I know next to nothing about horses, or at least I didn’t up until two months ago. That’s the whole point of this blog; it is about my own personal discovery of horses, not what I’ve been taught or read in a book, but what I come to understand about these graceful beasts through my own experiences and contemplations. Up until moving to Wyoming from Loudoun County, Virginia this summer, I’ve had very limited access to horses and few experiences. I have gone horseback riding three times in my life, but these were brief, paid, outings through professional services that didn’t afford much intimacy with the horses nor allow me to get to know them too well. When I lived in Loudoun County I would see a few horses on my daily strolls, but horse culture is much different in Virginia than in Wyoming. In Virginia, horses are much more a luxury of the rich, and I confess, I projected that aspect onto the horses themselves, perceiving them as some sort of elitist, snobbish, animal. Occassionally on my walks the horses would come up to the fence and let me pet them, but these encounters were too infrequent and short to allow me to develop any real understanding or meaningful relationship with them. The day I moved onto my forty acre ranch in Sundance, Wyoming on the first of July, 2020, all that changed.
The very first thing I saw driving down my gravel driveway for the first time was a group of four horses galloping along my fenceline to the backdrop of the setting sun over endless, rolling, prairie. That beautiful moment touched my heart deeply and I took it as an auspicious sign from the universe, a blessing for my new life in wild, wonderful, Wyoming. Although I was well aware that horses are abundant in this state and can be seen grazing in nearly any pasture, before moving in it hadn’t really occured to me how quickly and to what extent horses would become a part of my daily life. I did not move here with ambitions to keep horses, rather to simply enjoy the peace and quiet of living close to Nature. As I said, I always assumed horses were for rich people and beyond my reach, so I never really dared to dream about having horses of my own one day, nor did I think I’d ever have an opportunity to know these wondrous creatures more intimately. Things are different now.
Where I now live, practically everybody has horses on their land whether they are rich are poor. My neighbor to the south of me with whom I share a fenceline has four. The family across the street has one, and his neighbor to the north has more than a dozen. Every property along the mile-long drive from the main road to my house has horses. And now, I even have two on my own property! I don’t own them but I’m allowing them to graze on my ranch as a favor to my new friend, JW, who has been helping me repair my house. He said the past couple years have been drought years, that good grass is getting hard to come by, and that allowing his horses to graze here would be a big help. What a win-win situation! It’s like having my own horses but without any of the expense or responsibility. I’m thrilled to live with these creatures now and to have all the opportunity in the world to come to know and understand them better, as well as to develop meaningful bonds. This journey is what this blog is intended to capture.
The horses on my land are a bay mare and a buckskin gelding named Cece and Ticket. My neighbor Dan’s horses are a buckskin mare named Macy, a buckskin gelding named Lefty, a reddish gelding named Beau, and an old, black, gelding named Baker. Dan’s horses were already often at my fence and I’ve had plenty of opportunity to get to know them since I’ve moved in, but ever since Cece and Ticket arrived, now they’re at my fence even more often, being so attracted to the newcomers. So everyday I get to spend plenty of time with these six horses. I’ve already established an easy, comfortable, relationship with all of them and have learned a lot, but there is much more room to grow in this regard. As this blog unfolds I will share the many encounters I have with this equine gang of six and the impressions they make on me. I feel it’s worth pointing out, however, that I am asking nothing of these horses but communion and companionship. They are not my horses. It is not my job to correct their behaviors nor to train them, nor am not trying to ride them. I simply want to get to know them on their own terms, as they are, while fully respecting their free will.
Perhaps the experience of writing this blog over the next few months will also prepare me for owning horses of my own some day, which I do now dare to dream of and which I feel has become part of my destiny as an animal love and a Wyoming ranch owner. It will take a little while and I’m in no hurry. I need to start earning better after the professional hiatus I’ve taken over the past eighteen months, and I’ll need to build a small stable and invest in basic supplies from tack gear to feed and watering troughs as well. In the meantime I’ll be reading many books on horsemanship and horsecare, learning from locals, and most importantly, from Cece, Ticket, Macy, Lefty, Beau, and Baker.
As we grow older in life, alas, it seems we have fewer and fewer new experiences and less things to get excited about. Horses are entirely new to me and I’ve very excited to now dwell amongst them. I simply want to share this wonder and joy as it unfolds during the journey ahead. That is the purpose of this blog and I hope you enjoy it. Stay tuned!