Another busy time. School holidays, husband away and I am still at work. I come home to Ben. He walks up to me, and stays. We greet, scratch, he sniffs all over my hair, yawns, relaxes with his head leaning against my arm and we stay together like that. Those moments are priceless and all the more precious as a year ago he would not have done that. He was not so open or so soft and often had a hint of aggression hanging around him.

A few years ago I read a little book by Tom Widdicombe called Be With Your Horse. It is a gem of a book and first alerted me to the obvious fact that the best way to reward your horse is to stand with them, doing nothing, just being. I remember winter nights in Mali’s stable at her livery yard just standing with her in the dark.

I thought I would spend this year competing Ben in TREC events. Due to a long winter, lack of time and saddle issues this has not happened. I will re-join the riding world after the holidays. Thankfully I work part-time and with my youngest daughter going to school this year I will have more time. But I will not have an agenda of competition. I will work to increase Ben’s fitness, strengthen his back, improve his suppleness and also to have fun. It is so much nicer to take things slowly and stay away from outside pressures, which, at my stage, why should I worry about anyway?



Filed under books, General, riding

7 responses to “Homecoming

  1. Lynne Gerard


    While you are on hiatus from TREC events, you might enjoy rereading Imke Spilker’s book–I’m always finding new depth to her writing each time I read it.

    On page 84 she has a subtitle of “Towards the Horse’s Goal” which is especially helpful when we contemplate “doing” things with our horses. Here’s one quote:

    “If a horse understands the purpose of our work he can experience it as a very personal kind of help and learn to appreciate it. Suddenly he discovers something brand new in being with his person that he finds increasingly interesting–this is about his own well-being!”

    I love the way the are framing Ben as he looks inquisitively at the camera–a nice photo!

    • Lynne, that brought me straight back to Imke’s book, which I will re-read. And that is a good chapter to focus on. I often feel that Ben is quite an earnest kind of horse, he likes to feel he has a purpose when we are together, and then he likes to get on with it. So the challenge that Imke poses is to find the purpose that makes sense to him and is focused on him in a way that he can join with it and make it his own, rather than just going along with the human’s purpose. Interesting.

      I like that photo too!

  2. I love this photo – I think even in the photos you’ve posted here, there is a subtle but visible change in Ben and how he views the world.

    I also love the thought that just standing with your horse is a reward (for both parties!).

    Sometimes I get too busy rushing around the barn/barnyard, doing chores, etc., and the horses and donkeys seem to be sending me the message: Stop!! Just stop for a moment!

    And when I do, they test me – will you stand here for as long as it takes, or will you stop, pat, rush on? They remind me daily that we lose nothing and gain everything when we stop for as long as it takes, which in the scheme of things, isn’t very long at all.

    • Billie, I am glad you see that, because I see it too. One of the great things about blogging is the record it is creating for me of Ben and my journey together. There is no way I would have taken this many photos without a blog.

      I so relate to what you say about rushing around doing the chores – and there are so many of them.

  3. June

    That Ben, he’s a handsome guy.

    It’s funny, I was really thinking about that last night – about just taking time to do nothing at all. That’s what Chloe likes the best. Even sometimes scratching is too busy. And then last night, after we’d sat under the stars for a long time, Chloe introduced the idea of doing some “tricks”.

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