Life is about the journey, negotiating the bumps in the road, the sharp corners that throw you off guard, climbing the hills and enjoying the ride down the other side. Working with horses is kind of similar, you have to enjoy the good times, work through the bad times, and pay the vet bills that our equines give us at the most un-expected times. While it's important to have goals and destinations to work towards you have to enjoy the bits along the way as well.
Summer is definitely the time to get out and enjoy the best of what living in New Zealand means. The workload around this time of years is easing up slightly, as far as general farm work, and longer daylight hours gives the opportunity to make the most of what can be found in our own backyards.Warm weather means getting out of the arena, and going to the beach, forestry rides or making the most of friends who have large farms to ride across.
I took two Kaimanawas to the beach recently, for Miro this was his first time having a ride off the property. He exhibited the cool, calm and intelligent nature that I love in New Zealands wild horses. No hesitation he was right out there splashing in the waves, and Fern from the 2010 muster was right beside him, calm and stoic as usual. Horses, nice weather, beach, it is bliss, one of those moments in the journey of life that you live for.
Because no matter what you do how careful you are there will be bumps in the road. I got all the stallions from the 2012 muster, plus a two year old born from the 2010 muster gelded/ castrated. They were great, but had a few complications from gelding, that set them back a few weeks, a little bump in the road. However it wasn't long before they were back to being happy, healthy, playful and full of life again. Anyone who has horses know, these things happen and there is no point worrying to much about it.
Gelding is something that people have varying opinions about. Some feel all mustered horses should be gelded as breeding in captivity take homes from those still on the ranges. While others argue that horses should be kept entire to ensure the breed survive, and preserve unique genetics, if something were to happen to wild populations. As well as the fact, that some people will never adopt from muster anyway. When discussing this topic with people there should always be a " proceed with caution" sign as opinions can get pretty heated, me I listen to both sides and stick to the middle of the road in my approach.
Other things in life set your course off in a slightly different direction. I'm a wee bit disappointed in myself. It's been six months and I haven't got my Kaiamanawas to a single show, they are more than ready, and that was the goal. I would have liked to have shown it was possible to go from wild horse to show horse in under six months, and it definitely is. But I've been busy, the horses that make me money are the ones that get first priority on going to competitions, and due to the rising cost of competing this year I've gone to far fewer shows, the wild horses have had to miss out. However this isn't such a bad thing, as it means I've got to enjoy doing other things, like going to beach, which I wouldn't have had time for if I was busy competing.
Along the the journey, one of the better things is crossing path with old friends. So It was great to see one of the horses that I handled from the 2012 muster, now thriving in his new home. Shy Boy was every inch the little wild stallion when he arrived off the truck, wild eyes hidden behind a huge black mess of mane . The only one of the five stallions, who looked like he might try to jump the 6ft stockyard fence and escape if you ever scared him to much. But once haltered, and realizing we weren't there to hurt home, he became the sweetest, most willing horse imaginable, and a real favorite of mine. Him and his owner however have always had a very special bond and its great to see such a partnership and what a wonderful horse he's turned into. He still looks every inch the wild horse, but his behavior is much more confident and secure in himself, and he's has the most regal prescience about him that draws everyone in. He's retained all that great about being born wild, and benefited from domestication to, as there is nothing at all wild about his attitude these days.
So while I'm a bit disappointed about not getting to show off my wild horses to the public, I'm still enjoying every bit of the journey with them, the downs just making the good parts that much better and hopefully with the new year, will come new opportunities for adventures, and getting them out and about. I think it's always important to remember the reason at the end of the day for having horses is our own enjoyment, that's what makes them so special, it is the pleasure and time we have with them. So rather than stressing about all there is yet to achieve, I'm going to go put my bikini on, load my horses up and head to the beach, life is all about the journey and this time of year is a time to enjoy it.