of difficulty that coincide with drops in temperature.

It’s got me feeling not so bold, after all. In fact, I caught myself having thoughts last night of the type that snowbirds express, like wishing to be somewhere warm during winter.

It’s a blaspheme of what I hold sacred!

I’m from Minnesota! The bold north! I love winter!

 

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Written by johnwhays

February 2, 2018 at 7:00 am