Year of the Horse

flyinghorse_200Everybody’s been jumping the gun on this one–calling the Western, begins on January 1st year 2014 “The Year of the Horse,” when in fact the Chinese Lunar New Year doesn’t begin until January 31st. Horse people are terribly excited, more so than I can remember in previous Years of the Horse.

It’s a Thing. Probably it has to do with social media, which whip up frenzies on a regular basis. Plus all the like-minded people are gathering and sharing the love.

Yesterday I happened across an article that went into detail on the mystical meaning of it all. Talking about the progression of years through their astrological symbols, the significance of this particular year’s subcategories (Yang, Wood, Green), and of course what the horse itself signifies.┬áThe really interesting thing was how much of the article resonated in this mystic-agnostic. Yes, that’s what seems to be happening here, and in quite a few of the places and people and animals around here.

Since we’re a horse farm, it all comes literally home to us. We live day in and day out with horses as large animals that eat a lot, poop a lot (requiring that we shovel a whole lot), and alternate between being a pure joy to be around, and being absolute pissers. We also get a good dose of Oh, These Creatures Are So Magical–not just from visitors and admirers out among the interwebs, but right here at ringside as well.

Last night their dinner was a bit late. One of them had bruised her hoof a few days ago, and blown the inevitable hoof abscess as a result; that meant cleaning the hoof, inspecting the drainage site, disinfecting, poulticing, and wrapping. Then putting her in a stall to prevent her from wearing off the wrap by running around with her herdmates.

That was A Change In Routine. Or in horse logic, ZOMG FREAKOUT ZOMG CHAAAAANNNNNGE!!!!!!

And that meant much wild galloping and rearing and leaping and flying in the dusk. Since they’re all greys (i.e. white horses with dark eyes and skin), the last light made them shimmer. Manes and tails streaming. Hooves thundering.

Magic.

For the city person or the non-horse person, the visuals are impressive, likewise the sound effects. It’s not hard to understand why the horse has such power in lore and legend.

What videos and photos or artistic renderings miss is the physical impact. The vibration underfoot as the herd gallops by. The pressure of those big bodies surging through air–enough almost to lift the human who stands just out of their path. The smell of dust and horse. A spark flying from the one with shoes–steel strikes stone strikes fire.

Horses at rest are awesomely peaceful and calming. You can feel your heartbeat slowing and your breathing deepening. Troubles grow dimmer. Worries and frets recede.

Horses in motion get the heart beating and the bones thrumming. If they want you out of there, you get, or they’ll run you down. If they want you with them, they can pick you up and carry you–enough, if you’re that athletic, to pull you clear up off the ground and onto their backs. That was as close to flying as anyone got, before humans found ways to master the air.

Then it all reverts to peace and quiet again, and horses happily munching their dinner.

It’s always the Year of the Horse here. Also the Season, the Month, the Day, the Hour… But it’s nice when the rest of the world joins us for a lunar cycle. Then everyone else has the opportunity to reflect on what the Horse is and why it matters so much to myth- and legend-making, calendar-making, pattern-obsessed humans.

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