Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Fourth Day of Christmas: Gratitude for Calm Horses

"On the fourth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
4 calm equines,
3 fuzzy dogs,
2 flightless birds,
and an old farm in the country."
As my revamping of the 12 Days of Christmas continues, I can't pass up an opportunity to voice my gratitude for my four horses.

Theo: My Big Buddy.
Specifically: I am exceedingly grateful for their well-trained calm.

Too often, upon discovering that I have horses, that I train them, or that I've written horse-themed books, someone will say, "Oh. I had horses once." (Occasionally, this sentence is modified to "I rode a horse once.") What follows inevitably is a tale of destruction, woe, and a near-death experience.

"It didn't want to leave the barn, see, 'cause that's where its friends were. We tried to take it out on the trail, but it took off for home. It ran about 56 miles an hour through an orchard. I held on for as long as I could, but..."


"He'd been a racehorse, see, so it didn't have any steering or brakes. Once I was riding it. My two little sisters and me were bareback on it. And the neighbor's dog came out and spooked it. It took off hell-bent for Sunday. We hung on as long as we could, but..."

The people who tell such tales come in all shapes, sizes and colors, but their stories are astoundingly similar. I always feel sorry for their lack of quality horse experience.

For me, the best part of having a horse is the relationship we have. I love walking out to the pasture and having a creature that weighs over a ton see me, leave his grass smorgasbord without a backward glance and come thundering up so I can scritch him.

Today, we have four fabulously Zen equines:

There are the two Percherons, Theo and Lily.

Hannah, the Quarter Horse / Paint, is my daughter's mare -- an honest babysitter if ever there was one.

And then there's butterball Birdie, a Welsh-something pony who rides and drives, and whose favorite place to be is in your pocket, looking for treats.

They're not deadheads -- far from it. All of them can get up and go far faster than I can move. But the wonderful thing is that when they choose to move, they do so as willing partners instead of trying to get away from me.

My horses are an integral part of my life. Their beauty, grace, strength, and trust provides me with a source of constant wonder. Every time I look out the window, my heart overflows with gratitude.


ProNetworkBuild said...

I imagine that this entire writing experience, "revamping" the 12 Days of Christmas has been great therapy for you!!! It has put them into a different light for me as well. Thank you for taking the time to write them, Ami.

Yes, waking up and deciding to have ONLY the things I have demonstrated gratitude for? That was a compelling and inspirational argument for demonstrating more gratefulness this holiday season ( in your first day of Christmas, not the instant one ). I thank you again for opening my eyes to the whole wonder of the world.

I have taken to thanking my Higher Power each evening for things I am grateful for. It changes the world around me, Ami. I can be grateful for my sister's brain cancer!! I can be grateful for weird things people do that are inconsiderate. I can be thankful for the guy who cut me off in traffic, I can be grateful for everything, once I start being grateful for one thing, I can be grateful for everything!!

Miracles start to happen, life becomes a pleasure, and smiles light up the room, even when I am the only one with a spark.

Happy Holidays, and Keep it up.

Lonny Dunn Tweets at @ProNetworkBuild

PS: I owned horses, we rode them daily, and one did in fact throw me off when I was 4 years old. I was one of the first people in the world to undergo what was an experimental technology: something called a CAT Scan!! LoL How's that for some trivia?

Ami Hendrickson said...

It has been quite therapeutic. I'm working up a post for @BlissHabits' blog on gratitude that deals with the thorny issues of "being grateful in all things." WunderGuy has been through brain tumors, surgery, and is now undergoing radiation. If looked at head-on, there is little for which to be thankful for. However, when viewed through the kaleidoscope of hindsight and history, there are many reasons to be grateful for our situation.

Cultivating a grateful spirit, IMO, isn't for the faint of heart. It's easy to be thankful for the obvious things. But even when things are tough -- when the job, the money, and the health are gone -- there is much about life that still merits thanks.

I'm discovering so much to be thankful for in the process of cultivating intentional gratitude.

I love your line: "Miracles start to happen, life becomes a pleasure, and smiles light up the room, even when I am the only one with a spark."

-- I agree wholeheartedly!