Last month’s Horse Whispering trivia question really generated quite a response! Thank you to all who participated, and the winner will be announced in the February column.
Eye/hand coordination is important when one is upon the back of a horse. Some ways to improve this skill while increasing your riding skills are: opening and closing gates, get- ting mail from the mailbox, or finding an object that has been hidden while playing games on horseback.
One particular summer during horse camps, we had two cats on our ranch; an all white cat with blue eyes by the name of Gideon Charles, and?a black cat with green eyes by the name of McFly! When Gideon came to us he was a tiny, six week old kit- ten, and was as wild as wild can be. He arrived on the back of the topper on our pick up, and bounced from one corner of the truck box to the other. We put him safely in the tack room with all his necessities. Daily I would go out and sit on a hay bale and sing to him. In time, he and I, along with McFly and two German shepherd dogs would go for walks. We simply enjoyed each other’s company.
As the campers came week after week, the dogs and the cats would be right in the midst of what we were doing. At times we had a blue barrel in the center of the round pen, and we would put objects on it. This served a two-fold purpose: developing better eye/hand coordination, and teaching equine terminology.
The cats and the dogs wanted to be included along with the horses as “teachers”, so they showed up, too. What a classroom! The cats became a part of the eye/hand/ focus/ balance round pen sessions. They were NOT objects, but rather LIVING animals. They chose to come. They chose to jump upon the barrel. They chose?to be touched. They positioned themselves willingly. Relationships between cat and horse and be- tween rider and cat and horse unfolded in this circle called a round pen.
While there existed a place to develop, even master a skill, this paled in the face of connecting relationships. In connecting relationships there is a willingness to be present, to touch and be touched, i.e. to connect, something for which all creation was designed.
“For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now,” quotes the book of Romans, chapter eight. What is the whole creation groaning and travailing about? Two things: for the manifestation of the sons of God, and for the glorious liberty of the children of God. I’ve seen it in the eyes of dogs, cats and horses, and I’ve heard it in the song of a bird, a loon on a lake, or a trumpeter swan flying over… ………“Sons of God, children of God, awake to righteousness!”
Corral Connections: Connecting with LIFE through a horse
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