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Carmel Rowley


Here I am again, reflecting on all I’ve written and already I’m writing and planning a new idea for a book. There’s always so many highs and lows as one strives to complete a manuscript and as the months tick by it often it feels an impossible task. But they say time and energy fuel creativity so I search inside myself to create a vision, or a path to follow.  Often when I become stuck I looked towards the people in my life, the people I read about and the people living lives that interest me. As well as the people around me I also think about how I can include the horses I love.

“Plant the seed of desire in your mind and it forms a nucleus with power to attract to itself everything for its fulfillment.”  Robert Collier

I often looked back at my past and realised every book had much the same amount of pressure. But I did make a point of making notes of encouragement to myself and highlighting my best, my most productive and the time where a valuable lesson emerged out of stressful times. This assisted me to round out and understand the emotions of my characters, the secondary characters, and even the horses. I had to know for sure that this is what I want them them to do and this is how I want them to do it. In the days when I cleaned the stables, every day I daydreamed about the characters . I set the stage for them and played out entire scenes in my head. It’s all a little different now, the stables no longer need to be cleaned because there are no horses in them. But my visual images remain.

The past images flicker and come to life. I remember how I felt every time a stallion snorts at the horizon, a newborn foal stretches out in its first real gallop or a mare nuzzles her foal for the first time. Even the sense of achievement when your horse is settled and happy as you ride it or it executes the perfect flying change. Those who have known special horses, understand what I mean. 

Even when you lose a special horse they never really die. Years on you still see them clearly and still feel the same emotions, hindered only by a tinge of regret that they are no longer there to touch, ride or enjoy. I feel it’s such a privilege to have enjoyed half a lifetime breeding Arabian horses.

Naturally, I have horse characters in my books as well as human so it’s always interesting to think back to the decades of interacting with our horses. Guess what? I’m still learning. But it’s a fascinating journey though sometimes horse behaviour still remains a mystery. What helps to develop a positive bond with a horse?  What influence does human management and care have on the relationship between horse and handler? What can be adapted to have a positive influence on the relationship?

In an interesting article https://www.horsetalk.co.nz/2014/01/07/why-horses-make-best-kind-friends/   (have a read if you feel inclined) Norwegian researcher Anita Maurstad notes, horses lead their lives partly with humans, partly with other horses. Horses appeared to learn to relate to people in ways that provide them with good quality of life. The findings will strike a chord with many owners, who cherish their relationships with horses. But not all relationships will necessarily progress smoothly. Not all relationships are plain sailing.

Others researchers have found that horses can buckle under exactly the same kinds of stresses that affect humans: learning difficult new tasks, boring day-to-day routines, poor relationships, negative reinforcement, insufficient rewards, and troublesome bosses (trainers). Behavioral scientists suggest these stresses as with humans can lead to frustration and neuroses.

After living  closely with our horse’s for many decades it became obvious that there was a vast difference in the attitude and behaviour in all our horses. The horse’s own temperament is often the basis on how it’s experiences have modeled its response to humans. 

There is a kind of intimacy created through this sort of horse, human communication. Working to know an animal without being able to speak involves humans being vulnerable and being exposed to doubt or even physical danger.

But when it comes to creativity analysis and self-reflection, people tend to give a lot of weight to words and thoughts. There is no doubt that horses can help humans develop a different kind of knowledge, one sourced in the mind and the body.

“For him who is joined to all the living, there is hope.” Beautiful words, when you think about what has gone and what is yet to come. Horses are truly a great legacy to assist humans learn about themselves.

Do you want to understand the universe? Quietly place your hand on your horse’s neck and think about how he came to being. In some subconscious way, every horse increases the understanding of life, and gives hope.

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