The horses are shedding, migrating birds have returned, and the leaves are coming out on schedule, but Spring seems to have more significance this year. It’s is always a symbol of rebirth and renewal – getting a fresh start. And after 2020, we could all use a fresh start.
Those of us with horses in our lives have a distinct advantage. Horses help us to stay grounded and our interactions with them allow us to retain a bit of normalcy, even when everything else in our lives is far from normal.
Like millions around the world, horse people experienced tremendous challenges in 2020. Extremes in weather, worrying about the health of our loved ones, scrapping our plans for horse shows, and barns being on lockdown preventing people from visiting their horses – all of these added more layers of stress on us, when most of us were already carrying a full load.
Shedding Horses reveals more than meets the eye
With the drastic changes in our day-to-day lives, it seemed like we were living in a parallel universe. Without our normal routines, we lost track of what day, and occasionally what month, it was. It seems like the beginning of the pandemic in March, 2020 was a lifetime ago, but at the same time, it’s hard to grasp that we’ve been in various stages of lockdown for over a year.
The photograph Halfway Home perfectly illustrates how all of this has felt. While most of the last year seems a bit of a blur, our way ahead is beginning to feel a bit clearer and more hopeful. Like the horses at the front of this group – we’re looking forward with anticipation to the time when our lives become closer to normal.
We could all learn a lesson from these horses. They’re clear about where they’re going, and why. They’re not worrying about a second vaccine, or new variants, they’re simply living in the now and moving forward.
For humans, it’s not quite as easy. Living calmly in the present moment when there is so much uncertainty can seem impossible at times. It’s so much easier to live in the moment when you have a certain level of comfort about the next step in the journey is.
While we can’t ever predict the future with 100% accuracy, we had routines and goals and at least a rough idea of the trajectory of our lives. COVID has completely stripped that away, and it can be hard to get our footing back after having our lives shaken up so badly.
Spending time with horses, or any animal, can get us back onto more solid footing. Just brushing a horse, or petting a velvety nose can begin to melt anxiety away. Listening to a horse munching on hay is such a relaxing sound. A horse at rest radiates a peacefulness, it’s almost impossible not to feel the anxiety start draining out of our body when we’re sharing space with him. If you don’t have the opportunity to be physically close to a horse, even looking at photographs of horses can have a calming effect.
So, whether you’re heading to the barn to brush your horse or just looking at the photo that goes with this post, invite that gentle peace into your life. Horses have so much to teach us if only we’re willing to learn.
Jody Miller is a professional photographer specializing in Horse Photography, Equine Photography, and Equestrian photography. Her work can be viewed online here in her gallery section, and she is also featured at these Arizona Galleries: Van Gogh’s Ear Gallery on Whiskey Row in Prescott, AZ and Coops Coffee House at Talking Rock Ranch. Several images are also available at The Phippen Western Art Museum