A Letter from Bonnie Beresford:
Carolyn, today I went out to the herd with a purpose, both of my horses had forelocks that were tight with burrs and I wanted to remove them. I am writing here today because of what I believed happened as a result of sharing territory with the herd.
The horses were resting in the shade when I found them and there was no wind to keep the flies down. I rubbed some detangler into Chance's forelock and let it penetrate for a few minutes. I then turned away and came face to face with June, the quarter horse mare with parrot mouth, who had walked up very close to me. This was the first time she had ever approached me, though I have said hello to her a few times.
I stroked her face and turned away, but she stayed with me and put her head very close to me. She seemed to be seeking my attention. I noticed that her eyes were covered with flies, and she stood quietly as I rubbed my hands over her eyes and waved the flies away.
Then beside June, Cappy came up to me. Cappy is a draft/paint cross. She also had flies everywhere, and her right eye was almost closed. I tried to rub the flies away as I had with June, but Cappy hates to have her face touched, and she lifted her head so high that her eyes were out of reach. I gently persisted because I wanted to look at the eye that was closed. With a little persuasion, she allowed me to rub her eyes with my hands, and then she stood very still and let me examine the right eye and slowly pry open the lids. It amazed me, that she was so trusting. I could see that the cornea was alright, but her lids were slightly swollen and red.
I went to my backpack and took out a cloth that I had moistened with fly repellent. June stood oh so quietly as I carefully rubbed the cloth all around the skin over the boney part of the eye socket, avoiding the soft tissue of the eye itself, in an attempt to keep the flies off her face. I had to repeat this several times to apply enough to make a difference. June stayed close by me afterwards.
Then I tried to help Cappy the same way. She evaded my hands at first, but with soft words and slow movements, I was eventually able to wipe the cloth around her eyes as I had for June. She even allowed me to rub the cloth down her nose from forehead to nostril and around the sides of her face as well, something she would normally never permit. Both horses seemed more comfortable. Their quiet acceptance of my ministrations and their willingness to stay with me afterwards gave me a strong sense that they knew somehow I was helping them. Truly, I have never before sensed this from these horses.
By now all the other horses had gone back out to graze. I headed out toward my mares to comb out their manes. I did not expect it, but June followed directly behind me, and then Cappy behind June. In single file we walked out to the other horses, with June so close behind me I thought she might step on me. Near the herd I stopped, and so did they, so I stepped aside and gestured them to pass me, and they walked ahead and crossed the little creek to join the others.
Two nights ago it was Hoss and Rhoda. Today, June and Cappy. They are connecting to me, with no effort on my part to encourage them. This is the blessing, and the magic, of sharing territory. Once horses begin to connect with you, their gifts keep coming.
Watch out for new horse and human sightings and may the horse be with you. Warmly, Carolyn