Embracing Happiness

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This past weekend I’ve spent some time meditating on things that makes me happy. A conversation with my best friend triggered a storm in my mind. Not in a bad way.

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. 
― Mahatma Gandhi

I ended up scrolling through hundreds of photos that I’ve taken the past five years. The ones that makes me feel something are all horse related.

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I need to get back into making Equine Photography a priority. The connection I feel with the horses while taking them, learning more about their way of communicating, and the conversations with the people in that world, is actually something that I miss more than I thought I did.

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Maybe my recent purchase of a young horse have something to do with my thoughts as well? Maybe it’s the beginning of the year that makes me feel that there’s a new world of opportunities, and adventures waiting out there?

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I don’t know exactly how I am going to take this to the next level, but I trust the universe to show me the way. There’s a lot of anticipation, and excitement in the air. Here’s some of the photos I found on my computer this past weekend. It’s that feel that I’m after.

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I hope YOU had a wonderful weekend. Do you have any new goals that your working towards 2018? Tell me about them!

Love,

Ms Zen

The Horse-Less Rider

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We’ve reached the end of 2017. I’ve read many wonderful posts, and seen many amazing photos, that wraps up the year perfectly. This is going to be a more personal post. The photo above is my favorite photo from 2017. It’s two wild mustangs at the Virginia Range in Nevada. I’ve been watching the pinto colored stallion for years, and his dad before that. I’ve seen him several times during 2017,  looking very healthy. The stallion was injured last year. It makes me incredibly happy to see him, still wild and free on the range, safe, and in good condition.

For a while my life have been more of the nomadic kind, moving, working, and traveling a lot. To some degree due to my passion for photography. There was so many photos that I needed to take. Places I needed to see. I’m at the moment a horse-less rider. While I am blessed with a tremendous amount of good things in my life, I hate that part. I still wake up every morning thinking that I’m going to go out and feed the horses, and wondering about what horse to ride first. It’s been my life for so many years. It’s not just about having a horse, or riding. I could get a horse today, or ride someone else’s horse today. It’s not that. I crave for the monotone routine of caring for my horse(s) every day, working towards a goal together (wether it is overcoming a fear, learning something new, or getting prepared for an event.) The pleasure of reaping what you sow. The pleasure of feeling that all the time, love, knowledge, and training you put into a horse pays out, when he becomes your best friend and faithful partner. The infinite pleasure of walking out to the pasture any time of the day to share a moment of stillness together. To experience the trust of such a powerful animal as the horse. When the softness appears. It’s that spiritual experience that I miss.

My timeline is to have my life more structured within the next few months, to be able to experience this again. It is exciting, yet challenging to not run out and just get a horse, any horse. I know that I wouldn’t be happy if I did. In fact I have been looking at a few horses. None of them have been the right one. I like horses, most horses, but I’m very picky about the horse that I’m going to invest hours in every day, for many years. I keep reminding myself about that, when I feel impatient. I also make it a priority to work on my own fitness. I’m in great shape, and that feels good. I believe that it is my responsibility towards my horse to be in good balance myself.

In a perfect world I would like to get a well trained, semi conditioned horse, that I can ride from day one. I know that I am going to start many young horses the next coming years, some for myself, and likely some for other people. Having the feel in your body of what it should feel like to ride a well trained horse is priceless in that process. That horse is worth its weight in gold, and he/she would have a forever home with me. I don’t want to get that horse until I am ready to offer that forever home. That is one of the major reasons why I don’t have a personal horse right now. I’m not super particular about breed, it’s more about the individual. That said, I want to get into endurance riding again. Considering that, and our hot climate here, an Arabian, mustang, or cross thereof is most suitable for what I want to do. That narrows it down a little. I enjoy training a young horse tremendously, but when starting a young horse, I do not take any short cuts. It takes a lot of time. That’s the main reason why I at this point would like to get a horse that have a good foundation already. I’ve been without a horse for too long.

After getting to know my new horse, I would want to adopt a young mustang that I gentle and train myself. Having one older, trained horse, and one young prospect is the ultimate bliss. You get to enjoy riding, while having all the time in the world to shape your young horse into your dream horse. I have started mustangs before, and it’s a phenomenal experience. Despite my frustration of being a horse-less rider for the moment, things are going in the right direction. I know that my goal of riding the world toughest endurance race, the Tevis Cup, is realistic, even though I’ve had to postpone the date a couple times. That only means that I’ve had more time to prepare myself, mentally, physically, and geographically. I have actually ridden most of the rugged trail from the start in Truckee (CA,) over the Sierra Nevada mountains to Auburn (CA.) I’ve had time to get more accustomed to the extreme temperatures of the area as well. I feel very excited about the future. Cheers to a prosperous New Year for everyone!

Love,

Ms Zen

Virginia Range Mustangs

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The Virginia Range is just East of Reno, and if you grew up watching Bonanza  you’ve seen it “with your own eyes.” 50% of all the wild mustangs that lives on our continent lives in Nevada.

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The mustangs that roams the hills of the Virginia Range are among the easiest to see, if you would like to see a wild horse. The city of Reno, Carson City, and the surrounding suburban areas are constantly growing, for the wild horses that means that the hills that they’ve been roaming are somewhat taken from them. The water sources are scarce in the desert, and they are forced to use the water sources that are available, even if they now are in populated areas. The debate of the right to the land is not a simple one. It’s sad to see horses get killed by traffic while they are trying to get a ”snack” from someones lawn. The desert is mostly sage brush, very lean grass, and rocks, when the horses see all the green lawns in the neighborhoods it’s challenging to resist them. I’ve also seen people feed them treats from their cars on many occasions. It is illegal to feed wild horses. I’m sure people mean well, simply not understanding the damage they cause by doing it, (causing horses to colic, founder, and get killed in traffic.)

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These horses are not on BLM land, and therefor not protected in the same way as mustangs on BLM land. The Virginia Range Horses are classified as stray/feral livestock, when they cause nuisance (gets into neighborhood, highways etc) they get rounded up, and loose their freedom. They are sometimes sold at auctions. When any horse is sold at an auction it’s a really bad thing, they are often bought by kill-buyers, that transport the horses under cruel circumstances, to a cruel end in Mexico. If you do want to know the fate of these horses, look it up on Youtube, (don’t do it if you want to sleep at night.) Those videos are very graphic.

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All these horrible facts aside, the Virginia Range Horses are beautiful. I enjoy watching them through my telephoto lens higher up in the foothills, away from the the cities. Up there the horses are wild. (Near the cities these horses occasionally walk right up to people, since they are used to be given treats.) The Virginia Range Mustangs are on the shorter side, usually around 13-14hh. They are believed to be the mixed offspring off early pioneer’s horses, with a touch of Shetland pony (sometimes used for working the mines.) I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know a few of them, that lost their freedom, and been sold at auctions. The ones that I’ve met had all the potential in the world to go in any direction as a riding horse; brave, surefooted, lots of endurance, and extremely loyal to their person. Wild horses that lost their freedom are used to being dependent on their herd (their family) for safety, they bond very closely to one person, that becomes their herd. If you gain the trust of a mustang you have a faithful partner that will do anything for you. My humble experience is that if you dedicate enough time to a mustang, the bond gets stronger than with most domesticated horses. In the wild their life depends on being close to their family, not only physically, but also mentally. They are masters of body language. Using body language as much as possible is recommended in any, and all interaction with a wild horse.

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Mustangs are extremely intelligent, and I often feel that they’ve read my thoughts before I even was aware of them myself. I hope you enjoyed this visit to the Virginia Range. These horses taught me so much, and will always own a part of my heart.

Love,

Ms Zen

PS. Prints of the photos of the wild horses in today’s post are available. Click on a photo you are interested in to see available art prints. I’m using Fine Art America‘s high quality prints, and safe online payment service. Order soon to receive your prints before Christmas. World wide delivery. Gift options available at checkout!

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge; Cheeky

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