The Vast, Great Sea of Horses

Snow Angel

Horses . . .

We only see the outside.

Like standing by the shore of a vast, great sea.

When we stroll the ocean’s edge, we know what we are likely to find there . . .

Nature. Air.

Color. Texture.

Ripples. Wavelets.

Seabirds. Sand.

Sparkling sunbeams, moonbeams, gracing the surface with magical glints of dancing, ever-changing light . . .



We know, when we are near the sea, what we are likely to feel . . .

Vast. Open.

Fresh. Alive.

Ageless. Outside of our day-to-day limitations of space and time.

(We revert back to childhood.)

Tempted to take off our shoes, get our feet wet.

Sand beneath our toes. Shocking cold of the water.

Maybe even splashed by an unexpected wave — and now our leggings, wet for the rest of the day :))

Molokai Stand-up Paddler



I grew up in Malibu, on the beach, with Nature and sand and surf, outside our back door. From a small child, I experienced the ocean, in all her moods.

A Vast, Great Childhood Wonderland!


Blustery Spring and Fall

Calm Summer perfection


Childhood Memories —

My brother and I, puttering endlessly through the sand dunes, scooting on our knees — and the squiggly tracks our legs and hands left in the sand.

Forts with make-believe kitchens, “baking bread” out of a brown, loaf-shaped cork we found, after it had washed ashore. (That item was a particular rare treasure :))

Listening to Roy Orbison’s Pretty Woman on my transistor radio one perfect beachy day, at the very time a shapely, bathing-suited brunette — I was just a dorky kid — swept past my sand-dune-fort, swerving and curving with each stride . . .

Orbison singing, “Pretty woman, walking down the . . . beach, Pretty woman” and remembering this scene for years to come, whenever I hear that song. 


Winter, with her storms

Spellbound, in terror, and awe


Late-night fierce, far-away storm. Lightning strikes, firing off on the horizon way out to sea. Blazing explosions of Nature’s wrath — complete with roaring, booming thunder. All us kids piled on Mom and Dad’s bed, shivering in fear, watching the spectacle.

Windy, fall mornings at the bus stop, watching the surf while waiting to go to school. Wishing that summer was not over, and yearning to be back at the beach . . .


Moody. Changing.

Foggy. Sun.

Windy. Cold.

Burning sand.

There is a Life and Culture, that comes with the sea.

Molokai Mural


Dad had a boat — 14′ motorboat, green fiberglass. Evinrude outboard engine. It smelled like gas and fish and oil . . .


He’d put-in at the pier at Paradise Cove, where a crane plucked up the boat, dangling from a sling, and hoisted it slowly, down into the inky water below.

Dad and some family/friends would motor out, around Point Dume, and up coast to the waters outside our Trancas Beach home, and drop off a rubber, air-filled Voit surf mat, just inside the wave line.

The crashing surf would tumble the mat in, and one of the bigger kids/adults would paddle out on it, past the breakers, and climb into the boat . . . (I think adult beverages might have been involved :))


One day Dad and the boat almost ate it — frozen in my memory, I can see it, even now.

A BIG wave cresting behind. Building. Forming. Ready to break. His little boat in too close for this unexpected rogue.

All of us on shore yelling. Pointing. Jumping. Shouting.




Dad standing, like a jockey, one hand on the wheel. Smiling, waving — forever the showman — thinking it all great fun.

(Crap! Dad!! LOOK — turn the boat!!!! This CAN’T happen to you!!!!!)

Dad waving. Us yelling. The wave building, cresting, like a mountain, ready to smash and destroy . . .


Then Dad, in that final possible moment, glancing sea-ward — still standing, clam — turns the boat and slices through the top, airborne, rocketing out, crashing down — safe, onto the sea behind.

When he got home, hours later, all he could do was laugh.


(Read more about DawnHoof’s Studio Musician Dad here, and listen to his wonderful music :))


Hawaii Horse -- Parick Ching

So, also, is the Vast, Great Sea of Horses

Life and culture.

Mood and magic.

Calm and storm.

Story and lore.

Terror and awe.

Aria Runnning in frame

We only see the outside, the “shore” of the horse . . .

Manes and tails.

Hard hooves. Soft noses.

Yet what lies within?

What memories do my horse’s seas carry?


So just as I grew up with Nature and the beach, my daughters grew up with Nature, and our horses — right there, outside our cabin door. (On occasion, in the foyer of our home!) And later, stabled at nearby ranches.


Their memories include:  Milking goats. Sleeping in full-sized Sioux Indian tipi.  Dressing up (like a baby doll) our numerous newborn (horse) foals. Carriage rides. Wildflowers. And standing up atop the horses, just for fun :))

Laying, snuggling and singing with the goats, the horses. Chasing chickens and ducks. Eating vegetables straight from the garden. And the sweet smell of damp, wet earth.

My daughters’ family lore includes:  Working and earning money at our vaulting and carriage (camp) gigs as my helpers, wranglers, muckers.

Saving their earned money in special, hidden envelopes — “checking out” whatever money they would spend with a simple, yet effective, handwritten accounting system.

School-free days — escaping into the woods, on horseback, by themselves. Galloping. Racing. Laughing. Crying. Climbing trees. Playing flutes . . . and Daydreams . . .


Long rides on dark starry nights. Fast gallops and sharp branches tearing clothes, poking flesh. Famous stories of all the near misses . . .

Like the icy wipeout at Wounded Knee Rock, leaving only one small injury, one shiny scar (fortunately on me). And like Dad’s near miss with the wave, but for God’s grace, that near-miss could have been fatal.


And when we gather together, when we reflect back — Dad would approve — we share lots of lively laughter :))

(See Dawn’s posts, Virtual Rides, for more family horse stories.)


Sunset at Sunset Beach

As with the Ocean, So with our Horses

And just as we experience the sea by surfing, swimming, floating, diving, boating — just as she can be mapped, measured, traced and traversed, no one will ever really know all her secrets.

Endless treasures abound within her watery depths.

Each one of us who encounters her, experiences our own, personal ocean-legacy.

And so it is with our horses.

Because in the presence of a horse, like the sea, far more lies beneath her surface.

She can be brushed and led, trained and coaxed, saddled and ridden. Her DNA can be mapped, measured and traced. But we will never really know all a horse’s secrets.

Fanta vaulting

What is her story? What is her lineage? How did she get here?

How many children has this horse carried?

How many lives has this horse touched? Changed? Encouraged?

Who are her favorite stablemates, and which ones, now lost, might she pine for?

What motivates her? What does she enjoy?

What are her fears? Hopes? Limitations?

Who are her human loved ones?

What animals cruise by her corral at night, frightening her? Feeding her nightmares?

(We have bear where our horses live!)

Hoku with full moon


In our horse’s presence, we know what we are likely to feel . . .

Vast. Open.

Fresh. Alive.

Ageless. Outside of our day-to-day limitations of space and time.

(We revert back to childhood.)

Tempted to put on our boots, go closer to where she is, and stand near her.

Wrap our arms around her neck. Whispering. Scratching. She, stretching and moving her upper lip in pleasure . . . sharing a bonding, intuitive moment.

Maybe even moved to mount up and ride. And now our leggings, sweaty for the rest of the day :))


Paris' Blue Boot

Ode to Our Horse —

So as we experience all that comes with horses,

Boots and saddles

Dust and manure

Life and beauty and majesty . . .

Surf Scene :))

We celebrate the exuberant treasures,

The rich, deep wonders

Hidden within

The Vast, Great Sea of Horses :))


Zoppe Rearing Horse

Fae Shadow Tree McGill


Ella at Fuji's -- Dreaming


Copyright 2018

Photos: DawnHoof (Dawn Jenkins)



Please also visit my Life Blog, Journal of Dawn,

for Strategies and Insights into the

Journey of Life


Little Dawn with Breyer Horses

Little Dawn with plastic horses at Grandfather’s house

Join Dawn for a Soul Horse Ride!  Experience the thrill of becoming one with your Horse . . . Join Dawn and her homegrown herd for a  Soul Horse Ride in the Frazier Park Outback!

Call to book your Life-Changing Adventure today:  (661) 703-6283

Long Shadows



March 12, 2018 · 11:55 pm

15 responses to “The Vast, Great Sea of Horses

  1. My relationship with horses is one of peaceful coexistence. I don’t understand them and the feeling is mutual. While walking my dogs one morning, I once came upon one of their tribe outside of the paddock, and dangerously close to a highway. Not wanting to “spook” an animal larger than myself and having no idea of how to handle her, I quietly walked around her and went to find the nearest door. Good thing the human inside, belonged to that horse. She would not otherwise appreciate a knock on her door, at the break of dawn. – Rick

  2. Can’t wait to dive into your Sea of Horses, Dawn, and share some of their fluid magic with you. (I have your cards. Want me to send them to you? Will you be in my neck of the woods anytime soon? Love your blogs! Love you!

  3. I love what you’ve written here; you’re a gifted writer. I never had the pleasure of owning a horse, I’m a bit afraid of falling off if I get on one. I was never this way until I survived a devastating boat accident. It made me more cautious about many things in life. At any rate, I truly enjoyed this story. Thank you for sharing!

    • Thank you, Connie — I do guide people into the world of horses, if you would like a graceful re-introduction :)) We are right off the Grapevine near Tejon Ranch. If you get to Southern California, let me know :))

  4. NorCal Zen

    Very beautifully written Dawn. I enjoy reading your thoughts. I just invited a new horse into my life, and she seem to be very wise. I can’t wait to get to know her better. When I first met her two weeks ago, her eyes was “not seeing”, blank, like if she was in a dissociated place far away. After an hour, or so with her, they started to lit up. Yesterday when I picked her up from her old home, she was alive. After letting her settle in with my other horse, we had a beautiful moment of bonding last night. I know, you know, what I’m talking about. Those moments that no money in the world could buy.

    Have a wonderful new week,

  5. A beautiful ode to these beautiful animals, Dawn!

  6. Don’t know how I missed this. Going to take the time to read and view it with gratitude and appreciation. Our horses expand our lives exponentially!

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