Three weeks ago I shared an image on my Instagram account which was automatically posted to Facebook.
It was an inspirational poster that I created on the background of a horse's glossy shoulder. The text, which was almost but not quite a poem and almost but not quite a prayer, reads as follows:
The Horse is not here
to reward your ego
to compete with you
to punish you
to control you
The Horse responds to
who you are
how you feel
what you think
what you do
The Horse is here
to enable you to learn
how to be a better You
- and that is a blessing.
The message that went with it read simply, "Sometimes people think because they "own" a horse, the horse is supposed to be an ornament or an ego booster. When things don't go the way they want, they see the horse as doing it on purpose. Not so. The horse is a gift, a blessing, one of the best pathways to personal development I know for those who recognise it as their super power. This little poster expresses some of my thoughts on the issue." ⠀
So, no big deal, I thought. Another day, another original meme, right? Wrong!!
To put things in perspective, on a good day, the organic reach for most of my social media posts is between a few and a few hundred people, with a couple of shares and a bit of engagement if I'm lucky. Not this post! "The Horse is not here" quickly shot to reach of over 10,000. Then it kept climbing, in leaps and bounds: 40,000, 80,000, 100,000. I was so amazed I kept taking screen shots of its progress.
At time of writing this article, the post's reach is 122,757 with over 1600 shares. Furthermore, that is 100% organic reach.
This original article by Joanne Verikios - entitled "The Skyros Pony - A Love Story" - was first published
in Equestrian Country Magazine, Issue 2, Autumn 2017
The beautiful island of Skyros lies in the Sporades archipelago in the Aegean Sea. At just over 220 square kilometres and with a population of around 3000 people, Skyros would fit into Tasmania more than three hundred times!
Seismic upheaval, wind and water have combined to shape the frilly skirts of Skyros’s narrow-waisted coastline. Myth, legend and history have influenced her settlement, culture and strategic importance since ancient times. Civilisation here dates back at least to the Bronze Age (2500-1800 BC), as evidenced by a remarkable archaeological site at Palamari.
Colourful myths include that of Achilles, whose mother tried to save his life by convincing him to hide on Skyros disguised as a girl. Wily Odysseus tracked him down and convinced Achilles to use his talents as a warrior at the Siege of Troy, where destiny – in the form of an early but glorious death – awaited him.
Today, apart from enduring traditions and enchanting scenery, Skyros is most famous for being home to an endangered native equid, the so-called Skyrian horse or pony. The Greeks, who have no word for pony, use the term αλογάκι της Σκύρου (i.e., diminutive horse of Skyros).
This original article by Joanne Verikios was first published in Equestrian Country Magazine, Issue 2, Autumn 2017
(Photographs below are from author's collection)
Behold the stallion. No matter what breed or size, stallions draw us in with their presence and intrigue us with their drive and ambition. Anybody who has been around horses for a while has a stallion story, whether it’s an inspiring tale of gentleness and manners or a horror story of horsepower gone wrong.
The gentle art of stallion management and training, from colt foal to full-grown, is usually what makes the difference, both to the stallion’s life and that of the humans who come into contact with him. This is, of course, true for all horses, but stallions are perhaps the most sensitive to poor handling practices, especially when their agenda differs from their owner’s agenda in a big way.
First of all, let’s take a look at what makes a stallion tick.