Auguries of Innocence William Blake
Lots has been said of the horse’s life at a barn. Studies have been made to translate what each twitch and gesture communicates to the rest of the herd. An equal amount of less scientific study has been done to analyze the human residents at the barn as well. Most of these are comical in nature. EquineInks post yesterday is one of these studies that shouldn’t be missed!
It is a sad thing indeed, however, if while at the barn one gets too concentrated on the discipline of riding and the social opportunities at every washrack to enjoy the abundant nature reserve they’re visiting. A few silent moments is all that is needed to appreciate a conversation between the birds in the trees or the rhythm of the water in a creek. If you don’t have time to stray from the barn there is still plenty of wildlife all around you. Now is the time the barn swallows are building their nests preparing for spring. Some barn owners consider them a nuisance and go to efforts to discourage them from nesting in the barn, but I enjoy seeing the baby birds poking their heads out of the nests high above the stalls until they are ready to fly on their own!
Several barns I visit have barn owls which are more difficult to spot during the day but have made the occasional appearance, and their “hoot hooting” is unmistakable. Blue Herons are one of my favorite residents at barns that have bodies of water to host them. Care must be taken, however when riding by them as their sudden flight may startle a horse. Still worth having them around!
When catching your horse from his paddock, check the fence line for hawks, they sit very still and wait for mice and other small animals to move in the field before snatching them up and flying off for dinner. I have seen them carry away small snakes. These birds are but a few of the ones you can see and the hundreds you can hear if you slow down, listen and observe what’s already there.
Slow down when you have the chance and listen to the wind, the gossiping birds and the horses happily snorting and stomping. Experience life at the barn as your horse does, you won’t miss much if you take one less cellphone call to do it. Don’t let the pressures of everyday life hurry you into missing all of the glimpses into nature’s conversations that we are privileged to by virtue of our horse’s friendship.