There’s been a couple opportunities for us to interact with horses during our trip, but being on an actual ranch and having them come right up to our campsite to say hello is a special thing. I’ve been nervous around horses since I was bucked off one at a fair when I was 12.
Totally my fault, or the girl who put me on him without giving me any guidance, but I understand now the horse picked up how nervous I was and wanted nothing to do with me. So, I was ejected, rejected, and found myself down on my ass, embarrassed.
What I know now comes from a combination of Internet searches and the Amazon Series ‘Yellowstone.’ In the second season of Yellowstone a guy tells one of the main characters, Beth, to “tell your brain to tell your body to tell the horse that you’re okay.” It’s a mental game, horses are very intuitive about people and they know how you feel better than you do. You can’t fake it with a horse. They communicate through body language so you need to act relaxed and safe.
So, here we are on a ranch in upstate Washington and I’m telling my brain to trust that the horse is just curious and wants to check me out. Let them do that on their time. This morning one came over and I raised my hand so he could sniff it and once he did that we both leaned in and touched our faces together and it was a moment I’ll remember.
Along with dogs, horses make for a wonderful interspecies animal friendship. It means something when a horse sees you, recognizes you as someone safe, and walks over to say hello.