|Stacy and Hans by Kristi Valerio|
by Stacy Schmoyer
We have been extremely blessed and very lucky to be having such an incredibly warm winter here in New York. I don’t believe in all my 28 years here on the east coast have I ever experienced this mild a winter.
I wonder what it is doing for the plants and animals. For us humans, we love it and see it as sheer bliss. I wonder about how this is for my horse. How is his body affected by this? Is it affected at all? I wonder about the horses in public riding facilities if they feel anxiety or stress that when the weather gets warmer, they know their human “companions” will be asking more of them. Will the vets have more injuries this winter? Will there be more colics? Will the thrush be difficult to contend with?
Without really knowing any of the answers to these questions, Hans and Shorty and all the rest of the horses here press on and take what the day brings. Sun and peace without any predators or bugs. I lay in the field feeling so blessed to be able to do so in the middle of the day and listen to him doing what he was meant to do to to survive – graze softly as his instincts pull him to the lush blades of first growth baby grass. As he blissfully closes his eyes as he finds what he needs, he does it again and again all in the name of survival.
Just as horse trainer Mark Rashid points out, the horse is at his softest when grazing out in the field. For the rider, this is the softness that is being searched for. No longer am I interested in seeking that softness – I have already found it by simply leaving Hans be. I wonder if he knows this and now when I come to see him he greets me with a trot over and a body rotate to the exact placement to get a good scratch. For me? This is better than any blue ribbon I’ve ever won.