We have been trying to capture a picture of Dee doing this for a long time. We have numerous blurry images of her ears or the view of the stable where her head was a moment ago, having just missed the opportunity. This is called the flehmen response and it is Dee's habit to perform this several times after a feed – I have never seen any of the other horses on the yard do it. It is quite an extraordinary sight.
I have been noticing habits and patterns recently, and noting how my daily routine touches other people's: the pigeon fancier who frees his pigeons to stretch their wings at about the time I set out for the stables . . . the lady walking her dog with a gammy leg and a waggy tail . . . the Rhiwbina Ramblers with trousers tucked into boots striding out on a Thursday morning . . . and also on a Thursday, several women leaving a community hall carrying large pilates balls. Our lives are so entwined and interdependant. We may think that we are the centre of our sphere of being (Sanskrit – mandala, Tibetan – kyil'khor) but our reality can be more enjoyable, creative and playful if we allow ourselves to be defined more by our periphery – by the people and circumstances we come across in our lives. If we open ourselves up to enjoying the dance of life around us, we have the opportunity to be less focused on the 'being-me' project which can dominate our lives and limit us.
Regular contact with horses is, in my opinion, particularly good for opening ourselves up to relaxing and appreciating our peripheral circumstances. There are chores that have to be completed, some of which I find physically quite demanding, but the pleasure I derive from the contact with our horses enables me to engage with these chores daily without any sense of resentment even when I'm exhausted. When riding I have to be aware of the horse's perception of the world as well as my own, the movement of her body and my flow with that, and relax into the horse/human interaction, which again loosens my fixation on self-focus. I feel most fortunate to have daily contact with my horses and for the benefits they give me as a human being.
I think Dee is appreciating having flax bedding again. She has clearly been lying down during the night. I am glad that she feels sufficiently comfortable and secure in her stable that she can relax so well.