Monday, 14 July 2008

Experiencing the elements

There is not much to say about the horses at the moment. I feel as though I am on holiday. Dee is out in the field all the time and will be for at least another week. I do not go up to the stables unless I have to, as I feel the fewer people they have moving in and out the better. I know Red is well cared for by Jayne and that Sally is overseeing everything. So I have no stable to muck out, no feeds to make up, and no heavy barrow to push up the muck heap. Unfortunately I also can do no riding.

I visit Dee every day in her field. Although it is quite warm, the weather over the last week has been torrential - raining cats and dogs as they say in England, or raining old ladies and sticks as they say in Wales. In view of this I have been putting a light rug on Dee which I would not normally do in the summer. She probably doesn't really need it, but it feels kinder to give her a bit of protection from the heavy rain we have been having.

Although the rain can be inconvenient, I have greatly appreciated the wonderful skies. The different colours of the sky have been extraordinary - from a featureless grey, to deep purple, to blue - and the cloud formations have also been beautiful and expansive. Recently grey skies have not seemed to be so grey - there seems to be a hint of rainbow colours. Often it has seemed that we have experienced several seasons or several day's worth of variation of weather conditions in a single day. It can change from sunshine, to rain so hard it stings like needles, in a moment. Then it may suddenly be bright and sunny. Later it may become very windy with threatening clouds. The only thing we haven't had, surprisingly, is thunder storms, though an electric storm has often felt imminent.

Someone once said to me that people are afraid of the weather these days - that people go from their front door, to the car, and from their car into centrally heated or air conditioned buildings without experiencing the weather to any great degree. I'm not sure this is completely true for the majority of people, as I see plenty of people still walking their dogs up to Coed y Wenallt whatever the weather is offering, but I do think it is good to have an animal like a horse or a dog that makes us get out into the elements. Essentially our nature is elemental - the solidity and form or the earth element, the fluidity and flow of the water element, the vitality and warmth of the fire element, the motility and energy or the air element, and the spaciousness of the space element in which all the other elements perform. The play of our lives is the drama of the elements, and it is helpful to experience the raw elements of our environment to remind us of the raw elements of our being.

Today it stopped raining, the clouds parted, and the sun shone hot and clear. It was quite hot when I arrived at Dee's field and I was concerned that she might be too hot in a rug. When I bridle Dee or put her halter on in the stable I now always open the tack in front of her and allow her to place her nose in. However I had never tried this in the field before. I had always felt I had to 'catch' her - be quick and whisk the halter on before she decided to move away. Today - especially as it did not particularly matter whether she allowed me to put her halter on or not - I tried this in the field. I walked part way across the field calling her, and then stopped when she started to come towards me. It is fascinating how she approaches me in the field. She does not walk directly up to me, but heads off a little to the side, as if she wants to keep me guessing about whether she is really coming to me. I waited for her to come by me and then held open the halter just as I have been doing in the stable. There was a moment's hesitation where she looked as though she might turn away, and then she put her nose into it. I was delighted.

We ambled down the field to where I had left a little pile of carrots and apples waiting for her. While she ate, I removed her rug and groomed her. Then I slipped off her halter and left her to graze. Hopefully the weather will be less extreme for a while and she can be out without a rug for the rest of the summer.

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