March 11, 2022
With the onset of spring: thawing ground, sunny days, and shedding horses, the survival mode of winter breaks into more time with the herd. It’s now been about four months that Khaleesi has been on a #nohalter break in the experiment of true choice and the challenge of me leaving my predator nature behind as much as possible to create a new dynamic in my “kingdom”.
I’ve begun to bring Khaleesi back to riding, Hope is looking well coming out of winter and I am sorting out what kind of work will help her mental/emotional/physical healing process, and soon I will begin to make time for more than basic survival and horse-care with Wyoming.
Today as I intentionally and systematically took care of some basic grooming and put my hands on each horse, patiently and in the field with their cooperation, I took a moment in between some curry shedding and grabbing a hoof pick to stand and watch them at a distance.
The question came to me: what kind of kingdom do I steward?
If Khaleesi… or Hope or Wyoming… met up with other horses out there in the rest of the world and they compared notes on equine living arrangements what would my horses say about their lives?
Would they tell the other horses they should all try to get access into the Hope Horsemanship Kingdom? How wonderful it is and why?
Or would they lament the negative effects of my human leadership?
As they grazed and meandered around yesterday, I imagined horses pausing at the water trough saying things like: It’s ok, I mean they work me really hard, but I get fed 3 squares a day and they call the vet when I’m sick. It could be worse for sure.
What would I hope my horses could say about my kingdom?
It is a safe place.
It is a place of peace.
A place where horses are protected
There is stability- the expectations are clear and reasonable to the horses.
Their work is demanding, even challenging but not overwhelming.
They are set up to succeed.
A kingdom where horses are valued regardless of their performance, they are loved.
Their intelligence and sensitivity is recognized yet they aren’t expected to take on more responsibility than they can handle.
There is mutual trust- they are not constantly controlled or micro-managed.
Horses in the HH Kingdom are seen- each is unique and treated as such and they areheard – their opinion matters.
And even sometimes there is humor, fun and joy.
Maybe the most important, transformative would be that in this kingdom, the law of predator-prey between humans and horses has been broken.
If I am entrusted this kingdom to steward and manage, to rule in a sense as it’s queen, how can I use my power and authority not to get what I want, but instead to create this kind of place that serves my horses first?
Is it possible that creating this could give me out of love what I might have taken in force before?
Then what are the larger implications of this in my world? I have been given a kingdom to manage, steward and rule. Do I know what it is? Where do I have authority? In my home, in my family, in my work, in my social circles… How intentional am I of the environment of the kingdom I create?
I encourage you to consider this- in your horse herd, in your family herd, in your work… what kind of kingdom do you want to be known for? What kind of changes may need to come in order to create that place for those you serve?