Horses, the way to a dialogue
Hiking and encounters with free grazing horses
September 15, 2018
I’ve all the time being respectful, never very confident, of horses roaming free the mountain ranges; so wild, free, strong. Sometimes it happened that one of them, clearly the dominant of a group, approached me with decision and a clear message: you are not welcome here; and I had to go. In other circumstances, I also approached other kind of horses, but anyway, keeping a sense of awe, never being very confident.
During one of my lonely hikes in the Apennine mountains, I experimented a different feeling, after meeting two herds of free range horses.
A hike and two encounters
The first encounter was close to tiny lake Bozzo, that they used to drink and bath. In the beginning, my approach was cautious; the horses felt it and run to the other side of the lake. I also followed the banks, and then simply sat, like in a sit spot, drinking my juice and watching them, every now and then. I was simply sharing the space, taking my time, and enjoying the sun, just like they were doing. We stayed together, calm, watching each other with interest and curiosity, until I went away.
Continuing my walk, after a couple of hours, I reached the top ridge of mount Fontanini, a horse grazing area. I sat down in a clearing, to have the possibility of choosing either sun or shade, while having my light lunch. After a while, I heard the sound of the bells of the horses approaching. In general I do not like to have those heavy animals around since after lunch I take some rest; other times they came, risking to make a mess of my things laying on the ground.
Instead this time no, I decided not to go away. I, on the contrary, simply assumed to be a part of the place, exactly as the horse were. I finished my lunch, then my rest, with them all the time around, quietly doing their things. When I went away, I crossed the herd and they stayed quiet. I waved them good bye, continuing along the open ridge.
Maybe my nature connection improved, so that I could better communicate with horses. Or, maybe, I by chance found particularly available horses? I will test myself again.
Memories of previous communications
Once home, it came to my mind that something was perhaps already going on. I remembered a day, late January, when I descended from Foce di Torsana, a high pass in the Apennines, with a strong pain in my right foot; it took forever and I was down almost at sunset. Because of the pain, I was really challenged and needed to communicate with someone. Just before reaching the village of Comano Castello again, I passed by a horse paddock, with some horses inside; they were very dirty, because of the muddy ground. One of them came to the fence. I approached him the usual way, trying to touch his head with my hand.
As a result, he shook his head, did not want to be touched, but yet searching for an approach. He leant his head out of the fence trying to sniff me: that was his way ! As a matter of fact, they cannot touch us, so they do like our hand contact.
In response, I approached my head to its one, cautiously letting him sniffing my face. As a result, an immediate feeling was established. I stayed for some time, during which fatigue and pain were faded, then I was sad to go; perhaps the horse as well.
When I tried again this experience with very clean and noble race horses at the hippodrome of Cesena, it worked exactly the same way. In addition, I learnt that horses like to use their taste sense, as well, for a getting to know. But, in this case, some caution is needed: their teeth are big and strong and a friendly bite can turn to be quite dangerous !
Free grazing horses. Filippo D’Antuono. piudimille.com. All rights reserved.