“Amoretto” Portrait by Kim McElroy
To you I may seem domesticated But actually it’s more complicated Despite what you believe you know about me I am more than you think you see
I am a complex being both intelligent and wise I just happen to have a body that completes my disguise You assume that my brain is a certain way Forgetting that other communications come into play
Words are your way of perceiving your perception Determining if you are receptive to reception But only if you can conceive the conception Will you allow accepting an exception
Beyond all the words is a vast source I know I can help you access it if you are willing to grow Together we can learn to open our hearts Where learning becomes not an act but an art
When I was a child, I wanted to be a wild horse. I galloped on my hands and knees and the floor reverberated with my hoofbeats. My short hair became a long horse’s mane; my face was a horse face, so my expressions conveyed my emotions. I rolled my eyes when I was acting wild. I whinnied to call to my imaginary herd mates.
When I drew horses, I imagined what it would feel like if I was the horse. The horses I dreamt of and painted in my art were intelligent and sensitive emotional beings. They talked in their own language. In truth, I could understand them better than the “real” horses I met.
My only experience of real horses started when my parents enrolled me in riding lessons at the age of eight. But the riding lessons felt more like school than play; more peer pressure than friendship, and more athletic than meditative. I didn’t feel connected to the horse, I felt like a girl making a horse do something it didn’t want to do. When I wasn’t taking lessons I sought solace in the quiet moments I spent with the horses in their stalls when no one was looking. That was the time when I felt like part of the herd, and I could imagine myself as one of them.
I felt at peace with horses when they were resting, but I didn’t know as much about how to intact with them in their other activities. Most of these horses I encountered were kept alone in stalls, so they didn’t exhibit many forms of expression or body language to communicate with each other. Their only interaction with other horses or their environment was when they were being led or ridden by a human
If I had been able to experience the silent communication that passes between horses from the look in their eyes or the positions of their ears, or if I had watched them flick their tails or arch their necks, I would have understood that their expressions conveyed their emotions, and their body language conveyed their thoughts. I would have learned to talk to a horse like a friend to ask it to work with me, rather than thinking that the communication had to pass through the lines of lead ropes or reins.
Intuitively I knew at a young age that horses were meant to express and communicate, and in my art and my imaginary games we spoke that language together.
Now that I own horses and know a little of what that language looks like, I know that real horses are no different than my dream horses.
When we begin to see horses with the eyes of child – with a heart of wonder and joy, compassion and shared experience, we truly begin to experience the miracle of who they are.
~ This entry is titled in honor of my friend Robert Vavra’s most excellent book which was among my first awakenings into the nature of horses www.robertvavra.com