Last week I suggested to spouse that we walk down to get the mail. For context, our driveway is a tenth of a mile, and it was about six in the evening. I’d already fed the horses and they’d gone down to the front of the pasture to graze for the night. But as we walked down the driveway heads lifted and horses nickered. It felt good. They have the new, spring grass and yet, they were interested in us. Of course I often come with food, whether it’s just a couple of treats or their twice daily meals, so it’s possible they thought they were getting fed.

We got the mail and began to walk back up the driveway. The horses followed, keeping parallel to us in the pasture. I stopped about halfway up as I do to embrace the scenery and frankly, to catch my breath due to the steepness of our driveway and my physical disabilities. After a few minutes, we continue on. The horses followed.

About two-thirds of the way up they realized it wasn’t dinner time. I wasn’t calling out their names, telling them it was dinner, and so they stopped and began grazing again, but for a while it was a herd-sized join up.

Horse trainer Monty Roberts describes a join up as the particular moment when horses decide to quit whatever they’re doing and to follow you. Given that I was on the driveway, not in the pasture, and was mostly not paying attention to them, I understood why they lost interest. Spring grass is so much more exciting anyway.

And I also know that had I stopped at the dividing fence between the “front” and “house” pastures, and called for them, they would have come cantering (okay my senior heart mare may have trotted, haha….) up the hill to me. My goofy gelding and the youngest horse (two on the left in the featured photo) probably bucking and kicking the entire way with excitement.

For a moment, it was magic. The horses wanted to be with me, wanted to walk with me, the evening was a lovely spring night, just after time change so it wasn’t dark yet, and I was reminded just how much the herd and this land sustains me.

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