Shadowed

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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.

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An entry for WPC “Shadowed”

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Warmth; looking forward

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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.

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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.

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But with cold and snow comes the yearning for spring, which I think is brilliantly expressed in these words by Ralph Waldo Emmerson in his book Nature;

”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.”

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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.

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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;

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“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.”

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So with that and the usual thanks to all our good neighbors who skip the fireworks for animals sake; we wish you all a Happy New Year – may it well excel our wildest expectations!

Weekly Photo Challenge – Joy

20131229-122118.jpgThe joy of living with horses can be illustrated in many ways. This is Bluebell Star our blue roan Nokota mare trotting the perimeter of her pasture one beautiful summers day earlier this year.
By coincidence, Zane Grey, the author of “Valley of Wild Horses” published in 1927, actually wrote a piece that fits almost exactly as a description of Bluebell, our joy of life. So I must share this quote with you all. The set involves a wild horse roundup back in the eighteen hundreds and it seems like the horses had a fair chance to get away, which feels more appealing.

”Regular lot of broomtails,” yelled Blinky to Pan. “Ain’t seen any yet I’d give two bits fer. Reckon, as always, the good hosses got away. But Pan inclined to the opinion that among so many there were surely a few fine animals. And so it proved. Pan’s first choice was a blue roan, a rare combination of color, build and speed. The horse was a mare and had a good head. She had a brand on her left flank. Pan rode around after her, here, there, all over the field, but without help he could not turn her where he wished.”

Weekly Photo Challenge – Habit

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Every morning after breakfast and a “walkabout” in the pasture, sniffing around for good grazing, our Nokota Horses seek up a special place for a quick nap; always the same place this time of year. It is close to a corner of the pasture not far from the house, but away from roads and boisterous neighbors, where the woods give some shelter for the wind and where they can sleep undisturbed.
They are standing close together to keep each other warm, one hind foot off the ground resting, facing different directions to cover the surroundings, all senses on stand-by-mode.

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Refreshed after half an hour or so of sleep they walk off, onward into a new day of horse life.
Next post will be a thorough journey into the complicated topic of equine visual perception – how horses visually see the world and what we can learn from that.

Weekly Photo Challenge: An unusual point of view

wernernokota9“Colonel Boon, the patriarch of Kentucky. This venerable and hardy pioneer of civilisation emigrated to an estate three hundred miles west of the Mississippi, in his ninety-second year, because he found a population of ten to the square mile, inconveniently crowded!” – James Fenimore Cooper, The Prairie, 1827

As a comparison, North Dakota has a density of population round and about 9 to the square mile these days, while one of our northern, by many considered utterly desolate, parts of Sweden we call Jämtland, seems almost crowded with its 18 souls on each square mile.

Ought to be plenty of room for wild horses still.