Long trail rides afforded Ava ample time to reflect more on who and what a horse’s spirituality might be, and what are his/her desires. Collating her equine thoughts and emotions, she wrote a beautiful treatise of her view of horses, faithfully presented here:
“There is something about a horse unique to itself. Little girls dream of them. For centuries, they have plowed our fields, pulled our wagons, carried couples to the altar, tended to kids, taken us away from danger, and gotten us back home. Horses have brought the bodies and souls of the rich and poor, and warriors, to battle.
“The sound and rumble of the earth under the impact of thundering hooves leaves a heart speechless, stirring emotion to the inner core of both horsemen and horsewomen, including those unaware of the connection with their steeds.
“Horses are empowering. They come with speed, grace, exhilaration, yet they are amusing, compassionate, and soulful. Horses speak with their eyes, and their eyes penetrate through our surfaces and reach into the unexplainable depths within us—places no other animal touches.
“During the Great Depression, a simple racehorse, Sea Biscuit, took people a distance away from their strife, gave them purpose: something better to live for. To the struggling workers of America, at that time, he represented to the downtrodden and poor the hope that good things would happen after the bad. (They always do.)
“And who does not want to root for an underdog?
“Like most animals, the horse’s connection to humans has been fraught with abuse. Yet, century after century, they, like ourselves and other animals, have returned to live among us time and again, forgiving the evils of the past for another chance to fulfill the wants, needs, and dreams of Man. It must be a part of their purpose for existing.
“For that opportunity to relive times gone by and to be reunited, moving together as Life, I am grateful. Still, all has not been a bed of roses, or peachy keen, when dealing with other spiritual creatures, because they have their mind about what they do or do not want to do, as well.
“Horses, for the most part, are large and strong. Their instincts are their inner truth, and they, unlike humans, always listen and obey. Horses, mules, and donkeys do not get in to quibbling about right and wrong the way we humans do. (Should I or should I not? What will others say?) With them, it is all about pure survival: how to avoid pain, escape a mountain lion jumping down from above on top of them, or that fight-or-flight mechanism that kicks in when a person gets on their back for the first time. With horses, it’s, ‘… get the hell out of there, find a better place to be, and stick with the herd.’
“That mindset challenges the horse who is in constant discomfort and is suddenly impinged upon by a saddle and rider. Some do their best to ignore it and go on. Some send gentle signals, at first laying ears back, turning to frown as the saddle is cinched, or swishing the tail when asked to do a particular, uncomfortable maneuver. Or crow hopping: a style of bucking where a horse arches its back and takes short, stiff hops, hooves coming off the ground.
“When the rider fails to notice the subtle hints and calm conversation, a horse will resort to bucking. (And any person who has ridden very much knows where that can land us!)
“Compare that to a discussion escalated to hollering. Even the most caring and ‘in-communication’ equestrian owner or trainer has, at times, fallen guilty to this omission, and only awareness of the early signs avoids the catastrophes.”
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