The Quiet Months


Winter wet, cold and grey has come to stay for a while. The pasture is sloppy mud, and the bare trees are dripping. It's difficult to find the beauty. There is a silence, a desire to sleep. A landscape shrouded in mist has a special, haunting beauty, but after a while, one misses the sun. The days are still short and we wake to a mist shrouded, mysterious world. January and February are the difficult months of the year but it is also an important time.

I am taking this time to build a trusting relationship with Vanille. She is learning that she can trust me to bring her hay and water, that I am the one who brushes her and scratches her favorite spots, and I am the one who often has pockets filled with carrots. When she sees me, she comes immediately without being called. In certain circumstances, this can be extremely important, and in everyday life it shows me that she is happy to see me. We are becoming solid friends.

In the early morning light, as I leave the house, bucket of food in hand, dressed in dirty jacket, muddy boots and headlamp, Bella dashes ahead and tells her I am coming. They both run towards me side by side. It's a beautiful sight and a great way to start my day. There have been a few amusing moments like the time I dragged a plastic tarp into the pasture to know if Vanille would be afraid of the flapping and noise. To my surprise, she loved it, thought it was a game, walked on it, pawed it, dragged it and finally bunched it up and bit it. I was so disappointed not to have a video camera.

Mark is one of the few people who, standing beside Vanille, make her look small. For me, she is a BIG horse.

In the afternoons we practice commands such as back up, walk on, stop, right, left, with no halter, and with a halter and lead rope. I use a soft voice and a soft touch but strong determination. We practice picking up her feet and cleaning them. These seem like little things but they build trust and understanding in a simple and quiet way. I'm waiting for a big ball we've ordered, hoping she will enjoy something to roll around. I feel sorry for her being in the pasture alone but I have no other possibility.

We did have one accident which was very frightening. I was brushing her with no halter, and something frightened her. When she bolted, she knocked me to the ground and ran over me. I wasn't hurt any more than a bruise but it was terrifying. This experience taught me to pay more attention, after all this is an 800 kilo animal, a very gentle animal but just the same, “pay attention” was the message.

I can't resist sharing with you the photo of my daughter who is preparing for her summer job with horses at Yellowstone Park.

And….a FEW years ago


Time in the house in front of the fire finds me reading and watching youtube videos.

I'm studying the writings and videos of Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling. I began with THE MESSAGE FROM THE HORSE and am now reading IT'S NOT I WHO SEEKS THE HORSE, THE HORSE SEEKS ME. He has many videos on youtube. It would be incredible to participate in one of his workshops!!

The film BUCK is also interesting.

The full length video on youtube THE PATH OF THE HORSE is excellent.

And of course, if you haven't seen it, our video:

Questions or comments are very welcome!



About Suzanne

American living in France. Artist and lover of nature, gardening, all living beings. Married to the love of my life, mother of two wonderful daughters and grandmother.
This entry was posted in Community, Comtois horse, Gypsy wagon/Roulotte construction technique, Horse drawn vehicles, Lifestyle, Small living spaces, Travel, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Quiet Months

  1. Suzanne says:

    Thank you! Photos do brîg back memories so clearly. I would love to have a camera on my head.

  2. Barbara Roth says:

    I am inspired by your in depth research on horses. She looks like an incredible animal.

  3. Ashlyn says:

    Lovely to see your pictures and hear your musings. I hope your cameraman can be nearby to video next time you introduce toys to Vanille! That would be soooo awesome to see! Loved the pictures of Dana. Tiny Tim looks so sharp in that photo. I remember the excitement of you and Dana braiding his mane getting ready for shows. Thank you for that lost memory, now found.. Hugs!!!

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