Tiu and Markus shuffeling hay.
I changed the heater motor for Tius car.
The old vs. the new.
We also sorted out the stables. Organizing.
A ship might be safe in harbour, but that's not what ships are for.
Tiu, my brother Patrik and Dani, the new guy.
Sir Faramir the first, Commander of the Ocean.
It is during recent days that I have discovered a lot concerning this here thing, although my work, as of late, has been more with the people here rather than training horses.
I have come to know the individual nature of each horse and the differences in that nature depending on the day. I have also realized that the real journey towards the horse is the one you take to the paddock. The good being and the constant effort. Any underlying philosophical or spiritual aspect will surely emerge or ascend therein if indeed such exist. You sure as hell can't force it, let alone buy it. And that's all I have to say about that.
The sun is making it's appearance, slowly peeking over the horizon. It's all quite beautiful and I feel it's time to put into writing some thoughts that I stumbled upon in the darkness.I have often wondered what makes us turn to different films, especially when we are children. One movie that I am particularly fond of even to this day is Aladdin. The storyline is an adaptation from one of the stories in The Book of One Thousand and One Nights.
I think what compelled me in the movie was the thought of an magical entity that could be summoned ar will, not coincidentally from a lamp, to shed light on the matter.
Well there is such a thing and I found it.
It's our mind and the imagination there within. Sure enough it will manifest what we imagine if we follow it up with action. It's kind of tragic that the lamp got lost in translation and the western world found a genie in a bottle... and I could go into all that spiritus forte analogy but that is of little relevance. And besides, negative thoughts are poison. So let's put our minds onto what matters and focus on the good stuff, like walking in the crisp clean air.
Flying back to where it's at.
In the forrest with my brothers
Hacking with rob
Tar candles in the night.
hacking with my main man R B.
We're getting heavy snowfall during the day and the farm has calmed down a bit now that Tiu is in the US. KJ and Luke took a ride in the arena, while I was taking care of executive tasks with Faro.
The cat came to inspect the saddling of the horse.
Tiu has gone to San Frencisco, California to attend a conference regarding the ocean and she left me and Faro in charge of the whole outfit. Don't worry, we can handle it.
Petty officer Faro, he runs this outfit.
I am installing some sweet free software for Tiu.
What's cookin' good lookin'?
Autumn came and fell along with its carotene coloured leaves. With the passing fall I too had to drop something and that was my dear travelling companion Tuesday. I drove her back home and made her ready for winter. I also spent time with friends and family before I packed my earthly posessions into my car and made my way back up to Norway again.I shall live here until spring, working on Tiu's farm for the time being. I shall also reminisce about recent happenings in these coming winter months. As for now, I will dwell in idle thought and tend to my books whilst listening to the whispers of the falling snow. Good night and good luck.
Don't worry, I got this.
Slowly it has dawned on me the vastness of this journey towards the horse. It appears, as if one can see small, glimmering hints of light casting upon the pathway and it's all very real. There are endless ways of trying to understand the inner workings of these creatures and I'm not just talking about the biomechanics.
Ignorance must be done away with on wichever path one chooses.
Being able to ride is one thing, but to meet the horse is a different story alltogether. I feel (and don't quote me on this one) that many people get lost trying to find that elusive something, that roams in the deep, wise gleam in the eye of the horse. Then, what started out as a search for Harmony becomes an ego thing, a tiger ride, where, in fear of being devoured, you have to keep going or someone might notice that you're faking it.
That's what it boils down to. Beacuse when you take the time and meet the horse, you see Yourself and that can cause a lot of ignorance. Afterwards, when one has dwelled long enough in narcissos' shiny house of selfies, instead of going shopping (which, for some poor people, is a fokkin hobby!) for new horse-status apparell, one might venture into the unknown and meet a person who has been neglected for a while. You.
The Self, the shadow, the unconsious Mr. or Ms. Me. The person, who is not perfect. The one who is a coward when he should be brave, who does not know when she ought to, the liar and the quitter, the two-bit bullshitter, the one you love to hate. It's part of you too, mate.
That is the pilgrimage, depicted in so many cheesy movies. It's so obvious it's clich'e. The fountainhead of happiness and grief. A parcel from the Lord, sprinkled with nectars. You in all your grandeur and presence, with wanting but a little refining, finetuning, customization. Furthermore, it's not just the inner workings that need customization, it's the body aswell.
People are born crooked, one leg shorter than the other, creeks and twists in all sorts and variety with a self-chosen decadent lifestyle to add to the masterpiece. This is also true for the horse. One of it's back muscles is a touch shorter than the other and the other front leg tends to be dominant and they usually get too little excercise while living in captivity.
Now we arrive at the seed chrystal in dressage, hidden under that egotistical powerstruggle. For it is with classical riding (umong heaps of other ways of doing it) that one can adress these physical issues. All you need to do is to get off your high horse and ask for some help. And you'll never walk alone.
Hannah and Nancy.
Luke and KJ.
Yes, autumn. The crisp clean air and the colors. I like autumn.With autumn comes also the silage that is fed to the horses through the course of the winter. I had the honour of unloading some 12 bales of it with the tractor's forks. Beyond that I did some shovelwork, clearing out some stones in my pathway to the horses in a muddy paddock. It is often there, in the fruitful monotony of manual labour that novel thoughts sprout up. I thought of what's important.
In this village, umong other places, a lot of emphasis is put on the car. Outward appearance. The display window. I'm sorry to see that in some cases it's at the expense of what's inside. Value.
But what is really important?
When I think about it things come up like good health, family, friends, good food and good water(I like good water) shelter, belgian chochocolates, red wine and on top of that our own body and within it the most awesome instrument known to man, the human mind, all of it, whatever it is, for free. I for one am very grateful for this and happy about it.
Then, using this mind, one can elaborate on the importance of things and come across a huge problemlike piece of importance; How to spend my days? Back in the what-do-I-want basket. What a pickle!
I believe this donkey is quite content being a donkey.
The above mentioned elaborations, however, are in my opinion reached after one has a certain foundation in life. Maslow's basement stuff. In few places is that more evident than on this farm. You see, the main thing that takes place here is the rehabilitation of people with differing violations to that foundation. For many there is a fear, in it's many delicate disguises. The ONLY reason for some of these persons to get up out of bed in the morning is this farm, and THAT is important.
Who was it, that painted the sky so bright?Who is the author of all this light? In the darkness, through the brush. Lets us see when we are us. Nights and yellows.
A divided people led astray.
Together chasing a manmade light.
Racing into that darkening night.
I found a little helper but he needs a little help.
Anyway, today me and KJ, a local fella, took Senja the Tinker filly and Storm the miniature stud to their new home, some three hours away by car. The journey went well and the horses were happy.
On the way back, I bought a Deep Purple CD and one of those "these tunes really fit the scenery"-moments occurred. We drove on a road parallelling a fjord as a cloud started caving in on us from the mountaintops as the more ambient Purple hit the speakers. It felt like one of those POW-pipeline surfing videos only the wave was made of cloud and mountain. Serene. Beautiful.
We stopped on the way for some coffee and applepie. It was good.
A Norwegian house.
Storm and Senja in their new home.
Tiu and Markus shuffeling hay.
I changed the heater motor for Tius car.
The old vs. the new.
We also sorted out the stables. Organizing.
In the afternoon a woman came here to ride Luke, a nice warmblood gelding with a quiet nature. I decided to join her, riding Felix, a quarterhorse-canadian workhorse cross(I don't know the name of the workhorse breed), whom I have been appointed to take care of.
In the evening I went to see a movie in the local movietheater with a friend of mine. The theatre has been built by the community here in Bö. Beautiful.
The feature was Hitman: Agent 47. It sprung up many thoughts. Being a movie about an extremely rational asassin, unable to feel, he seems to be the perfect student, or employee for that matter, in the rational society view, that is. Strong, cold-blooded and resilient.
"Won't you be like Johnny Toogood, don't you know he never shirks?"
The perfect head of a major organization, willing to sack the most committed employee without a flinch. Those are also the traits of a sociopath.
Ofcource, some feeling was introduced into the film, in the form of a woman, otherwise it would have been no different from looking at the nine o'clock news. A woman. Rationality, or reason meets Love.
This anti-hero man would fit seamlessly into societies like sparta or Orwells 1984 that value agent-material like this. No name, just a number. Robocop. Terminator. Left brain hemisphere. That's where we're heading, rational heaven. Men can last it for a while longer, that's why "this is a man's world". And the girls who survive the teenage years are downsized to sexobjects or housewives. Secon-class citizens with a "known" trait of being simpleminded.
The yin has been neglected, put down and consumed, thought of as unimportant.We've been kissing our women for the wrong reasons and we're in a lot of trouble.
It's late now and the wine is getting the best of me. A change is gonna come and there are some things a man can't ride around. Sleep is one of them. Good night and good luck.
It's summertime and Felix is taking it easy.
Felix, he's the man.
Berjesvarten, on his way to retirement.
Pirsig talks about the motorcycle being an idea. It came from some designers heads. It's ideas built on each other to create something that seems like magic. To sit on an engine and flow through the landscape and be in it! That's what gets you. It's all really there! And you're a part of it!But the motorcycle seems to have an air about it all by its own, a presence, especially with the Harley Davidson. This presence seems even more tangible as time passes and one gets more aqquainted with the mechanics, the ideas, of the individual machine. There are messages in older bikes like these, written in the way they're put together, by the engineer, with the mechanic in mind. Sadly that mentality of making motorcycles, of making anything for that matter, is disappearing. This trend is a horrofyingly common one, where money is made by keeping secrets of my beloved neighbour and deliberately altering the culture of maintenance.
The sun is going down and I'm stating the obvious.
This motorcycle, like the horse is also a source for peace of mind. There is serendipity(for those not acqquainted with the word, look it up. It's a good word) in movement. Travelling without a necessity to arrive. Freedom. That's what sells bikes today. It's remarkable how many people spend so much time to make money to pay off a debt for something they do not really want. But this is also in the obvious bowl of ready chewed marsmallows of trendy consumer-society ranting.
"Custom" bikes, what a tragedy.The creative spirit of Mr. Catalogue.
What I want to talk about is the origins of these trends, the original seeds. Customization. Modifying something to better suit your ideas, values, creativity and your sense of humour. But to do that, you need to know what you want. When you get that sorted out and the motorcycle starts to resemble your inner workings, that's when the magic starts to happen. The feeling of riding a motorcycle, your motorcycle, after you've taken care of it is profound. Smooth. Good. Adding to that feeling is the reminder of all the people who helped build the bike with you. A good example is the sissybar on my bike, which was manufactured by my friend Ville, a wizard with the welder and the blowtorch. I also got a lot of help from bikers from my neighbourhood, some of which I hadn't talked to earlier, prior to my journey. You can always trust in getting help from the old brigade of bikers. Always.
Compared to the horse, the motorcycle has a different kind of beauty. You're riding on ideas, concepts, fabrications of the mind. Dreamstuff. To sit on a prodigy of man and improve it, at will, to infinite reaches. And all it takes is a developers mind. The mind of a creator(I might go into how "If God CREATED man in his image..." stuff, but that would be insulting Your intelligence).
I am approximately here.
Took some of these horses and went for a ride with the Dutch and a Norwegian cowgirl.
Took tuesday out for a ride the other day
Changed the busted license plate light for a led one
and met these beautiful Dutch people
and had a nice dinner with them.
I believe that what the horse is is different for everyone. For some it's a unicorn being, for others a beast of burden. Two opposites on the same scale. You can navigate that scale with reasoning alone and go a long way regarding understanding of the physics of the horse and its behaviour but without the feel of the horse you only get half a horse, or a quarterhorse (chuckles). Then again, being solemly in unicorn mode seldom amounts to much if anything. One ought not venture too far on either end of the scale. Balance.For me the horse is a friend, someone to work with, have fun with and share the more private matters, soul stuff. It is also a symbol for freedom, strength, resiliance, agility, awareness and calm. The source of peace of mind through constant effort and sometimes it's just an ordinary, fokkin, horse.
Often I wonder what the horse is for other people. Do You share these thoughts about the horse? (Please tell me, email@example.com) I also wonder if these aspirations manifest for other people in everyday life. At times I've observed girls on horseback getting frustrated, whipping, weeping. The way I see it, the horse has only one task, to be a horse, and it is doing an impeccable job at that at all times. All other wishes towards the horse are manmade and the responsibility of fruitful applications is entirely up to us.
What's going wrong?
There seems to me to be a gap between the ideals and reality. The young riders' room is decorated with posters of galloping horses in the wild, of someone riding a well-built equine god on a beach at sunset. These dreams are often met by an overworked, jumpy horse, during a riding lesson too short for creating a relationship, accompanied by twenty other pocahontases. The stable door is shut. A cold wind blows. A dream is being killed.
If the circumstances, however, are suitable for a relationship I.e if there is time, the horse will reveal yourself. For some that is too much. Enter ignorance. All other sources are sought for blame, a scapegoat is wanting. The search is futile, the flaw being the man in the mirror. The problem runs deeper than that, but that, as they say, is another story. I am tired now and umong people I like. It is good.
Juha is fly fishing.
It was nice to see a harbour again. The smell of fish mingling with seagulls in the air and the kelp-covered levybanks glistening in the lowtide sunshine was welcoming. This was the setting, from which we embarked on our safari with Lauri, who also works as a fisherman during the fishing season.
A sailor at his trade.
Juha at his trade.
Apart from bringing joy to whale watchers, the safaris may inspire further research into the lives of these magnificent creatures.
The wheelchair dude and Edzard doing a session with Karlo the Nordlandshest.
Viena and Juha.
It's raining again and the clouds hang low, hiding the peaks of the surrounding mountains. It's getting a bit colder and there's a mix of fog and ocean spray in the air.Kristian and Jonatan are leaving today and it's a bit quieter now. Autumnlike. They will be followed by Alex and Giulia on wednesday. I have time to write now.
I bought a notebook from the local toystore, which doubles as an art supply store. The paper in the notebook is good and my pen rides smoothly on it's surface. It also has guidelines to write upon, structure that gives freedom for thought. From the notebook I extract anything that has heat to it, write it on my Jolla phone and run it through the blog editor that my good friend Robin Backman programmed. From my phone these ideas travel through time and space, via rob's server out into the vastness of the worldwide web. To think that You can then use this instrument that we've labeled an eye and translate my ideas into thoughts and mental images is quite astonishing. From the ideas you can form Your own text and share it with me by sending it to me as electric mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org or as a letter and send it to: Fredrik Lehto, Bjorkengen Gard, Po box 181, 8465 Straumsjoen. And our ideas will blossom.
my jolla phone that im writing this on.
Giulia and Probie.
Giulia is making hamburgers
Jonatan, Tiu's eldest son.
Alex, the Porvoo Breakdancing dude.
One of our many bbqs
I chose Norway because it appeals to me in many ways, some of which I do not fully comprehend. I sometimes arrive to my descisions by intuition, rather than reason. Why it is so is one of the things I want to find out. Why do I act the way I do? I am far from perfect and I've treated the people in my life in ways I am not proud of. In a way this journey is about individual growth, union and getting to know myself. I thereby wish to expand that notion to something more widespread and tangible. See different views of the world and perhaps help someone else riding a similar train of thought.This journey is inspired by a book I read a few years ago called "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" by Robert M. Pirsig. I'm re-reading it now and a lot of it is more comprehendible this second time around. The book was first published in 1974 and it is an inquiry into values and views of reality. Pirsig's thought about dividing perception of reality into a classical and a romantic view resonates well wit me. The classical view, being a seemingly boring, technological, industrial creation opposes the romantic, groovy, flowy view. Although I will be referring to this book in this weblog I sincerely recommend you read it to see the outlines of the picture I'm trying to portray here.
I have since read another book that expands this context further and, in my view coinsides with this philosophy. "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" by Betty Edwards. A book about enhancing creativity and artistic confidence.Edwards speaks about the location of creative thinking being in the right brain hemisphere and that drawing is a cheap way to summon that creative force (all you need is pen and paper). This ability, having been neglecred in our scool system, is a clue to the sense of disconnection I sense within and aroujd me. That which is beyond reason. The uncharted territory I mentioned earlier.
So, some people can't draw, what has that got to do with the price of rice right?
Wrong. In the society I live in (Southern Finland, Scandinavia) big emphasis is on computer based actions, small scale robotics, science, threedimensional thinking, creative startups etc. We have already solved the basic need infrastructure and are now voyaging toward the worlds within. Ideas are wanting, and there are big issues that need to be solved in the not so distant future of our beloved mankind. You all know this. The world is in trouble, the ice is melting and mother's got a fever. The whole nine yards. We can wait for a deus ex machina and hope the hero will save the day, but my money is on the horse of creativity. The generation swimming in the common pool of knowledge. The freedom of ideas.
What then, has that got to do with horses?
The way I see it, is that horses are a great way to understand non-verbal communication. You can't fake confidence with a horse(Trust me. I've tried it. Didn't work.) When the good old bullshit factory is insufficient, you really need to be creative. Anyone who has travelled to a place where you don't share a common language and culture might have a clue as to what I'm talking about.
Non-verbal communication. Very well. But what has that got to do with me?
Well, the disconnection i sense is, in my opinion deeply rooted in the way our society was founded. The formation of speech itself started an alienation from nature. I spent some time in Inari, Lappland and some of the indiginous Sami people there tell age-old stories of when all the animals and man (as not separate from nature) spoke a common tongue. Later man was expelled from understanding the animals due to his bad behaviour and when the animals assembled to have a vote if someone wanted to join man, only the fox lifted up her paw. Therfore, when you meet a fox, you see yourself. And what does the fox say?(I have actually heard a fox some nights in the countryside of Kuninkaankyla, where I live and it sounds eerily enough like a child crying.)
It's raining now, so I can write a little more. Returning to the foundation of society, the ability to exchange information through verbal form has been essential in the making of these human collaborations. If we then fast-forward to the industrial age, we find the replacement of horses by macines. After the industrial revolution, the horse was replaced by tractors on the fields, horse and carriage by the automobile and the riding horse by, you guessed it, the motorcycle.
In Finland, as mainly the men unmounted their steeds and traded horses for horsepowers the women we're the ones to save the horses from extinction. I am very grateful for that. It is these women that have preserved the ability to communicate to these creatures and it is from them I have learned great deal.You might think then, that the trade from horses to machines was a bad one, yet the opposite is true. I just think something essential was lost along the way. And maybe the times are right for union. The meeting of woman and man, yin and yang, if you will. Maybe. This is the journey I invite you to join.
We moved onto the bigger horses as the girls progressed. I taught them how to keep a gentle, yet firm rein and how to progressively increase force in your aids if the horse doesn't carry out the task at hand. It was astonishing to see how fast the children learned the principles. I also noted how gracefully they would tend to their horses and how sincere their affection for these beings is.
The girls are eager to learn and their love for horses is evident.
Riding in the forrest.
We have had people come on riding lessons and I have worked as assisting instructor. The man in the wheelchair has also come for his weekly visits. The healing power of the horse is becoming more and more evident. Although it is very basic in the field of physical rehabilitation, it has come to my knowledge that Equine assisted psychotherapy works on a level we do not fully comprehend yet. Therefore, as I suspected, this journey towards the horse leads to uncharted territory,dark waters. I shall attempt to uncover some mysteries trough observations, reflections and philosophy. Now let's see what happens.
Otto the otter.
In the mountains.
Juuso and Berjesvarten.
equine assisted learning and healing services. There are about 15 horses here, a donkey, two pigsand a rescued otter. You can read more about it at: Bjorkengen GardThe people here are very kind.I spent a great deal of the day with Alex, a bloke from Porvoo who is working on the farm for the summer. We marked out trees that need to be cut down. We were accompanied by one of the clients who is re-establishing his self-esteem. We had fun. During the course of the day we did varying chores. We refurnished the pig sty. In the afternoon a young lad who is in a wheelchair, due to a stroke, came for his riding exercise. The excersise was conducted by a "guest starring" horseman, Edzard, who lives in India. Me and Alex were assisting in the session. The horse was a pony-sized horse of a breed unfarmiliar to me, his name is Karlo.The horse worked like a charm and the rider was very happy. Alex told me about the amazing progress that has happened during the sessions he had witnessed. I am not an expert on riding therapy but I think it helps a lot in building up the core muscles to help one in balance. Furthermore there is the emotional side of healing, which I will expand on when I have furthered my knowledge in it. The session really stopped me. I realized, that it could just aswell be me there on that horse, learning to walk again. I am very grateful to be healthy and to have the strength and ability to help others. Later in the afternoon Tius youngest son, Kristian and I went to the riding arena to do some horseback archery with Karlo. I am now very fond of the sport. The day was topped off with a nice gathered meal of noodles, naan bred with a vedgetable wok. For dessert we had icecream and cloudberries. I am content.
It is difficult to truly describe the feeling of blasting out on the other side. Seeing the mountains sighing like giant whales in the mist and the sunshine. Floating. Resting.
Shortly after that post from Tornio I rode my bike into Sweden, in beautiful sunshine. That lasted for about half an hour. Then the rain fell. Hard.At first it was allright. I put on my rain gear and kept driving, with a grin. Then the clouds thickened, as did the rain and I started to feel the windchill. I had set Kiruna as my waypoint of the day. I was hoping for an opening in the cloudbanks so that I could skate the miniramp there, like i did last summer. But as with most things in life; the brighter the light, the darker the shadow. Yesterday I saw the light. Today I saw the shadow. A few hours into the ride I could feel my body trembling. My raincoat filled with wind like a balloon and ventilated the inside of my t-shirt. Rookie mistakes. Slowly the seriousness of the situation dawned on me. There weren't too many servos around. Not this high up north. Not too many houses either.I decided to keep an eyeout for barns, houses, anything.
I was curious to find that it makes me feel warm to think of people I am fond of.
Rider of the storm.
faro on the interwebz
I finally made it to Bo in Vesteralen. I am here to study equine assisted learning and therapy through Kainuu Vocational college.This place is very nice.
So far so good.
Off the beaten track...
I hear my train a comin...
Vi e i I
Tuesday is mustering cattle.
Now we are in Toivakka.
somewhere on the road...
We are on our way.
I am Fred. I'm studying to become a horsetrekking guide. I'm not guaranteeing you any definite answers. I haven't got this thing figured out. My life is mostly questions. Im inviting You to be a part of this journey and see what amazements and inspiring things will be found along the way.
Tuesday, my travel companion.