Saturday, September 3, 2011

Educating Yalla! darkness

Yesterday, I watched a movie titled Riding Tornado. I highly recommend it. It's the true story of a distressed young man and a very disturbed, uncontrollable Arabian stallion. Pierre, the young man, finds a horse whisperer/missionary in South Africa and takes the horse to him. Instead of working with the horse himself, Barrie Burger tells Pierre what to do. Like so many inspirational stories, Barrie teaches patience and self healing. One of his suggestions to Pierre was to go out to the horse in the dark of night and just be with him, no talking, no touching. Barrie said that the horse would seek Pierre out for companionship when he was ready. He told Pierre to softly blow in the horse's nostrils (yep, there it is again) and only touch the horse if Tornado wanted it. Then, Pierre began taking Tornado for long walks at night in the Kalahari desert. Barrie said that the man and the horse would have to trust and depend on one another in the darkness. It's a good story; the changes to Tornado are incredibly visible throughout the movie and the cinematography is amazing!

This movie inspired me to go out for a late night visit to my own equines. I used to like to ride at night but since my ankle injury, I haven't. I considered riding last night but the mosquitos were out in full force. I was wearing a sweatshirt and leggings but they still bit at the exposed skin on my head, face and neck.

This photo is from another day but I thought I'd post it anyway.
It was very dark going to the barn but my eyes quickly adjusted and soon I could see well enough to go visit the horses. First, I visited my sweet Nadia. She nickered softly to me as I stroked her neck and murmured sweet nothings to her. She is looking really good right now for her 28 years. There was a spell where she lost weight and was continuously shedding her thick hair. Now she is sleek and soft coated. She still needs muscle tone but I have to keep her separated from the others so that she can eat and she tends not to walk around much. Since I've been feeding the alfalfa hay, her appetite has picked up. She used to leave hay scattered all over the place. Now, sometimes, all the hay is gone. Good girl!

I moved on to Scout, Yalla! and Annie. Scout is much more forward than he has been in a long time. It seems like since the accident in April where he reared and fell over backwards on me, he is trying to make it up to me again. He is such a sweetheart that I don't blame him for what happened. I think he lost his balance. I really do need to show him that all is well with us by riding him out again.

Annie was her usual sweet self. She loves to be loved but she is easily intimidated. She came right up for hugging but quickly backed off when Yalla! and Scout got in the way. Off and on she would come over to me for a scratching or nostril blowing and then back away again.

Yalla! never quits. She wants to explore my boots, my pockets, my hands, my hair. She loves to have me blow in her nostrils. She stretches her head up and towards me for more. The "vee" between her forelegs is one of her favorite places for scratching. I really need to start taking her for those midnight walks like in the movie. I just didn't feel like it tonight with the skeeters biting me. I did, however, walk away from the horses and down the arena to the log. I sat down and waited to see who would come. Right away, I heard galloping hooves. Yalla! was there in the darkness with me, again nosing everything on my person. She so reminded me of Tornado in the movie, when he turned towards Pierre for "games."

Yalla! and I heard something outside of the arena and, true to her name, Yalla! or "Let's Go" in Arabic, she bolted away, back to the safety of the barn and the other horses. She immediately turned around and galloped back to me. A coyote began howling several yards away and she tensed, but this time she didn't run off. She moved closer to me, protector, or for protection, I wasn't sure which, but she stayed with me as the coyote continued to howl and bark, in the nearby darkness. I swear that coyote was trying to sound like a barking dog. Other times, I've heard a coyote sound like a cat meowing.  I wondered if it was the same coyote. If so, he sure had a knack for mimicking his prey. The coyote moved on and we heard other sounds nearby. I suspected it was Sandy and called for her. I went over to the gate and there she was, waiting, afraid to go in to the horses in the darkness. Smart girl. She's been kicked and chased often enough by Yalla! that maybe she's wisening up although I doubt it. I think it was the darkness that intimidated her. I said goodbye to Yalla!, climbed over the gate, and patted Sandy down, telling her what a good girl she was. I could hear Yalla! galloping back to the barn and her herdmates, as Sandy and I went to the house together.


Dan and Betty Cooksey said...

A great post. That's an interesting idea to visit your horses in the dark. We'll have to try that.


Deanna said...

Excellent post - will have to check out that movie!!

Shirley said...

What a lovely evening spent with your horses. Sometimes, in our busy minds ans lives, we forget to just be in the moment with them- and our dogs.

Mary said...

I totally enjoyed this post! It was so calming how you descibed it. I really want to see that movie. Your little herd seem so nice, that coyote would have scared me a bit, but I'm glad it moved on. Occasionally I can hear a pack howling not to far from here and it sends chills up my spine, I live pretty close to town too, they must be hungry. I worry about my cat Buddy, but so far so good.

fernvalley01 said...

I love to be with my horses in the evenings to, they are so settled and loving ,just happy to stand with you

Breathe said...

I have to tell you, I blew in my horses nostrils this weekend. It was remarkable...

Now I need to go out at night... ;)

I'll try to find that movie. Can't get enough good horse flix.

achieve1dream said...

I loved visiting my horses at night. I went out almost every night to look at the stars and hug my horses while they grazed. It was always so relaxing. :)

I want to see that movie. It sounds really good.

I sometimes wish we could read our horse's minds so we could know what Yalla! was thinking when the coyote was howling. I think it's so cool she stayed with you. :D