September 06, 2009


Kate from A year with horses talked about a book called "A horse's thought, a journey into honest horsemanship" by Tom Moates.

As my overloaded bookshelves still always can make room for another horse book, I bought it.
(Actually, that was a lie. Our books are drowning our small house, but I am not planning to stop buying...)
The book was nice, perhaps not as good as the ones by Mark Rashid IMHO -but there were some things that stuck to my mind.

One of them was the expression "With-you-ness".
I will quote the definition straight from the book:
"A way of the horse and human each responding to the other while participating in the same experience--both aware of, and being sensitive to, the mental desires, emotional balance, as well as the physical needs of the other, during which time there is no fear, anxiety, resistance, or resentment"

Quite a tall order, that is - don't you think?

But I love the word.
Like in "we like the company of each other ", "we feel good together" and "we trust each other".

I truly enjoy the company of my horse.
Like when I am grooming her and we just silently enjoy being together. I feel my stress leaving me, and I get calm and relaxed. Fame backs up her side or hind to have me scratch her, just there.
Or after we have been working, and she gets her hay. She is standing in the door opening, munching on her hay while watching me conditioning her tack. We are a bit tired, both of us, but happy and content.
Or out on trail, contemplating the scenery and the stillness around us -or blowing off some steam, laughing inside.
Or in those golden moments when we are working in the arena, and I feel I can just think of doing something, and then we do it, together.

While I cannot say that I am totally aware of Fame's desires and needs (that would be way too presumptious) I feel very close to her, often.
And I just love that feeling.
Maybe that is the true joy of having a horse.


Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I like the word too. It would be nice to have that feeling all the time with our horses. Today I was just feeling not-with-you-ness as I urged my horse forward and she kept walking backward. However, some days I do feel that harmony with my horses.

Kate said...

Very cool - that's one of the things I liked best about the book and Harry Whitney. I'm part of the way there with Maisie and have a long way to go yet with Dawn.

Grey Horse Matters said...

It's a great word and a wonderful way to try and be with our horses. I'm trying with Dusty but she is far from easy and she doesn't let you into her space or good graces very easily. With her everything is earned.

On the other hand I couldn't have been closer to my horse and soul mate of 15 years Erik, we were a team. I'm hoping to simply get half of what Erik and I had together with Dusty and Blue too. He's another tough nut to crack. All our horses are sweethearts but sometimes it's hard to be connected to them all every day.

RuckusButt said...

*sigh* One of the school horses and I definitely enjoy each others company (most of the time) but I don't think it's very "deep." He likes my carrots and how I pay attention to scratching under his chin, which he loves!

stilllearning said...

"With-you-ness"= the ultimate goal.

jc said...

Love that expression! If I can achieve that, I wouldn't worry about anything else.

HorseOfCourse said...

Thanks for your comments all!

I feel it is a privilege to get the With-you-ness, and I assume it is easier when you have only one horse to concentrate on.
When that is said, I have not come as close to all the horses I have had.
I had a strong bond to my much beloved gelding Amigo. When he passed away I thought it would be difficult to get a new horse that could mean as much to me as he had done.
But Fame does.
I believe the bond develops over time. The longer you have a horse, the closer you will get to each other – if the horse lets you.
Some horses are not all that interested in humans, I believe.
They like us well enough, and they do their work and so on, but they are content in their own little horsey world.
I had a mare once with whom everything worked swell in the riding/training, but she wasn’t that interested in me as a person. Not grumpy, just uninterested.
As I wanted to get close to her, I felt a bit rejected and sad with that.
But horses come in all sorts - just like people!

allhorsestuff said...

Oh sweeet..withyouness! Lately, the most of that we are haing..and I dearly, dearly love it too, is when we've bee out for a short time and maybe we've trotted loosely, and settled or cantered some and settled into a chipper/forward/ swingy mare will "highblow" at that walk ,and I just feel -all's right in the world-!It is loose for her and connect me to her as we go along. Love it!

My best times are grooming too...or just letting her be horsey and I have no expectation of her.
Nice book..will look into that, thanks for the plug!
Kacy w Wa mare~

allhorsestuff said...

P.S. I really liike your fuzzy noseband. Is there a reason you use it?
Kacy with Wa mare~

HorseOfCourse said...

Thanks for commenting Kacy!
The fuzzy noseband...
On my bridle it was just to cover up for some bit marks from mice, lol!
They get in to our tack cupboards at wintertime and chew on things. Very, very irritating. The noseband was OK but did not look good, so I covered it up...
But now I moved it over to the sidepull I bought this spring, with the purpose to soften the rawhide and avoid chewing.

Cabruze said...

It's great when we can harmonise with our horses!