We’ve got some superstitions and ghosts floating around our barn. Today, I came out to find one of the bad omens. I always know that I’m going to have a tough day if I find a dead mouse in the water bucket. Sure enough, some little guy decided Silk’s heated bucket was a Jacuzzi last night. It makes me so sad when it happens. This was the first one in a long time. When we first moved in, there must have been some bad juju because I was finding floaters several days a week.
I’ve learned some interesting history about our property since we moved here. Our street is named after a Black woman who was the mid-wife, medicine woman and healer in our town during the 1700’s. I think her spirit still lives up on the hill in the “way back” near the altar or grave made of stones nestled in the cedar trees. People often mention to me how tranquil and soothing it is to be here. One friend even called it “enchanted".
There are at least two horses buried near the barn. One was white and the other black. I believe that Silk and Siete feel watched over by them. The girls and I can sense the presence of the Horse Ancestors. When I first bought Silk, I kept her on a ranch in San Diego. Near the cross-ties, there was a small shed used as a tack room. When a horse died, the owner of the place always buried it behind the shed. There was also a dirt trail going out from there to the bridle path. Many horses refused to walk on that trail, and my trainer used to say that they could feel the ghosts of those dead horses. Silk never minded going out that way, and I actually always said a silent prayer to them to bring us back home safe.
Some of the good omens in our barn here in Connecticut are the birds. A barn swallow built a nest in Silk’s stall the first year that we arrived. She cleverly placed it in a hollow created by the way the rafters were built, so none of the babies can fall out. This year’s babies never really left the barn. We now have three or four birds living in both stalls, and the horses appear to enjoy their company. I’ve been putting out some birdseed and suet cakes for them now that it’s cold.
Last summer, when they flew out of the nest, one of them rested on the floor of the stall next to Siete. I noticed the little bird when I was feeding the horses, and I was afraid Siete might accidentally step on it. Carefully, I led her out of the stall into the corral and closed the door so the bird was safe. Then, I got my 93-year old mother to perform her magic. She’s always been the best at bird rescuing. She pulled out a pair of white gloves from her drawer, telling me that to pick up a baby bird, you should always wear the softest gloves. Hold the tiny creature, she carefully settled it on a branch of the big pine tree. As soon as she stepped away, the mother bird joined the baby on the big flat needled surface. My daughter and I like to think that the little bird is now one of the residents flying around in our barn.
If the notion of Horse Ancestors interests you, check out a book by Kate Solisti-Mattelon with photos by the wonderful Tony Stromberg called “Conversations With Horse: An Uncommon Dialog of Equine Wisdom”. Linda Kohanov also writes about them in “The Tao of Equus” and her new horse cards and book, “Way of the Horse”, which also has beautiful illustrations by Kim McElroy. And may the Horse be with you.