Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Discovering Serenity

Horses grazing below the flight path into Lond...

Lately, I've been exploring websites dedicated to the adoption of rescue horses and I'm not entirely certain why. I don't have the disposable income to purchase one, much less care for it, and make no mistake, having horses can get expensive. But I'm intrigued by the fact that, because of rescue organizations, a horse can be obtained for a relatively small investment.

I've noticed registered Thoroughbreds, for example, selling for less than a couple of thousand dollars. That may seem like a lot, but it's small change compared to what the same horse would bring, purchased from a breeder. Not all Thoroughbreds are race horses; the ones interesting to me would be for hunter-jumper type riding, but even there, you could easily lay out five to ten times the amount you'd pay for a rescue horse.

In actuality, it's the concept that lowers the price. Most shelters are smaller operations and turnover is important for maintaining cash flow. The point, however, is to find good homes for animals who've been mistreated or, particularly in hard economic times, given up because their owners can no longer afford them. In that sense, it's no different from going to an animal shelter for a dog or cat, where you'd naturally expect to pay less than if you'd gone to a professional kennel.

This still doesn't explain why I've been looking nor why I've recently dreamed of being held by a horse's gaze. According to one source, horses that are darker in color represent mystery, strength, and endurance. The ones in my dreams have definitely been dark and the look in their eyes is mysterious, so we can put that in the hopper. Mostly, though, I think I just miss their company.

A couple of years ago, one of my fellow students suggested I go out to a local stable and rent one for the afternoon. I thanked him and declined. I want to establish a relationship and renting is too much like hiring a maid in the anticipation she'll act like a wife. She can cook, clean, and iron your shirts, but don't be disappointed when she goes home after a hard day. Not that I'd expect these things of a wife; I'm sufficiently liberated so as to share household duties and can definitely iron a mean shirt.

No, having a horse in your backyard goes deeper -- it's grounding. It connects you with a peaceful center that a walk in the woods imitates but can't quite replicate. Or so it is for me. I notice it going by my neighbor's pasture when her horses have wandered near the lane my dog and I walk. I know them by name, having become acquainted one day when they got loose and trotted gaily past my house. I ran after them, lariat rope in hand, Cowboy Beggar gone back to his roots. Anyway, we stop, I speak, they look back at me intently, and something passes between us that, for all the world, feels like discovering serenity.

(Public Domain image via Wikipedia)
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