One of the principles of permaculture is ‘Obtain a yield’. On seeing the horses the other day, a visitor asked ‘How do you make money from them?’, and seemed surprised when I simply answered ‘We don’t’. It’s an unusual response to meeting horses, and not one I’ve encountered before, but it got me thinking. Certainly, making money from them isn’t an option – they are both rescued, and money tends to flow in entirely the opposite direction, ie, towards them, rather than from them.
However, if you were to ask ‘how do they provide a yield’, then the answer would be very different. Of course, horses have one principle output, and I spend a good deal of my time up to my ankles in it, or carting it in the direction of the vegetable beds.
The other yields aren’t as obvious to those who don’t know horses, but are far more important, in my mind. Horses offer a unique form of companionship, giving of themselves freely, and really asking very little in return. There have been a number of times in my life when time spent with horses has literally been my salvation, and evidence abounds that spending time with them has huge benefits for our mental and emotional wellbeing. If that isn’t a yield, then I don’t know what is.