Saturday, January 16, 2010

It's in the Air

On Wednesday, a funny thing happened with Silk. I was rushing to take my daughter somewhere after school. It would be dark and later than usual when we returned, so I decided to get the horses into their stalls and feed them before I left. Siete was good as gold, but Silk absolutely refused to go back into the barn.

This is totally the opposite of what normally occurs. Silk stood in the pasture like a statue, defiant. I asked nicely. I fed Siete and walked away. She never moved, although her nostrils flared when she heard dinner dropping into Siete’s bucket. I was exasperated because I was running late, but I stayed calm. The worst case scenario was that I left her there with the stall door open and no dinner until I got back. I really didn’t want to do that since it was icy already, and I knew that she would be upset, which she would undoubtedly express by running around. Since both horses are walking soundly on all four legs, I wanted to prevent any more injuries.

So, I walked out to where Silk was poised and just motioned with my arm for her to go to her stall. She spun and ran in. Good, I thought, that’s done. Then, she came barreling out again, almost knocking me down. She ran back into the pasture and then back inside the stall about six times without stopping. Siete watched with her head hanging out over the Dutch door, looking surprised and curious but not interested in joining her mother. I just stood there trying to figure out what was wrong while my best friend rushed back and forth in front of me, tail up and snorting loudly.

I checked my body language. I wasn’t shaken up or angry. I was tense from rushing, and by now, we were indeed going to be late. I knew my daughter was waiting anxiously in the car. I realized that as I had approached the pasture in the beginning of this incident, my mind had been filled with problems I was having with my mom and with images of the suffering in Haiti. Had Silk picked up on this or was there just something mysterious floating around that was causing those who are extra sensitive to feel rattled ? Silk is definitely tuned to a higher frequency than most of us.

I’ll never know, but I focused all my attention on making everything okay for her. I told myself that it didn’t matter if my daughter was late. I’d take the blame. I let go of everything except helping my horse. When she ran into the stall again, I could tell she was getting tired, and I just stepped in front of the door and blocked it. She dropped her head and relaxed instantly, almost relieved that she had to stop. I rubbed her neck and talked to her for a few seconds, and then closed the stall door. She got her dinner and a flake of hay. I could see that she was tensed again when I filled her water bucket. I told her that I was only going away for a couple of hours and would check on her when I got home. She watched me anxiously, peering over the Dutch door as I walked away. Pulling out of the driveway, I could still see her, eyes following our car until we disappeared. It was unnerving, and I kept wondering if she knew something that I didn’t know.

Both horses were fine when I got back. Silk’s demons were letting her rest. The last few days, I’ve made an extra effort to spend more time around the barn, just cleaning up and fixing things that I haven’t had time to deal with now that we’re having a couple of warmer breaks in this bone chilling weather. I know that I’m hyper-sensitive to Silk, as she is to me, so I’m willing to chalk it up to the change in temperature , or maybe she sensed the presence of some animals in the woods behind the barn. Or perhaps she was just picking up on the intense but unexpressed emotions I was feeling as I watched TV and read the news about this horrible earthquake.

If you are wondering what you can do that will make a difference in Haiti, here’s a group that has been providing medical care, taking care of kids and building hospitals there for a long time. Partners in Health (PIH) is an amazing organization , and they really need our help right now.


detroit dog said...

Sounds like Silk has some greyhound in her!

Very sad times in Haiti; who thought it could get worse? We give to Doctors Without Borders.

detroit dog said...

BTW, that's an incredibly cute photo!

Victoria Cummings said...

Doctors Without Borders are working with Partners in Health. There's a really good book about the founder, Dr. Paul Farmer, called "Mountains Beyond Mountains" by Tracy Kidder. Hopefully, all the giving will get to the people who really need it.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Horses never cease to amaze me with their powers of intuitiveness. I'm sure she picked up on some of your feelings and reacted the way she did because of them. Glad everything worked out in the end and I hope nobody got in trouble for being late.

Anonymous said...

I'm a big fan of both Doctors without Borders and Partners in Health.

Wonder what was up with her - perhaps there was an animal in there - we've had skunks take up residence in one of our paddock sheds, and the mare who goes in there has had a similar reaction.

deejbrown said...

Your relationship with Silk is a gift to you both. Who cares about late. In time, a daughter of you will understand, as does Siete about her own awesome mother.

Wolfie said...

I am certainly not an expert, but I would like to think that Silk picked up on your tension and purposely did something to take your thoughts away from what was weighing you down. I think she was worried for you.

Terrible what is happening in Haiti. We did our donation through the Canadian Red Cross.

Deborah Carr said...

I'm glad all is well with you and the horses...haven't visited in such a long, long time.

I noticed you mentioned Mountains Beyond Mountains in your comments...must get this book; it keeps popping up on my radar screen.

Pony Girl said...

I love the picture with this post.
You are always so reflective and insightful on your interactions with your mares. I love reading about it!!

logue like vogue said...

Have you ever thought of doing a television show (or webcast) about horses? the hoofbeats! radio herd in Ontario Canada is craving a new medium and we'd welcome your help!!!