I finally finished this video. I am happy with the way it captures parts of my recent workshop in Bulgaria. In the middle of the video is a moment where I am knocked down by a horse. This has only happened to me once before, when my first horse, Djuma, knocked me down and then ran over me, carefully not stepping on me. Memorable, seeing the landscape of the underside of a horse passing overhead.
In this moment, there was an unexpected bit of play between two equine brothers that put me on the ground. I left it in because I think that the way that I responded is important. Intuitively, I practiced what my dear friend and mentor Pauline Oliveros called the delay strategy. What that means in this case is that I fell and then I waited. I did not spring up, but made a series of feeling, bodily decisions about how and when to respond.
So often our responses with horses are hair trigger, immediate, strong and quick. Sometimes that is necessary, but not always. Learning to delay gives us more amplitude in our possible responses, more ability to feel what is actually called for in a given moment.
I have just returned from teaching a wonderful workshop in Bulgaria with a herd of 17 Balkan horses and a human herd of lovely, curious Bulgarian women.
Despite the challenges of language (helped by the heroic efforts of Millena, our translator) we were able to ground our communications in the shared language of the body, and find meaning in the always perfect teaching of the horses.
I am so grateful to Teodora, our organizer, for her vision and persistence. For now, as my jet lag fades, I will let the photographs speak.