After graduating from Horse Spirit Connections in Tottenham the owners asked me to farm sit while they went to Hawaii. In January of 2018, I was excited about spending 2.5 weeks looking after the herd at this wonderful farm.
I spent many hours hanging out with the herd while they grazed. It was a wonderful opportunity to observe and interact with the herd while they were at liberty. I enjoyed observing them interact with each other and watching the dynamics play out. I felt like a special guest in their world.
After some time I was unable to resist interacting with them. There were two separate herds each with about 4 horses each and no two personalities alike. The Pasa Fino herd consisted of “Aria”, a no-nonsense diva-type mare, and her son, “Starlight Dancer”, a high-spirited mischievous gelding. “Contendor”, a white gelding not tall at 14 hands but huge in presence was also part of the herd, and “Paris” a lovely black quarter horse mare. They were all different in personality, but it was clear Aria made the decisions for the herd as lead mare and Contendor executed them.
Contendor had a strong countenance and I found when I was in his presence it felt large. He is hyper-sensitive and does not like to be brushed or touched. It seems that his skin feels things against it much more than other horses. I always found it difficult to not touch or pat him as he is truly beautiful with a lovely white coat.
After spending time with each horse, I approached Contendor, he flicked his ear and raised his head when I approached him. He visibly flinched when I came within three feet of him and I remembered he doesn’t like touch so I backed away. I told him I wouldn’t touch him (even though I so wanted to). I told him he was beautiful and wanted to respect him by giving him space.
I turned my attention to the beautiful sunset and observed the horses grazing under the gold ball that was slipping below the horizon. It was a beautiful moment! While I stood there, I heard a horse coming up behind me and I stood perfectly still knowing I was safe. As I stood there, I was the recipient of a back massage from a velvety nose and it felt wonderful. It was Contendor, and I believe he was thanking me for the respect I had shown him.
I will never forget that sunset.
Sue Dixon, owner of Partnering Horses with Humans, is a Certified Equine Assisted Learning Facilitator through Horse Spirit Connections and Cartier Farms (Dreamwinds), and a Registered Coach through Equestrian Canada. Sue and her beloved horse Egalie were the 2014 champions of the beginner division of the North East Trillium Hunter Jumper Association. Sue has a degree in Sociology from the University of Waterloo.
Sue has 33 years of experience working at a local corporation with leadership in quality and health and safety. Sue’s role with Partnering Horses with Humans is that of facilitator; helping clients find their own wisdom by tapping into the horse’s wisdom. Sue operates her business out of two locations and offers services and workshops to individuals, couples, families, and workplaces.