Up here in northern Scandinavia daylight hours are scarce at this time of year, or rather substituted by an elongated dawn and dusk. The warm colors of sunrise and sunset blurs the edge of shadow and gives a gentle touch to all and everything.
Our red and blue roan Nokota horses display a wonderful luminous glow as the mixture of white and colored hairs in their coat fuses the sunlight.
It made this November day a little brighter.
To enjoy a cold day, warmth is essential and if not artficially supplied, it can only be obtained if shared. A new year full of brilliant expectations is approaching and we have finally received some winter in Sotardalen, to our horses delight.
Walking the pasture, scratching the snow to find frozen delicacies, resting with closed eyes shoulder to shoulder with warming friends while listening, smelling and feeling the refreshing wind; it is the absolute quintessence of life for a Nokota horse at this time of year.
”As when the summer comes from the south; the snow-banks melt, and the face of the earth becomes green before it, so shall the advancing spirit create its ornaments along its path, and carry with it the beauty it visits, and the song which enchants it; it shall draw beautiful faces, warm hearts, wise discourse, and heroic acts, around its way, until evil is no more seen.”
A new year also means new challenges for the Nokota horses in their homeland as the struggle for their life is reinforced by a lack of funding for pasture leases and hay. If you have both the means and warmth to make a difference for these wonderful horses with their colorful and pioneering history, please visit The Nokota Horse Conservancy to make a most humbly appreciated donation.
To round up and wrap up this old year of 2014; this chapter in all our lives; I would like to share this paradox of a tragically amusing short story, on behalf of the late President Theodore Roosevelt, to represent the battles that keep haunting us all in everyday life, as told by him, exactly as I rediscovered it in his Autobiography;
“The need for improvement in the Governmental methods of transacting business may be illustrated by an actual case. An officer in charge of an Indian agency made a requisition in the autumn for a stove costing seven dollars, certifying at the same time that it was needed to keep the infirmary warm during the winter, because the old stove was worn out. Thereupon the customary papers went through the customary routine, without unusual delay at any point. The transaction moved like a glacier with dignity to its appointed end, and the stove reached the infirmary in good order in time for the Indian agent to acknowledge its arrival in these words: “The stove is here. So is spring.”
Keeping horses is a dream many cannot afford, but in a historical context horses actually seem quite inexpensive today. In the early seventeenth-century Sweden; a painter or a carpenter would have to cash up more than a two-year full income to buy a steady mount. It probably says more about their wages than the market price for horses, but that could not be foretold at the time so people simply had to abide, unaware of what the future may hold. And indeed so are we.
Horses used to be a source or rather the means of income, like a tool or a helper. Many horses today earn their living in racing and competition as well as for recreation, but except for that; few horses do any traditional horse work anymore.
Times are changing, which goes for us too here at the farm in Sotardalen. Both horses and other animals at our farm are thriving, but still we are busy forging plans and searching for hidden paths towards the future.
To be able to keep horses for no other reason than because they are horses, not as prisoners but as equals (as in equal value), may be the first step towards something different, something better.
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”, inspires me to think that you do not neccesarily need to follow that annoying gps-voice.
The future is illusive, hiding behind mountais and in unchartered forests; and since there are an infinate number of directions to go you do not need a map, but a couple of good horses are indispensable.