High Hunt Field Notes

My perspective has been reframed by a set of sorrel ears.  Everything is better with a horse.  I have ridden Resero every single day since we arrived in this basin and assembled the tipi.  Last night after riding, I untacked him, put him on a long lead, sat down in the grass with a book and let him graze around me — a casual togetherness in a beautiful place.  Every now and again I spooled him up, spoke to him softly until he dropped his head and muddled my fingers with his lips and then with the comfort of closeness to him, I settled back into reading and the last warmth of the sunset.  I am charmed by him when he is aloof, when he’s being savage and sensitive and without confidence, when his head is up high and his eyes are focused on something distant and futuristic in the sagebrush and he is completely unaware and uncaring of me.  I am charmed.

I have been passionate about horses since I was five and I figured out how to overturn a grain bucket and scramble up a white mane onto the warm back of a palomino.  I have ridden all my life and sought equine companionship as often as possible, leaning and reaching over barbed wire fences for soft muzzles on country roads in different states where withers and swaybacks matched the curve of distant ranges.  It’s only now, now that I have him, that I can say I am officially a student of the horse.  I study him with a curiosity that is as wide as these Idaho valleys and every detail I learn about him and his kind is like a white mountain looming up before me, an exultation of illumination.

Day by day I learn the power of his mortal being and the curious workings of his mind.  His essence is complicated because a portion of him belongs to the wind and so he remains, at his very core, ethereal and ever changing.

I can call his gentle warmth the zephyr.  I can call his changing from coldness into warmth, his softening and resulting calm, the chinook.  I can call him tempest, gale, squall, breeze and when he moves with strength and confidence, I can name him jet stream.  But no matter the shape he takes in any given moment, he moves with a freedom and power, no matter how strong or weak our connection in any given moment.  Though I am with him, though I ride on his back in a way that renders us dependent upon each other, we remain separate until I channel him to such an intensity that our passage through space is effortless, my communication invisible and his responses become the definition of fluidity.

His very self is utterly natural, who he is today may not be who he is tomorrow.  Yet, he is true to who he is, moment by moment, so that every bite of grass or breeze-braided piece of mane is God given, humble and brimming with quiet destiny.

He is simple.  He is true.  Being with him makes me wonder about my own homeostasis.  Who am I when this spinning world sets me down in silent rest?  How far or close am I to my intended self, the beautiful design of my God-hungry spirit, the unfettered cloak of my crackling soul (in me is a flame that requires no fuel)?

When I step forward through the sage, I, too, am all the names of the wind.  I shuck the four walls that seek to bind me, the pressures that attempt to define me in a singular way, the crush of the things that hope to press me into being one thing, but not another.  I look out, I turn in place, I see four directions and I set out into space.  I am free to move fast and to rise in the gloaming so the sinking sun becomes my halo and I am rich with the gold of the world.

This is my house, this crown of peaks in this gaping wilderness.  I forget where I come from.  I can’t recall where I’ve been.  There is the spin of cycles and seasons — moon, wind tides, blood, breath, earth spin, sunrise and sunset, planting and harvest, the headwaters of a river, the holiness of the springs as they pour forth from stone.  Every blade of grass rises up in worship.  Every living thing sings praise.

The material of life recycles itself in infinite ways and I watch the rotation of elk into wildflower into river riffle into exhaling trout into riparian zone into bear tooth into mule deer whisker into me.  And more or less cosmically, in me there is the very life and death of the innumerable cells that build and bind my body together, the everturning wisp of a thing in me that shines outward to illuminate beauty and understanding and closeness to the eternal so that everything I encounter is as large and as small as a burning star and a sage leaf, thrumming and holding steady through the span of time.

 

Fresh Up

I am stocking my shop shelves at 4PM (MOUNTAIN TIME ZONE) today!

I hope to see you there.

I look forward to spending copious amounts of time in the studio this month now that the fire season is over and Robbie is home.  Thank you all for being here and for your everlasting patience.

+Of The West+

http://www.thenoisyplume.com/blog/2017/10/03/13280/

Resero

I bought a horse in July.  It is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.  I grew up riding horses and ride every chance I get but I have never truly had a horse of my very own.  Resero will arrive at the farm with much pomp and circumstance in the first week of October — which is to say, my sister and her boyfriend are hauling him to Idaho for me and I am going to do a little dance when they pull through the gate, around the corner where the old apple trees stand and come down the final stretch of the driveway to our house.

Let me tell you a few things about Resero.  His name means cowboy.  He is sorrel with a tiny star on his forehead between his eyes and a huge white splash on his rump (it’s getting bigger as he grows up).  He is seven years old.  He is sturdy yet elegant, built somewhat like a mustang but with a refinement to him that makes him seem like a gentleman.  He likes corn on the cob, unhusked.  He is a Peruvian Paso.  My sister’s boyfriend bred, raised, trained and competed on this horse in a professional capacity — to Tanner’s credit, Resero is a great horse because Tanner is a great horseman.  When I sit on his back I feel like I might be siting on a lightning bolt.  He has fire and charisma but also a very fine quality to him that I can sense when I look into his eyes and feel when I urge him into his gait and collect him up tight so that all his fire and power seems to reside in the thickness of his arched neck where it curves up and away from my quiet hands.  He’s majestic and utterly masculine.  In short, he’s superb.

I never thought I would wind up with a Peruvian; gaited horses were generally off my radar until we bought the farm here on the Snake River of Idaho.  My neighbors have Peruvians and I’ve been able to ride those horses over the past year and I really fell in love with the breed.

I randomly texted my sister about Peruvians about six months ago and she almost immediately told me that she and Tanner had a horse she thought would be perfect for me.

I rode him while in Alberta — in the arena and on the trail (and in a river, as you can see here) and I knew he was mine.  Something I love about this horse is that he challenges my skill set.  I am a good rider.  Resero asks me to be excellent, because he, himself, is excellent.  I must rise to meet his high standards.  He’s going to make me a great horsewoman.  For that, I am already grateful.

I’m just mad about Saffron…

…Saffron’s mad about me.