A kind of truce today, Red came on strong, he had his eyes locked on Liam all the way out by the house, and he had a clear no-nonsense posture about him. Liam back up and bravely stood in front of the flock, perhaps to protect them. Red got everybody where he wanted them and went and lay down. We'll see how long this lasts. I was intrigued to see Deb climb up on her stone and give Red a stern look.
I have taken to calling her the Garden Goddess. She came to me in two parts, the torso and the body, each found a couple of years apart from the other near a monastery, or perhaps a convent. We hope to find the head one day. We don't know who this statue is, some think it is St. Francis, and that would be fitting. But most of the time, I think it's a she, although she seems to have no breasts. I think she is the Garden Goddess, she overlooks our gardens and protects Maria's Studio Barn, collecting the sun in the background. I thought she was a powerful presence today.
The daffodils have been holding the fort, trying to be Spring. It snowed this morning, windy and cold. The daffodils are fading now, they did a good job, they are rich in character and emotion.
Animals show affection in different ways. Dogs offer themselves to their people, and give affection readily, they often need a lot of it. And people give them a lot. Cats are indirect creatures, they show affection when they feel like it, and in ways that are comfortable for them. It always has to be their idea, not yours.
Chloe has a kind of sweetness, and a kind of feistiness, two qualities also evident in Maria. Each wants their own way, but is full of love. A good pairing by Eli Anita-Norman.
Equines are close to cats in some ways. They sense emotion quickly, you can see them reading people, scanning them, using the powerful instinct of the prey animal to decide if they are friend or foe. Horses and donkeys present themselves to you. If they like you, they tolerate you. They receive affection they will be touched, brushed, ridden, spoken to. Like donkeys, they will take advantage, they will nose you out of the way if you let them, push you around, pick your pockets. It is, like any good human-animal relationship, a ballet.
Every good animal trainer or partner learns how to be clear while being calm and positive. Not always an easy balance, Maria comes to it naturally.
Maria and Chloe just work together, it will be a pleasure to see and to photograph you
We visited Chloe today and Maria is going to see her tomorrow and ride her for the first time. She is getting set, she has a trainer and teacher, we have a great farrier, she has a saddle and tack. Chloe and I did some bonding this afternoon as well, although she is very clearly Maria's horse. We have seen this again and again, the special and very spiritual beauty when an animal and a human choose one another at the same time.
And since we had a pony and have had donkeys for years – they are equines – we are set up, we have pretty much everything we need.
I can see that Chloe is the perfect animal for Bedlam Farm. She is even-tempered, grounded, experienced, she lives with three donkeys and some pushy horses, she can handle herself. She is independent-minded, but she also loves attention and is affectionate.
Like Maria, she is feisty, can take care of herself, likes attention and also some space. I am certain Lulu and Fanny – both also females, obviously – will accept her, Chloe is twenty years old, she has been around and seen a lot. She was pulled out of a mudhole and Ken and Eli Norman have been looking for the right home for her. Maria is moving slowly and carefully, another month of visits, grooming, riding lessons and some horse wisdom from people who know horses well.
This feels very good. Maria has pined for a horse since Rocky died and Chloe has been seeking her person. A kind of marriage, a kind of bond that is taking shape and is already quite evident. Maria is easy around Chloe, the two of them communicate well already, Chloe is like Maria in several respects, one is that when she needs attention, she lets you know. But Maria is clearly the leader, she has no trouble setting the agenda, and making sure Chloe follows.
Chloe loves to be groomed, Maria loves grooming animals. She brushes the donkeys twice a day.
We are hoping to have Chloe by May. First ride tomorrow.