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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The relationship between horses and humans remains ineffable

Kathy Lundberg is a long-time horse owner and when I visited her facility located in Ann Arbor, Scio Church Stables on a cold morning a few weeks ago, I got a crash-course in equine care and day-to-day life.

Kathy is a real down-to-earth kind of individual, along with her daughter Annette, I really got a feel for what owning a horse and caring for them is all about: It's not for the faint of heart, to say the least. There's a lot of work involved, but the benefits are exponential, no question about it.

I also had a chance to meet Dee, SCS's Barn Manager. In talking with her, it was clear that not only does she have an innate sense of what the animals there need, but in order for a boarding stable and farm to be all that it should be, it takes commitment, a good relationship between owners, staff, horse owners and, yes, the animals themselves. Especially in the latter, no two are alike. Dee mused about her work at SCS and I was thrilled to be able to see the horses from her vantage point: She truly loves what she does and understands her works' profundity.

All of the horses personalities are different, and for lots of reasons. Breed, age, gender, over-all temperament, you name it.

flickr photo courtesy of goingslo
The relationship between horse and rider (or horse and the person handling them) is pretty intense.

I learned this a couple of years ago when horseback riding at Hell Creek Ranch in Hell, MI.

I was well-matched for my partner that day; I tend to have a quick, spirited personality and the horse was no exception. Although I was only riding for the day, and the horse that I was paired with was totally unfamiliar with me - I could sense that there was a lot of adjusting, compensating and tolerating due to my naivete by the animal that I was perched on.

I could feel this sort of energy flowing back and forth through the afternoon; and when I was feeling especially tense, my very capable horse almost seemed to project: "Just trust me. Chill out."

And so I did. The experience was much more enjoyable, too.

I can see why people love horses so much. There's a very special kind of rapport that the human and animal have. So much sweat, blood and care goes into the care of a horse, that it's no wonder why a real bond takes hold.

There's a thriving horse community here in Michigan, and a lot of people strive to educate about and maintain long-held traditions.

Will I ever own a horse? Probably not, but for the right reasons - and I have a real appreciation for them, and the people who share their lives with them.



 Lorrie Shaw is a pet blogger and owner of Professional Pet Sitting near Chelsea, MI. She can be found regularly as a contributor on AnnArbor.com's pet section. Follow her daily adventures on Twitter and contact her by email.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment. You are right. Owning a horse is a commitment...in my case, a 30 year commitment, probably. I will be about 80 when my horse turns 30. You are right. Each horse is unique. Each owner is different (In some cases VERY different). I committed to my horse...probably my last...for life. In return, I have an extremely loyal and loving partner and companion. My mare is therapy. She is very much a "people" horse, as well as a horse's horse. (She plays well with others.) My relationship with her is deep and profound, and I dearly love those who care for her. (Kathy and Dee.)

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