Thursday, July 8, 2010

Dual Faceted

"In considering the 6,000 years of equestrian adaptation, it was noted earlier in this book that horsepower was dual faceted: progressive yet destructive."--Pita Kelekna from The Horse In Human History

Tourist season on Manitoulin Island is in full swing, filled with high spirits and a sense of adventure and discovery among the visitors who've come to experience the transportive qualities of this special place.

For those individuals who happen to venture into the Wharf building and discover the Ravenseyrie Studio and Art Gallery, the visual delights include a photo and written presentation of the Ravenseyrie Sorraia Mustang Preserve tacked up in the ample foyer. As visitors take in this overview, many questions are brought to me, with one question being asked more frequently than all the others: Do you ride these horses?

"Astride the horse, man truly has become the creature of his own imagination - centaur, part god, part beast - capable of great intellectual feats but also capable of ruthless destruction."--Pita Kelekna

When the concept of our preserve was in seed form, I had every intention of including dressage training in the lives of these primitive horses, and perhaps one day, a bit of this will indeed occur. For now, my entire being is swept up in the world of these horses, with the full realization that they have a complete life--rich with familial bonds, environmental learning, exercise and playtime, rest and relaxation, an expansive array of plants to graze/browse for food and medicinal needs, oppression and relief from the natural fluctuations of our regions climate, and movement, always movement. Like waves on the shore and winds in the trees, these horses are ever-flowing with the moment. One becomes hard-pressed to extract an individual from this heady equine-centered realm and impose human-centered education upon them.

Contemplating the sobering words Pita Kelekna chose to close her academic volume of horse/human history and recognizing that seemingly from the very beginning of these relationships, humans have mostly subjugated horses for pursuits which accelerated the violent and dominator predilections of a few over the many, I've come to recognize that the life I share with Kevin at Ravenseyrie provides a unique opportunity to explore a different facet of being with horses--one that is centered upon their world and their way of being and not that of the human world.

One thing is certain, these primitive horses--who in reality need nothing from humans (except enough habitat to sustain them) even so desire a relationship with us. How fascinating a thing this is! What a gift!

My aunt connects with Ciente, during a recent visit to Ravenseyrie. Look at the softness of this "wild" mare and the utter fascination and delight on the face of my aunt (who is not a "horse person") as she touches what one can arguably say is a "living fossil".

Dedicating ourselves to come to an understanding of horses by being with them in ways that do not use them as beasts of burden or sport/pleasure tools may facilitate a beneficial evolution in human intelligence that leads us away from violence and domination and strengthens our capacity for understanding and cooperation--which may be exactly what we need to keep us from ultimate destruction.

"Should we not pause to rethink? In our unending quest for acceleration, perhaps we need to seek a different form of speed - cerebral rather than quadrupedal."--Pita Kelenka

Can you believe this is young Silvestre, Ciente's colt born last summer? Check out his sale page for more updated photos.

I should also add here that another query which I receive as frequently as "Do you ride these horses?" is: "Is your preserve open to the public?" I think a preserve like what we have here at Ravenseyrie would be an excellent attraction for people to see rare, primitive horses in a natural setting and learn more about how different horse/human relationships can be when not based on "using" these incredible beings. I'm going to work towards helping establish an interactive Sorraia Mustang preserve elsewhere on the island that will be managed by someone other than me...this is a future dream I hope to realize. For now, however, the Ravenseyrie Sorraia Mustang Preserve is not open to the public.

My home is a very private place and it is where I go for solitude and restoration after giving myself to the public all day at the studio/gallery. I'm usually exhausted from the stimulation gained from mingling with people during the day and find it vital for my mental balance to be alone with the animals as much as I can in the mornings before I go to work and in the evenings when I come home. The best I can offer the public right now is they are welcome to make the lovely drive up the bluff perchance to see from the road the horses grazing in the open prairie, and stop by the studio to talk with me during my regular business hours. When I am at home, I am "off-duty". I truly appreciate your patience and understanding in this regard. When something public is available, I'll be sure to let the entire world know. Until then, you all have this interactive blog to follow closely the lives of the horses here at Ravenseyrie.


June said...

Ok, there's nothing else for it. We'll all have to become related to you. I will be your Great-Aunt June.

Máire said...

Do enjoy your solitude in that beautiful space. Solitude is so necessary in our world. I like your quotes also.

Lynne Gerard said...

June, since my calendar tells me that I will turn 50 years old later this year, I suppose you'd be more a distant cousin to me than a great aunt.

But anyhow, certainly you, Maire and other devoted readers would be welcomed to make an appointment to come see the horses should you, Maire or any of the other regular readers of this blog find yourselves on Manitoulin Island.

It's the unannounced "drop-in" visits that are difficult for Kevin and I to work into our lifestyle.

June said...

Expect a visit from your third-cousin-once-removed one of these days!

How exciting to have another new foal! Yesterday, I visited a barn to trim a mini and saw a 3-day old mini foal. He was cavorting all over the place, and was so small that he disappeared every time he went into the weeds.

The mini that I trimmed belongs to a teenage girl and follows her all over the place and lies down beside her if she sits in the field. I wonder if minis display this kind of behavior more than full-size horses because people are softer and more trusting with them .... ?

JEN-SKA said...

I'd love to find myself on Manitoulin Island someday! I am really very social but I don't like it either when people show up without asking. Well ok, it's usually my mother-on-law so that makes it worse ;)

June said...

Let's go on a field trip to Finland, Ireland and Manitoulin Island!