Monday, June 28, 2010

if only you believe in miracles

This ended up being a long post - sorry - grab a cuppa and get comfy-bode somewhere.
Pie is back to his sweet, secure self. I rode him alone a few evenings in the ring asking him to bend and listen to my signals at the walk and trot. This must have re-established our bond as horse and able rider because he is confident and secure again out on the trail. I have to mix this in every week or so. Unfortunately, our temperatures haven't cooperated with much riding over the weekend. The evenings "cooled down" to 87 degrees so I have just been grooming and grazing both bleached out horses. They like the attention and Pie enjoys the brisk currying to remove the day's salt and dirt. Sovey's skin is thin so I slowly use the soft brush to remove the salt. He insists on planting himself in the forebay to be tacked up, but I just can't face the prospect of tacking and riding in the heat. I think our temperatures are to get back to normal tomorrow (Tuesday - which is today now, because it has taken me so long to post - blame summer!). I drive over to the barn each evening in the crankiest mood in the world from the heat and tiredness of the day. As I groom the horses, I feel the nasty mood just melt into thin air. The miracle of horses.

Afternoons in the air conditioning have left me time for contemplation and I have been thinking about a few interesting horse related and non-horse related "miracles" that have brightened my days. I already posted about "Sovereign's Miracle" (click here) and there are more.
This is a photo of the tables Brian builds with antique French chairs grouped to the side. The table is in the field next to our house (not at the farm where our horses are located). I adore this photo because it shows the lovely meadow that is part of the farm, Ryegate, where I took lessons. You can read about my lessons here. My horse, Penny Lane, was boarded at Ryegate when we bought her and I rode her out and around the fields a few times before we brought her to our farm. Amazingly, when I was in 8th grade, I rode her right across the front lawn of the house I live in now without ever knowing that it would be my future home!!! Ryegate was a show barn in the 70's and 80's. Sadly, the barn burned in 1992 and some horses were lost. After that, the farmhouse was rented to many different tenants. In the summer of 2005 when I was firmly in the middle of being an attentive mommy to little Maizie (translation: no horses in my life) I would stare longingly towards Ryegate and reminisce about my horse days there. I knew I would have horses again one day, but there were times when I just wanted to smell a horse's breath or groom a horse. That June, my thoughts were particularly horse-filled, and then, on June 27th an older lady pulled her car into our drive and asked if we knew anything about horses! She was the mother of the people who were renting Ryegate's farmhouse. They went on vacation and left her in charge of 2 mares and a stallion kept in make-shift stalls and she couldn't handle them. Miraculously, for 2 weeks I walked morning and evening through this gorgeous, fragrant, meadow to groom and turnout the three horses! Can you believe it?!!! They moved away now, but what a fortnight of fun for me just when I needed it most.
This summer, I have been lamenting the fact that I don't live where our horses are located. I would like to wake up and see them, or spend time with them during the day. Our yard is only 3/4 of an acre so it is impossible. There is a small fenced pasture behind us where another neighbor keeps cows. I told Brian and Maizie that I wish we had a donkey in our yard. Then, about two weeks ago we heard this loud honking noise. Brian said it was a peacock, but I know peacocks, and this wasn't a peacock. We went outside in the early morning sun, and there was a donkey in with the cows!!! We kissed him and fed him grass and loved him up. We found out later that he belongs to our neighbor's brother and he fights with another donkey so he has been sent out with the cows for a few weeks. We are so lucky to get to visit with this sweetie pie!

Here is another amazing summer miracle. This one starts way back in 1976 when I was in third grade! The photo above shows me to the left looking like a goofball. I am not sure why I am making that face, but I am with my friends, Lynne and Gary and our teacher, Mr. Mason. Mr. Mason was the kind of teacher who changes your life. The three of us were lucky to have him as our teacher for three years. He was brilliant - as in really, really intelligent. He forced us to think artistically, philosophically, mathematically, in ways that I haven't since. He shaped who I am as an artist and a thinking person. I lost touch with him when we went to middle school. In 1998, when the internet was in its infancy, I decided to look for him. I found a man with his name and an address right beside my sister-in-law and we were going to her house that very night! I couldn't believe that it was really him so I didn't pursue it. This year, though, when we arrived at my sister-in-law's house for my niece, Emma's, graduation party, I was met at the door with the above photo! I was shocked to say the least. It ends up that Mr. Mason does live beside Brian's sister and when they went to ask him for extra parking room, they made the connection and he gave them this photograph. Brian, Maizie and I went directly to his house -what a happy reunion!!!!
The last uncanny happening involves a coyote on our farm in May. I have hesitated in telling this tale because I know coyotes can be troublesome and even have brought terrible sadness to some blogging friends. I will just relate our strange encounter.

This past winter, my mom kept finding a black leather glove on the trail in the woods. She would move it to the side, but the next day, it would be back out on the trail. We would ride and see the black glove and laugh because she thought someone was playing a trick on her. In a few weeks there were more black leather gloves and they would be piled up in the hay field. We really were having fun with this. My mom decided it was a skunk playing with the gloves! (How she came up with that, I will never know, but that is my mom!) I kept saying that it was my dad visiting her, because my dad had so many leather gloves for golf and winter. He definitely had an obsession with leather gloves.
The next thing that happened was that Pie and Sovey's Jolly Ball was taken out of their pasture and was in the hay field near the gloves. Mom thought the horses "threw" it out there, but it was too far to have been tossed. Everyday I would put it back in the pasture, and the next day it would be back out in the field. Then, one day, the handle of the Jolly Ball was chewed up like a puppy had grabbed it.
In May, Mom was walking her dog, Eby, on the bridle path trail and they saw a big coyote. Our farm has had coyotes for many years, but they are usually the smallish, sickly, scraggly-looking ones, barely bigger than a fox. This one, was very large and healthy and fluffy. My mother was scared to death. Well, that explained who took the Jolly Ball and was assembling the gloves, but now what? I was worried about the horses, my mom was worried about Eby, and the neighbors were worried about their cats.
Around that time, I was grooming Pie one morning and I saw a large, German Shepherd-looking dog trot into the pasture with Sovey, nibble on the mineral tub, get a drink and start in my direction. His eyes were golden yellow, his ears were pointy, and his trot was too light and airy to be a dog. It was the coyote. As soon as he spied me, he flattened his ears and acted scared and slinked away under the fence.
The next evening I received a frantic cell phone message from my mother. She was screaming so loudly that I couldn't understand the beginning of the message. Then, there was silence, then, my mother said, "oh, it's ok, they are playing." It ends up that my mother and Eby went over in the evening to check the horses' water and feed hay and the coyote was in the pasture too. Eby ran immediately into the pasture and the coyote and Eby together ran out into the hayfield. They sniffed each other and then, miraculously, started running together and playing. My mom said that they were each assuming the dog "Play Position". They played the entire time she watered and fed the horses. Every time she would go to try to collect Eby, Eby would growl at the coyote so mom just went home and they kept right on playing. Eby came home and from then on, the coyote would make appearances here and there. Mostly, it stayed in the pasture right between the horses, although Sovey would often chase it out. We joked that the coyote was my dad because he was the most dog crazy person that ever lived and he loved Eby so much and, of course, he loved gloves. The coyote disappeared now, with no ill reports from the neighbors of any damage that he caused.
Whew, after writing all that, it is 1pm on Tuesday. It is less humid and not as hot, so with luck, I can return to riding and I promise less lengthy, horse related posts!


  1. Thanks for all the wonderful stories!

  2. Horses are wonderful for making bad moods go away. The only problem is when you have to get out of the barn and go into the house all your problems pile back up again.

  3. omg...what fun magic is going on around you guys!!!!!!!
    I'm a FIRM believer that if you think things...they can certainly come true. Seems to be that way in your neck of the woods :)

  4. What wonderful stories!! I can't believe that coyote! You are right that there aren't too many good stories about coyotes. I can't believe Eby was playing with it! Crazy stuff indeed!
    That is amazing that you found your teacher! And that he had that photo!!
    Thanks for the wonderful stories! Brightened my day!

  5. ah, see, who needs facebook. *lol*


  6. You have lots of miracles to be thankful for. And you are very lucky to have a visiting donkey. Be wary of playful coyotes though. Maybe it was just having fun, but I've heard many accounts of a coyote playing with a dog, only to lead it back to where its pack is waiting, and well...the fun ends there for the dog. We recently had a pet dog in our neighborhood torn apart by 3 coyotes. In this case the stupid owner had the dog on a chain in the bait. Department of wildlife came out and said the coyotes have been getting aggressive, coming close to houses and approaching dogs being walked on a leash. Does sound like an inquisitive and playful coyote with the gloves and jolly ball. But I'm glad he has moved on. Maybe the donkey sent him packing. They are quite beautiful though, when healthy and fluffy. However I get creeped out when they come close to our house and yip and yowl.

  7. This has been a most interesting month for several people that I know. Lots of strange coincidences and "funny" things happening. I think the coyote story is very you think it is significant? We have coyotes around but they keep a low profile. I don't think the farmers around here like them near their livestock. I have seen some on the trail and they paid no attention to me. But your coyote seems....different somehow, special in a significant sort of way.
    Isn't that so incredible that you found your teacher? That is a good story. I wish I had had better teachers when I was a kid. They all seem terrible in retrospect!

  8. This is my first visit here and I'm blown away. What a terrific set of stories and stunning images.

    I'm a big coyote fan, but I've never heard of one playing with a dog!

    My horse and I recently went through a similar passage of reconnection, something that has to happen often...


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