Watching Tara and Misa work together can only be described as a flow of water. Of tuning in, of two creatures creating currents together with hardly a splash. And when whitewater appears and hooves go dashing away, of waiting for the water to settle. To try again. To deepen growth, to find that point of coexistence and balance between horse and human.
This does not mean it is a perfect flow, and at times it can be far from it. Misa (Artemisa de la Casa, PRE) was discovered by Animal Control living in a hoarding environment and was sentenced to be euthanized due to her skittish behavior and frightened demeanor. I remember Tara’s excitement and worry as she made the long trek to save Misa and bring her back in the middle of a winter storm. California had been bone-dry for going on a decade and that season every raindrop that had been held back for years burst for the ground as Misa, terrified and unused to travel, unknowingly made her way home to Humboldt County with Tara at the wheel while thunderclouds debated the sky. It was there in Humboldt that Misa’s journey, and their mutual learning and healing together, would birth Unbridled Goddess. What began as a popular Instagram account journaling their progress and process as a team would evolve into the dream currently manifesting beneath the solemn redwoods of Northern California.
As a photographer, this day was a treat (literally- I was treated to ice cream at Scoop for lunch!). Sunny skies and balmy breezes softened golden hour light to a gentle haze draping above tall grasses that sighed from the warm earth, and I hid amongst them to shoot from afar. Misa is skittish and shy, shifting about the shadows and following her owner anxiously from barn to arena and back, and ethereal as a dream. While we’d reached a delicate understanding, I was still a stranger in her safe space and I was worried about startling or distracting her as I moved about the field. I chose to keep my distance, navigating around piles of horse poop and trying to evade April (the pushy little pony) as I gave Misa and Tara their space. Tara made kissing noises at the equine mirror of her soul as the sun sighed low behind the redwoods. Artemisa flicked her ears, shy and proud to show off as crickets raised their voices in applause. Cricket, the palomino, glowed with lost daylight and watched from the sidelines waiting his turn. April, impatient for attention, bonked her head at my camera and huffed.
Between us all, the musical light and whispering shadows of the half-light that lingers between day and night.