By Mae Lee Sun
Having just come out of a Zen retreat on a horse farm in Santa Fe, New Mexico- one of the Mecca’s of the Arts as well as Buddhism in America, it occurred to me how important it is to maintain my education on horses and horsemanship. I suppose it came up because prior to leaving Australia, I had started to do a bit of research on the Buddha’s horse Kanthaka as well as looking into the horse His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama had ridden on his arduous escape across the Himalayas from Tibet in 1959.
Kanthaka was one of the few possessions the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, took with him when he left the comfort of the palace in which he lived. If only every horse owner felt that way given that statistics seem to indicate that most horses are sold or slaughtered within first 5 years of ownership.
Horses live a long time and the world can only change when I (we) do. That goes for everything, including my attitude- whether doing the dishes or scooping horse poo. Will my friends, family, community and horse feel the difference? Well, as symbiotic mirrors and conduits of energy, the proof is in the pudding. The way the people and horse (s) in your life respond to you is a culmination of the thoughts, actions and speech you engage in moment to moment. Often the results aren’t immediate. It takes practice to create the causes and conditions necessary for manifestation. And, there isn’t any ‘end’ per se. In that sense, enlightened, awakened or natural horsemanship if you will, is nothing special yet it requires hard work, patience and a life-long commitment.
(The following books have also been added to the existing titles on the Resources page)
The Wisdom of Donkeys: Finding Tranquility in a Chaotic World, by Andy Merrifield, 2010 (Walker & Company)
Riding Free: Bitless, Bridleless or Bareback, by Andrea and Marcus Eschbach, 2011 (Trafalgar Square Books)
Zen and Horseback Riding, 3rd edition: Applying the Principles of Posture, Breath and Awareness to Riding Horses, Tom Nagel, 2010 (Ko-gen Publications)
Song for the Horse Nation: Horses in Native American Cultures, National Museum of the American Indian, 2006 (Fulcrum Publishing)
They Sang for Horses: The Impact of the Horse on Navajo and Apache Folklore, Laverne Harrell Clark, 2001 (University Press of Colorado)
Walking the Way of the Horse: Exploring the Power of the Horse-Human Relationship, Leif Hallberg, 2008 (iUniverse)