When you’re around horses for any length of time, you learn to pick up clues from their body language about how they’re feeling and what mood they’re in. You can do the same with people — how often have you figured out someone’s mood before they’ve even spoken a word?
In our winter camp this year, we combined observation with art and came up with a project that’s educational and fun for both kids and adults. Bring your camera to the barn and just spend some time observing. Take pictures of the many moods and attitudes that play out among the horses while you’re watching. The idea is to use the pictures as reference and create a piece of artwork that compares horse and human body language. There are no rules: paint, draw, collage to express yourself. Create self-portraits, use existing photos of friends and family, cut out magazine pictures — anything goes.
Here’s an example from Laura E., one of our campers:
Laura even wrote a poem to go along with her collages:
“The wind blows swiftly
Their hair blowing in the wind
The snow glistening
Shimmering from the sun’s rays
They graze on what they find
Little spots of grass
The snow reflects the sunlight
Causing it to melt
Leaving more spots to grow grass
They neigh happily
Delighted at what they see
Nature growing back”
Try it yourself — go spend some time just watching the horses and getting those creative juices flowing. You’ll come out of it with a heightened sense of awareness and a deeper understanding of non-verbal communication.