A Lesson in Change.

The head of the herd at Infinity Farm is the kind of horse you might call Grandfather- with reverence. He was a flashy something in his day; what he lacked in confidence he made up for with bravado. We made a pair and a quarter century later, we have both softened and matured with age. He rules the ranch, from the ducks (he shares his grain with them) on up. Not all barns are as fortunate as we are- our Grandfather horse leads with an open heart for all and no tolerance for less in return. From petulant teenage fillies to competitive geldings, he gets respect with the flick of an eye. Disagreements dissolve and peace returns. I’m not sure how he does it- he is too arthritic and lame to be a physical threat. He has an inclusive, benevolent leadership style that I try to emulate.

Last week I wrote about finding a new lesson horse- Embrace (aka Grace) has been with us a week now. She had one home before coming here and our barn could not be more foreign for Grace. From the landscape to training style, she has been delivered to a new world and gravity is about the only thing that hasn’t changed.

Grace is a stoic mare, she keeps her own best counsel. I can’t know how she mourns her move, but I can ease the transition.

Stress can impact a horse’s digestive system pretty easily. I assume ulcers are a reasonable response and began treating her before she got in my trailer to come home. Ulcer statistics tell me it’s just good horsemanship.

And I can pen her with the Grandfather horse. He will befriend her and defend her and give her a good introduction. There have been some strange vocalizations; it’s close enough to spring that all of the mare hormones have come out of hibernation. Grace is adjusting, the herd has made a place for her, and a small donkey is petitioning for special friend status.

I’ve had a lesson in change watching the herd this week. No one complains. They are practical; more interested in the business of life than gossiping about it. It’s been warm, days are getting longer and shedding has begun.

Change is the constant in life- it’s good to make peace with that fact and not let it ruin a good dirt bath.

(Please don’t tell the United Nations about our Grandfather horse- the world could use his kind of leadership right now, but we would miss him too much here.)

Anna Blake, Infinity Farm

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