A boy called Standing Horse

I’m the kind of person who is kept up at night with a mind running 120 miles an hour.
“Oh woe is me how i regret this!”
Damn it, i wish i could sleep.
“Why did i say that?”
“Why couldn’t i have been different?”
“Also — why is the sky blue?”
Son of a b—- ! Let me sleep. For the love of christ. Let me sleep.
But alas. I’m up and i’m thinking, rarely anything good.
I need to let go. I need to breathe and realise that i am allowed to make mistakes.
My poor heart of guilt and self judgement needs to rest. Something only i can fix. I didn’t walk out of the womb in a flourish of perfection like an 80’s star walking away from an explosion. I came out kicking, screaming and covered in placenta — and while i wont say im going out the same way, i know i’m not going out of this world in a suit and tie.

That’s why today i’m telling you about a boy i knew called Standing Horse.

Recently an old memory has crept into my brain and i’ve been thinking about it a lot.
A small thing to anyone else but it sits in my minds eye like its trying to tell me something. What am i missing? Obviously something is missing. Its been bothering me and i don’t entirely know how to form the story in my head, so this blog post might be a little all over the place.   As some of you know I’ve worked at a lot of farms/barns/horse ranches whatever you want to call them in my life. And one day, a new horse came to a farm where i was working. There was something special about this horse and i took to him immediately. He was young, but big and had a permanently concerned look on his face. The time came around when I had to clean his stall. So in i go with a wheel burrow and a shit picker. When a door is open nature tells you, almost urges you, to go and see whats on the other side and especially with animals this instinct is strong. And so this sweet boy was curious and peers out over the wheel burrow and down the long line of stalls, hay bales and horse faces appearing from their doors. He was very meek tempered. I always enjoyed doing his stall the most because he did his business in one place and though it weighed a tonne, it was a quick clean and he was super fluffy. But he was in my way. So i asked to him back up. He look at me, but didn’t move. I said it a little stronger and waited for him to move, but again. Nothing. I started feeling like a bit of an idiot. Why wasn’t what i was doing working? I’ve never had an issue with getting a horse to back up in my life, so what the hell? But yet, here i was with this guy who would not back up and move away. Standing Horse stood there and looked me right in the eye. And i looked right back at him.
I could see his eyes resting on me — there was so much going on in his mind.
That i knew.

A few people who would say “he needs to learn to get outta the way and out of your face. This is unacceptable.” Others would immediately rise to anger or frustration. Clouding their vision in a manner that closes their mind to whats really happening. To me getting mad doesn’t do anything when it comes to animals, it has no place.  It’s just a matter of miscommunication. So when he wouldn’t move i stood for a while and felt agitated because i was embarrassed.
“The others probably think i don’t know what i’m doing, even though i know deep down i’m better at this job than them.”
But as he looked at me it was like he was telling me to open my eyes. Something about the way he carried himself and how he stood, was telling me something. I couldn’t quite read him and thats why i think back to it so often. I know in my heart that he wasn’t misbehaving or being contrary, i just knew —  though maybe i’m describing it in that fashion. I hope not.
But I listened to him, though i didn’t fully understand. I spoke to him softly. I remember a few days before i saw a woman walking into his stall and just going nuts by shoving, flaying her arms around and demanding he move because she wanted in and out so she could get back to her 5 star life with fancy cars, fake nails and herd of over pampered children who smelt like mini-prostitutes with their perfumes. I could see his shoulders tense and his nostrils strain, the whites in his eyes showed he was very uneasy when she did this. He backed up unsteadily with his back ridged and his neck overly arched. In my core i simply hurt for him and wanted to drag her out of there. She invaded his innocent space and wanted to show him she was the boss.
I don’t want to be that type of person, ever and i never will be.
I understand you have to know what you’re doing around big animals but theres more than one way.
There is always a better way. Now i know well enough i’m not an expert, but for me if something doesn’t feel right it just isn’t right. Simple as that. If my life has taught me one thing its to trust my god damn gut, because it ain’t wrong and its brought me to great things and saved me from bad situations. And it has forced me into a time where i have to face myself and open my damn eyes to whats around me and what matters.
For me horses are a blessing. A therapy. A great gift that are so often taken for granted. Their freedom belongs to their owners — its a sad way of putting it but that’s the cold truth of it. If i had my own i’d make damn sure they lived as free as i could afford. Whether they could ride or not, that means nothing to me. The companionship, welfare and mutual understanding is the most important.

Standing Horse

I’ve been feeling like an idiot for a long time because i didn’t just move him because thats what the others do, and i questioned my abilities as i so often do, but now i’m trying to understand what the deeper meaning was. Why is this so important to me to remember?  The hardships of a journey i’m on. I don’t believe a horse is a “pet” for me to break and decide over, i don’t believe its something you sell when you think it’s given what its got to give (which is something i’ve seen so much of that it makes my soul bleed). A horse, like a dog or any other animal for that matter, is for life. It deserves a herd, a partnership, and mostly deserves to be happy. I don’t want a forced relationship of take take take like everyone else. To me an understanding runs much deeper than that, and mutual respect is stronger than money can buy. I was told once that a horse chooses you and i believe there is truth in that. A horse knows if you are truly good and i believe they can read you like a christian reads a bible. They know every page, verse and song about you – better than you know yourself. They hear your secrets and show you what you must learn, but you must be open.
Today i realised that this was a test. Was i willing to stop what i was doing to listen? Was i willing to take a minute to understand another soul even if it meant my job would take longer to be completed? Was i willing to understand this animal better? To be different than the others? And i was. I was willing to get it wrong because there was a chance i was misunderstanding what was happening. It’s a lesson i’m still thinking about and learning from today. A lesson to trust your gut and not give a hot shit what anyone else is doing or thinking of you. Be good to yourself and listen to your instincts. I carry it with me in my heart. I mustn’t feel like an idiot because i didn’t force him to move,  but i should be proud that i took a minute to understand what he was telling me. Life is a journey where everyday has obstacles to remind you to open your eyes and stop hustling and start looking. I didn’t move him and if i’d done like the woman i saw — i know i could have but i wanted to be better than that, even if it made me look like i didn’t know what i was doing.

I gave him the name Standing Horse, and thats how i will remember this lesson.
A horse that doesn’t move has words to speak. So let them speak.

He was telling me i didn’t need to show him i was boss, i just need to do what felt right.

2 thoughts on “A boy called Standing Horse

  1. You have put words to an extremely important point. This ‘pause & listen ‘ is so important for all; humans and animals. Smukt skrevet 😍 and I agree; all animals you get, are for life.

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