Sunday Stills: Furry Friends

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Two friends playing tag.

The theme for this week’s Sunday Stills is Fur and Feathers. Since I currently don’t have any feathers in my barn, I’ll share some of my furry friends.

Yesterday I caught two of my furry friends, my German Shepherd Gretchen, and my young horse Ghost playing tag. These two are hilarious. They take turns chasing each other around, splashing water at each other, and taking naps in the sun together. It took me forever to finish my outside chores, because it was so much fun just watching them.

Terri, one of the hosts for this photo challenge educated me this morning, by telling us that today is National Animal Rights DayI did not know that. Thank you Terri. She also raised the question; To what extent do we continue to banish native animals from their own environments due to urbanization? I’ll say, a great deal. Of course our human endeavors affect every animal now living on the planet.

My heart bleeds for the mustangs in our neighbor state Nevada. I’ve been observing a few herds there for the past 6 years, and noticed how they get a harder time getting to their water sources. One of the side effects of this is more horses crossing highways, causing accidents, and human deaths every year. All because of new housing complexes and fences erected around private properties. In some places they are cornered in, and I wouldn’t exactly call them wild and free any more. The complex question about our wild horses living situation is not a new one. Did you know that tax payers in America currently pay more than $120,000 per day for wild horses in holding facilities? They are in holding facilities due to round-ups. Wild horses are caught under stressful situations when they “cause trouble”due to being horses = when we have taken to much of their habitat for our human needs (cattle, housing, and other urbanization.) The number of wild horses removed from the range far exceed adoption demand. Which leads to stockpiling over 50,000 wild horses in holding facilities. Which is insane. The holding facilities are like small jails for the former wild horses. I’m all in for keeping wild horses wild, but if I had the funds, I would dedicate my life to getting as many wild horses as possible out of those holding facilities.

I did publish a Coffee Table Book with beautiful photos of wild horses, and facts about their situation back in 2013; NEVADA MUSTANGS – LIVING SYMBOLS OF THE WEST. The purpose of my book was to raise awareness of the situation, not only here in America, but also world wide. Here people either love, or hate the mustangs. In other countries many people see them as something very exotic. I withdraw my book from Amazon, when the facts got a little outdated. You can still view my book, by clicking on the title. It is available for purchase, even though I haven’t promoted the book after some of the facts got outdated (numbers of mustangs, and my website/business info. etc. I used to have an Equine Photography Business.) The photos are still very much enjoyable. I am thinking of making a second edition. I patented the title, when publishing the first edition, with this in mind. I do donate 50% of the proceed to a non-profit that works hard for our wild horses future. (It’s been a couple different during the years, depending on what project they currently are working on/needs.) National Animal Rights Day got my brain going haywire.

I hope your weekend is awesome ! I think I’m going to escape the heat for a few hours and drive up to the mountains.  Can’t wait to catch up with my favorite blogs later tonight. It’s one of my favorite things to do.

Love,

Ms Zen

Out of This World – The Wild Mare

It was a cold winter evening. It must of been around 4 years ago now. I had recently left my husband. Happy with my decision, but alone with a 1,5 year old. I was working at different ranches in northern Nevada, doing some photography jobs every now and then, living in my RV with my baby. I’m not the worrying kind, and I felt a freedom I’ve never felt before, but naturally it was mixed with other emotions as well. It was happy days, of hard work.

I drove out to the desert one evening, with my daughter sleeping in her car seat. I took some dirt roads up in the foothills, at the Virginia Range, outside Reno. I did this every now and then to get some quiet time. Off-roading always made my daughter fall into a deep sleep, faster than I could blink.

After driving around for a while I found a spot up in the hills, with a spectacular view. I turned the engine off, and walked outside. Since my daughter was sleeping in her car seat, I couldn’t go for a walk, but I climbed up in the bed of my truck, and enjoyed the silence of the desert. I didn’t see a single soul, and the noise of the city of Reno was far away. I’m pretty sure that it was moments like this that kept me sane back then. Before going back to civilization I took some photos of the sunset. I used my telephoto lens and zoomed in on a ridge far in the horizon. There I saw a pregnant mustang mare walking into the sunset. She was all alone, no other horses nearby. Which is unusual. At first I thought she was an illusion, a trick played by my mind. But she was there. Before leaving I took this photo of her. Like something Out of This World.

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I hope you’re having an awesome weekend!

Love,

Ms Zen

Weekly Photo Challenge; Silence

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What does silence look like? Show us your take in a photograph.

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When being around wild horses, young horses, rescue horses, or any horse for that matter, it’s of outmost importance to have a quiet mind. As a little girl, riding at an English Riding School in Europe, I realized that even the most experienced school horses reacted to my energy. If I was upset about something at home, or at school, my lesson rarely went very well…until I realized this, and made an effort to take ten deep breaths before even entering the stable. Focusing on not bringing my drama to the horse. That was a huge change in my life with horses.

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Spending time observing wild horses, I always try to keep a good distance to the horses, but still, I quickly realized that to be able to see them at all I had to quiet my mind. Their energy sensors are extraordinary. If I put my minds settings to silence, they usually allow me to observe them from a distance.

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Horses are excellent teachers in mindfulness. With a sensitive horse you are forced to be right here, right now. That’s actually one of the things that I love the most about them. If you are incongruent in your behavior, they don’t like you.

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Yesterday afternoon when I was going out to the pasture to bring my new horse in to the stable, we had a little scare. As I was putting the halter over his nose, there was all of a sudden a lot of commotion right behind him. (This is his second week with a halter, wearing a halter is still new to him. He is a young, sensitive 3/4 Arabian 1/4 Mustang.) He spooked and jumped right into the electric fence, got shocked from the fence and jumped in the other direction. I let go of the halter, it wasn’t completely on yet. He ran around the pasture for about 30 min. He wouldn’t come near me, when I had the halter in my hand. He wasn’t scared of me without the halter, but now he associated the halter with pain, the shock from the electrical fence, and the sharp pressure on his nose from when he jumped up in the air. I put the halter away, did join up with him. When that was successful, I tried with the halter again. It was still scary. I sat down in the middle of the pasture for an hour. He came up, and we shared a peaceful moment of silence, breathing slowly together. I gave him a body massage. After that he put his head in the halter by himself. I love ending on a good note. Even when it takes almost two hours.

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Love,

Ms Zen