Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dream Your Day

The purebred Sorraia stallion, Altamiro: Bird-Chaser!

Last year I painted a large watercolour of Altamiro. I used for reference a photo of him taken by Leslie Town, of Leslie Town Photography , when she visited Ravenseyrie in October of 2007. Altamiro was a long two year old when Leslie came to photograph him and he seemed very young then but occasionally an aura of his future magnificence radiated outward, and thankfully Leslie was able to capture it.

As I put together the compositional elements of this watercolour, my main goal was two fold, to capture the essence of an island stallion and to suggest a mythical presence which provoked the viewer to reach for something higher within herself/himself. All my watercolours are accompanied by a poem which I have either written for the painting, or from which the painting received its inspiration. As I share with you this painting and its accompanying poem, I want to relay that these were created in 2009, before Altamiro took up his present passion for bird chasing.

Dream your day a bright one,
Make it heart-piercing blue on blue,

Stretch the sky so high and wide
no dark thoughts corner and hide.

Sing into being playful winds
--fresh and free--
Scented with eternity,

Each day is a blank canvas,
Every moment a potential poem...

So dance with Ravens,
if you please,
Life is best lived artfully.
--L. Gerard

What I find fascinating and surprising (yet not surprising) about this painting and its accompanying verse, is that it has ceased to be two dimensional (if it ever was) and has manifested itself in a reality that gallops across the landscape here at least once a day!

How can you and I not believe in magic? Or, the power of intentions?

I'm going to take the opportunity here to answer some of the questions that were placed in the comments section to my last journal entry, and in between I will share some still scenes and video clips from recent energetic activities.

Kris wrote:
"I wonder what the gulls and geese think of the chasing game.... Do you suppose they deliberately gather around Altamiro and challenge him to "catch us if you can"?"

I cannot say I know how the seagulls perceive Altamiro's chases, or what any of the other birds might think. I have seen the occasional Raven single out a horse and swoop down, nearly grazing the horse while uttering a loud "Roark-roark!!" I think maybe some of the birds are irritated by being disturbed by a galloping horse who determinedly chases them, but I think some of them are amused, maybe enjoying the attention and playfulness. All of the birds, like myself, like you who get to see the videos and photos, must think, "Wow! What a horse!"

Eva inquired:
"One question I meant to ask is, does he have a lead mare who watches over the family while he is absent?"

Altamiro's escapades away from his family band are typically not more than ten or fifteen minutes in duration. During the times that I've observed the mares and foals in his absence I have not detected that any of the mares assume a watchful leadership role. They never stray far from where has left them, and typically don't do anything except graze and make themselves ready for his return. Sometimes he will simply rejoin them quietly. Most times, though, he comes back all high from chasing birds and runs the family off into the distance. You can see a bit of this at the end of this video clip, where the family can already tell that he's going to chase them, so they've gotten a head start!:

Eva also asked:
"Does your goose ever socialize with hose wild ones? or feels tempted to join them?"

When the gander was still alive, he would take Bea down to the seasonal pond, where on occasion there would be a few Canada Geese hanging out. They would keep themselves separate, but exchange territorial posturings and make snarky faces at each other. Mostly our geese prefered to stay up in the yard. Now that Bea is on her own, she stays even closer to the yard--a good thing--though her wings are not clipped, she has never flown...too heavy (fat), I think.

June wrote:
" Toward the end of the clip, is Altamiro looking back in your direction in order to receive your accolade??"

Absolutely! Altamiro often looks at the beginning to make sure I'm watching and then after the chase, he looks again, as if awaiting the usual cheering. Most of the time I do applaud him, but sometimes I'm so caught up in the camera work that I forget to yell out my appreciation like a groupie. I should also say that these clips are a mere fraction of the chases we see, and probably there are many we don't see as well. You can almost count on it happening at least twice daily.

In this next video clip, Altamiro has just finished sparring with his two year old son, Animado, and comes running by me fairly close, giving me a toss of his handsome head as if he's showing off just for the camera at that point, or to show me he's a little peeved that I didn't cheer him--but I don't cheer when he's rough-housing (or harassing) the other horses.

And here are some still scenes of when he was making mischief with Animado:

Here's another clip of Altamiro chasing Canada Geese:

Here are some still scenes of Altamiro chasing Seagulls and Redwing Blackbirds:

Once again, chasing Seagulls:

This morning, coming back from "morning tea with Mistral's group" in the far east, Altamiro was delighted to find quite a gathering of Canada Geese to chase up:

Lest you think that the ground these horses gallop so effortlessly over is smooth like a turf race track, I took a photo of of one of how much of the grassland looks. There are rocks, holes, tussocks, etc. mingled throughout all of the flat grasslands:
Here are some still scenes taken from when Altamiro zipped by me in the earlier video clip and tossed his head my way:
Annemiek wrote:
"O Lynne, he is truly magnificent! What a joy to see him chasing those birds. The sounds at Ravenseyrie are wonderful too, besides a Sorraia Preserve you’ve got a great bird Preserve too. I love the way Altamiro receives your cheers, as if he is utterly deserving them. Which he is of course!"

I agree, he's truly magnificent. I'm glad you can appreciate the sounds at Ravenseyrie as well as the visual delights. This is a very "noisy" time of year, and its wonderful. I really appreciate that Altamiro seems to expect accolades from his gal on the sidelines. It's always nice when the "star"of the show gives a nod to his adoring fans.

Maire wrote:
" I love it! Isn't he great? And what a wonderful place you have for those beautiful horses."

He sure is!

Thanks to all of you who have left your comments in the prior journal entry. I enjoy sharing Ravenseyrie with all of you.

Remember to "dream your day a bright one"...Dreams really DO come true!


Spanish Sulphurs said...

HAHAHA I LOVE watching him chase the geese! I am sure his mares appreciate him finding a new hobby of chasing the geese instead of them! I wonder if he would love being a cutting horse?

I have noticed that some horses love being left to their own devises, some love being a trail horse, a cutting horse, dressage horse, mom, dad, etc.

If I were in a position to allow my mare to be a brood mare I would. That is her calling. She is meant to be a mom. However, I cannot allow her to leave my care as every time I do she is not taken cared of very well (not to my standards anyways such as normal care like make sure her teeth are floated so she is comfortable and not suffering with ulcers or suffering with overgrown feet, suffering diseases that are preventable, or anything else that is preventable or treatable. No horse is truly wild anymore save the Prezwalski (sp?). Any horse that is penned in if it is 20,000 acres (or more) or down to 2 acres. If the horse is fenced in, you are required to provide feed and medical care). She is my baby girl. Riding would be her second hobby. She loves going out and exploring the trails. So, at least she still does something she enjoys although it isn't number one... She is being bred this year for her first purebred foal which is very exciting! I am really looking forward to this foal as I think it will be exceptional!

JEN-SKA said...

I just love these video clips, with sounds and sceneries from Ravenseyrie! I feel like Altamiro thinks those bird noises are cheering too :)

June said...

My Highland Pony used to enjoy sheep-chasing - it seemed, as with Altamiro, to be for the joy of scattering them, as he never attempted to actually make contact, although I'm sure he could have. Maybe it's like art for horses - you can make cool shapes with flying-around things.

June said...

Love the painting and the poem, as well as the sentiment contained therein!

Annemiek said...


I just can’t get enough of watching through your blog window. The images, the sounds and your presence (cheering for Altamiro) make me feel as if I am actually there for a few moments. I can even hear the change in the sounds the birds make when Altamiro approaches them. Make sure Altamiro knows he has a whole fanclub that is cheering for him, even though he cannot hear us.
Love the poem! Miek

Hilary Lohrman said...

What a lovely post! I love the sounds, the chase, the happy energy. As the mother of three (adult now) sons, I can say that his masculine energy just radiates from him, he embodies the energy of young men around the human age of 20--fearless, at their peak, full of satisfaction with life!
Isn't it interesting to see how horses--often described as only "prey" animals, have such a strong desire to chase, a desire usually associated with predators. We had a miniature horse who did NOT know that he was a "mini", who would chase squirrels up trees and dogs out of the pasture. Our labels are so often inadequate.

eva said...

I cannot get enough looking at these pictures! I am going to print out this painting and poem in color and hang it into my cube as a reminder that there is a world out there, vibrant, mysteriously alive.

Kate Little said...

Ohh Altamiro is so magnificent and full of life. I admire your world so much. Your painting is beautiful, as is the poem. This post nearly brings me to tears, I feel so connected to the beauty and sounds of Ravenseyrie.

Máire said...

That whole post is poetry. I do indeed dream my day and I can see that you do too.


Lynne Gerard said...

Kimberlee, Jenny, June, Miek, Hilary, Eva, Kate and Máire:

Thank you all for leaving your comments and for taking the time to look at even more video clips of Altamiro engaging in his spectacular pastime of bird chasing.

It is great fun to share these images with you and to know that you find them inspiring.

I've watched Altamiro enough times now to notice that what he most likes is not the initial take off of the birds, but their capacity to fly, for it is those that are flying--he will follow them for as long as the lead and as long as the landscape provides space for. I've also noticed that many of the birds don't leave the area directly, but seem to enjoy flying in an arc or a circle as if they are having as much fun watching this horse run as he is in chasing them as they fly.

It never gets old! I enjoy each and every episode of "Altamiro, Bird-Chaser!"