Moon Mountain Sanctuary

Herd Life

Dynamic art or moving art exists at Moon Mountain. For Lynn and Ron, the sheer beauty and power of a herd of 12 horses freely moving over the landscape is a visual image that sings to one’s emotions. The herd represents true art in movement. As the herd canters to the night camp, it is an awe inspiring sight where the gift of freedom that our herd have is celebrated every day.

Freedom and choice is the key in the Moon Mountain herd.

The Moon Mountain herd of 12 live as a harmonious herd free ranging across 25 hectares. Living, eating, interacting, and connecting as a herd, where deep and meaningful relationships exist between members.

The essential emotions of a wild herd dictate the daily rhythm of life and movement as a herd. Harmony, cohesiveness, and synchronisation are the underlying fabric of life for the herd. As are freedom of choice and movement the gift Lynn and Ron have been able to give the horses. A return to some degree of wildness.

Lynn and Ron wake very morning with the herd part of their life, each gathering at the house to be with Ron and Lynn as the sun rises. Their life is free, where no fences prevent their free movement, and they have access to the house and share life openly with people. Witnessing the horses build deep and meaningful friendships reinforces how social horses are. It’s a rare and an amazing experience to have lives so beautifully entwined.

Part of the Herd - Bettina Biolik

During my recent clinic near Sunshine Coast, Australia, I had a very profound experience. We were almost at the end of the clinic and Lynn, my last student for that day, in fact for my whole tour, was in the arena with her PRE gelding Estano. Since it was Good Friday, all auditors had already left in order to get home for Easter preparations, and the previous student was just about to load her horse and leave as well.

The clinic took place in a very well set up venue, which had large stalls for the guest horses that were close to the indoor arena and under the same, large roof, so that the horse in the arena could always see the other horses. Due to that, all horses generally felt very good at the clinic.

While I held on to Estano in the riding arena and Lynn got her Pivo ready to record the lesson, I saw that the previous student and her horse were walking out of the stall area. She loaded her mare without trouble. When you have been around horses for a while, you know that one horse being left behind while all others are gone or are about to leave can be quite a source of anxiety for that horse, so I half expected Estano to call out to the horse that was leaving or to start moving his feet towards the exit. He did none of that and just stood and watched Lynn set up her equipment.

But then, Lynn noticed that she had forgotten something and left the arena for a minute to get it. That’s when Estano started to squirm around, wanting to follow her, and I could see that he was seriously worried. He intently looked in the direction of Lynn, not the other horse that just pulled out of the driveway.

Estano immediately settled when Lynn came back, and we had a wonderful, quiet lesson, although Estano was the last horse on the premises and all other horses were way out of sight, on their paddocks.

Then a realisation hit me: Lynn is part of the herd, that’s why Estano didn’t feel like he was left behind, and that’s why he got nervous when she left.

Now, I have seen many people and horses have very beautiful relationships on clinics, and I like to think that I have a very good connection to my horses, but I felt that this was something else.

Lynn didn’t use any technique to keep Estano’s focus, no horsemanship exercises to calm him, no treats to distract him. It was her sheer presence that was enough. I also happen to know that Lynn doesn’t practice any special horsemanship techniques with her horses when at home, either, just good old handling and dressage training.

In fact, most of what Lynn does, together with her husband Ron, is live together with her herd of 13 horses at Moon Mountain Sanctuary in Eumundi, Queensland. The horses live as a herd and they are living on the whole 25 hectar property as part of a re-wilding project. The place is truly special with it’s wild gardens and fields, and with lots of original art integrated into the landscape, as Lynn and Ron are also art collectors.

Their house is in the middle of the property and the horses have direct access to it. So when Lynn says she lives with her horses, that’s no exaggeration. They come by the verandah frequently to see what the humans are up to and they can look through the large glass fronts. The humans inside can overlook a big part of the field and you can see the horses most of the time somewhere.

Lynn has just launched a book about living with her horses, a collection of stunning photos by a local photographer and short, but very insightful texts.

Mind you, Estando is a horse who is used to living in a herd of 13 horses 24/7 and doesn’t travel much. So him being away from his herd and staying so calm when the last horse left was a special moment.

When we brought Estano back home and let him out of the trailer, the whole herd came stampeding to greet him. Estano immediately went from quiet travel companion to growing 20 centimetres and greeting some horses, while sorting others to stay away. In the middle of the stampede, I saw small Lynn confidently walking amongst them and leading the way to the big shelter. She did not drive them with a whip, just walked off calling them, and they followed one by one.

I stood there and thought to myself, that I know many horsewomen and -men who sell expensive programs to people, and many who write lots of smart texts on Facebook. And then there is Lynn, who just lives with her horses and whom her horse seem to trust so much, that they feel she is enough in the whole world. And I thought how lucky I am to count Lynn amongst my students and that I could still spend three days with her and her herd, before I headed back home to Europe.