I’ve been spending time looking back through some of our campervan journey photos from throughout Europe. These images of The Mérens Horse – known as the Black Prince of the Pyrenees – touched me deep in my soul!
I remember well, photographing and quietly observing the majestic herd of Mérens, as well as the beautiful, mountain cows and their young, sweet calves. Both herds of young and old were peacefully co-existing together – free to roam, in the beautiful scenery of the Pyrenees mountains.
(In many mountainous areas of Europe, small, sustainable farming is rich in ancient tradition and very different from the industrialized dairy farming practices eg, where cows will have their horns removed and calves are most often separated from their mothers or killed at birth. Mountain farmers will usually name their cows and maintain a close bond with them – just as it has always been done in the past! The cows will enjoy a wide, diverse terrain to graze, including large areas of natural, wild, medicinal and nutritional herbs, flowers as well as forested areas for foraging and resting in the shade….not to forget fresh, clean mountain air to breathe!)
Here on the alp, I also remember a little French girl who clearly was just as captured by these beautiful beings as I was. Each time I glanced away from the horses and looked behind my shoulder, I saw that she was following me…. she had a small camera, which I saw her father give her. It seemed as though she was totally immersed in the moment with the horses, cows and tranquil scenery – much like I was.
5 years later, I wonder if the little French girl looks back at her photos and remembers that special day with the beautiful Mountain cows and the Mérens horses.
Many of us share precious moments in our life, where we may feel a connection or see a reflection of a younger, innocent part of our being… this could also be through our relationship with own children or grandchildren. These precious, healing moments are usually when we are simply being in harmony with our heart, nature and our inner child feels playful, creative and free.
A bit about the Mérens Horse…
“This small, black horse is native to the Ariège Pyrenees, having the name of a village in the high mountains close to Andorra. Paintings of horses strikingly similar to the Mérens are found on the walls of the cave at Niaux. Gentle, hardy and economical, the Mérens horse has long been a companion to the “Montagnol” (mountain farmer) and the soldier, notably with the armies of the Count of Foix Gaston Phoebus in the Middle Ages, and later Napoleon during the Russian campaign. His gentle disposition makes him a favorite with children.
In June the herd is led up to the summer pastures to spend several months in total freedom in the high mountains. This life with the herd gives the Mérens horse the mental balance for which he is known. While Mérens horses are increasingly bred in other regions of France and even other countries, an authentic Mérens is one who has run free in the high Pyrenees like his ancestor’s thousands of years ago.”
– you can learn more about her portrait work here.
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