Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Heart Connections/Jerry & Maeb

Maeb, a good friend, posing prettily for the camera.

We've been having some sultry weather here at Ravenseyrie as we begin the month of September. The evenings still cool down fairly well with the fragrant scent of the dried grasses and Cedar seeming very pleasant a perfume.

As the plants die back, and their seeds dry and disperse, we enter the season of "stick-ums". Local plants such as the Greater Burdock and Hounds Tongue have developed a rather parasitical means of assuring their seeds get spread by clinging fast to the slightest contact with any passers-by. Soon, much of my time spent with the herd will be patiently untangling and pulling burrs out of their manes and tails.

Already the pups have been picking up seeds from these two plants. While Ganja and Tobacco have tight, short hair coats, Shelagh and Maeb have dense undercoats with long hair overlaying it all--making for two layers of seed storage! Thankfully Maeb likes to be brushed (most of the time) and Shelagh will tolerate being brushed if I can get Kevin to stroke her belly all the while.

With the scented warm evening beckoning, Maeb and I went to the east side of the house where there is a nice rock we both like to sit upon. I brought my brush and while Maeb kept watch over the landscape, I began to meticulously work on removing these burrs from her otherwise lovely hair coat.

Here's one of my favorite photos of Maeb, as she visits with Tini Pel. Tini runs the Gore Bay Ballet School and also teaches T'ai Chi--it is from her that I learned the Yang Long form. She is also a fantastic weaver, a lace maker and a good friend.

This was just what Maeb on one time with her Lynne. Having offered readers this description thus far, you might be thinking this journal entry will be about Maeb, and it is, of course--but it is also about Jerry...and once again, it's a demonstration of "heart connections".

While Maeb and I were immersed in burr removal and landscape gazing, the herd came up to partake of the mineral lick located on the west side of the yard. The three draft mules, however, decided to come over to the east side and take in a good roll in one of their favorite dirt wallows. On her way by Maeb and me, Doll paused for a brief "hello" and then continued on to the wallow. Dee glanced my way but was intent on passing by Doll to maybe reach the wallow before her and be the first to roll. Jerry walked up to me and stopped. I gave him itches on his long, handsome face and ears and expected him to follow the girls over to the wallow. Instead, Jerry began nibbling my hat and shirt. Before he decided to nibble on Maeb, she thought maybe she'd go off and scout about the long grasses, leaving me and Jerry together for a one-on-one. I stood up on the rock and began giving itches to Jerry's very long back (too long--Jerry is built oddly) . On his own, Jerry lined himself up for a "mounted itches" session. Even though I wasn't outfitted with adequate footwear to be fussing around these big equines, I accepted Jerry's invitation and climbed up, hoping my cheap foam clogs would stay on my feet.

While I was burying my fingers into Jerry's chestnut hair and feeling absorbed into the mellowness of the evening, I heard Kevin speaking from the kitchen window, saying something like, "Well done, Jerry--you're getting some mounted itches!" I waved to Kevin, then continued to itch Jerry some more, until it seemed time to get down. Jerry didn't budge. He seemed to want me to continue. Kevin came out onto the deck and I asked him if maybe he wouldn't mind getting the camera and getting some photos of "mounted itches".

Kev came back out with the camera and took the following photos. The settings on the camera were being especially sensitive, probably due to the dimness of the evening light, and most of them turned out strangely blurry. I think we should have changed the settings, but oh well, we'll do better next time.

But we have a few so-so photos to show, and at the end...a very brief bit of video.

My friend, Kris, has been after me to get these spontaneous mounted itches documented on video. Its not often that I have Kevin handy with the camera, usually, I'm by myself, and I think Kris would have liked to see things from the beginning, but this gives us a little feel of how "mounted itches" transpires.

Jerry is lined up waiting for me to climb up again for more itches.

I'm up, but as I begin the itches, parts of me get blurry.

Look how in focus Jerry is, but how blurry I am. This makes me laugh, because I really don't like to have my photo taken and so I rather like being blurry!

This one isn't blurred, and doesn't Jerry look handsome!
Bella came around to check out what we were up to. Isn't she lovely!

I asked Kevin if he could take a video too, but not being familiar with this feature of the camera, it took him awhile to find the right button to push. Bella had come and gone back to the other side of the yard and Dee and Doll trailed after her. It seemed to me that Jerry maybe wanted to leave too (now that he could no longer see any of his pasture mates) and I thought maybe I should dismount--but in looking at the video later, I can see that Jerry doesn't look at all concerned about being abandoned by his equine chums. My mental reasoning disrupted the "in the now" "heart connection" that Jerry and I had, and we were no longer in sync. He hadn't altered a thing...but I did, and I realize this now, while putting this journal entry together.

It sure was pleasant being out there and having some nice interactions with my animal friends. Even better that Kevin could record some "mounted itches" for us. I don't know when/if I will ever get back to more formal training...I'm having such a grand time with these spontaneous interactions and learn as much, or more! from them.


Annemiek said...


This looks absolutely lovely. I can only imagine how this must feel for you. Being invited like this by one of you equine friends, truly a unique way of experiencing a heart to heart connection indeed. Obviously you and Jerry enjoy this both very much!

Lynne Gerard said...

You are kind to notice that which is lovely about this entry and ignore the rest! I wish I could do the same!

You see...these photos and the video Kevin took reveal to me that I still have a long way to go in maintaining/upholding my end of the "heart connection"--which is to say I wish I could have gone back to that "lost in a beautiful moment with Jerry" feeling I had before I asked Kevin to document for us a bit of the "mounted itches".

My focus changed, just in knowing that the camera was recording us. There is an obvious tenseness in my posture and actions once Kevin began photographing. A telling feature of this is how I almost act as if Jerry isn't there, when I say to Kevin, "He's going to leave". If the rest of the world had remained merely a backdrop, I would have not spoken to Kevin, rather I might have spoken to Jerry..."Do you wish to leave and go with the others, Jerry?" Maybe if I had done that, I would have instantly overcome the linear/worrisome mind (me thinking he wanted to leave) and realized he was perfectly content, and any disruption of the moment was from my end and not his.

Do you see what I mean by this?

It's a bit of an issue, wanting to document things. For folks that don't have a discomfort with being photographed or filmed there may be no change in their essence as they interact with their horses. But for me, well...its clear I need to stay with the essence and ignore the other presences that might be watching.

Why bother trying to capture such intimate moments at all? (I can hear Jean saying)...because I know there are many of us on our individual journeys with horses that are exploring evolved ways of enhancing our human/equine relationships, and photos help us understand things maybe in a little deeper way.

And, as in this instance with Jerry--photos and video show us where we need to improve ourselves. Which is why, even though it is not the best representation of the specialness of "mounted itches", its something helpful in what it does reveal.

Incidently, this morning, I was quite a ways off from the herd, just enjoying watching them from a rock near the northern treeline. Each one of them raised their heads from grazing and regarded me with casual interest, but only Jerry actually left the herd to their grazing and came right up to my rock. First I scratched his legs while I remained seated on the rock, then I stood up on it. He stepped into line with it and I climbed on for another session of mounted itches and didn't let anything break the spell of "heart to heart". I even asked him if he would take a few steps away from the rock, stepping to the left. He did! This was the first time I have asked him to move while mounted without any tack, and he understood perfectly what I was asking. This I find extremely know we can be so understandable to each other!

What an interesting way to be learning, don't you think?

Annemiek said...

Dear Lynne,

Actually I am sorry to say that I did not really SEE you lose your heart to heart connection on the photo’s, but I do understand what you mean. I have the same feeling when I sometimes want to “show” my heart to heart connection with Rudolf to a friend. Not to show off or something, but to share the wonderful feeling.

The thing is, I think heart to heart connections are so private and so special that they are hard to capture on film or photo’s, or even to exist before an “audience”. Most of the time what is seen on a photo or a film is something that looks like it, but does not necessarily feel like it. I do have photo’s like this of myself. They look like the real thing, and sometimes people are really touched by them, but I know how I felt at that moment, and that is not always the heart to heart connection that I know and treasure.

The only time it works, is when Rudolf and I are not aware of the camera or the person watching. Only then I can truly concentrate on Rudolf and only then it is possible for me to open myself for the connection.

Lynne, I do know this connection between you and Jerry was there, although it was lost because of your “reasoning”, but before that Jerry asked you to mount and you and he both enjoyed these moments. This time you lost the connection because you started to reason instead of feel, but because it is on film you could see Jerry was not concerned after all. So, I think the film made you very much aware of this and I believe this is a good thing. You know now what caused the connection to break, and Jerry did not really mind at all, as he told you this morning by coming to you and connecting all over again. Our horses are so forgiving, and patient I think you (we) should be to, especially with ourselves.

Your “adventure” with Jerry this morning says it all!

Kris McCormack said...

What I saw was this: During the filming, you became tense and self-conscious, so your end of the connection was not as strong and full as it had been. (There are degrees of connection, I think. ) But, you were connected enough to be aware that Jerry was thinking about leaving. I would say that you had already "left" (in your mind, as you drifted into camera shyness) and Jerry was just reflecting your departure. After all, why should he hang around if you weren't there? :-) Once you noticed that *he* was leaving, you re-established your end of the connection and Jerry stayed, waiting quietly for you to dismount.

Connection is not a static thing. It is all ebb and flow, rise and fall, as waves of energy travel back and forth. Sometimes one party's transmission is weak; sometimes reception is more one-sided than others. An observer, or even just the camera in one party's hands, changes things. Photos and videos freeze a moment or several moments. Occasionally a photo or a piece of film will capture a heart-to-heart connection in all its integrity -- but that's a rare thing. I think what came through very clearly in your photos and film, Lynne, is that your friends enjoy these sessions every bit as much as you do.


Lynne Gerard said...

Annemiek and Kris,
Thank you for these additional comments.
I'm sure you are right to note Kris that there are degrees of connection and that they have an ebb and flow.

Still so much for me to learn.

I am pleased that the most important thing did leave an impression, and that is that these mounted itches are something mutually enjoyable, and obviously not something I impose upon my equine friends.

Maria McLaughlin said...

Bella is beautiful!! Love the picture of Tini!!

Lynne Gerard said...

Maria wrote:
"Bella is beautiful!! Love the picture of Tini!!"

I'm glad you find Bella beautiful, too. "Bella' means "beautiful" in Spanish, and was the name given to her by her breeder, Sharron Sheikofsky, who specializes in old Spanish Iberian bloodlines, some of which produce Sorraia types.

And, for sure, Tini's photo looks terrific, as well. I have a photo somewhere with both Tini and Bella in it.

Thanks for dropping in, Maria!