Of passion, horses and positive change

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I am trying to read more blogs these days. It is such a motivating and inspiring thing to do. There is just so much passion, talent and willingness to share positive vibes in this otherwise gloomy, stupid and violent world…

A French “philosopher” (it always blows my mind that people would have the nerve to call themselves philosophers these days) was asked recently by a journalist: “is there more evil than good in this world? Are people more evil than good?” To which that asshole replied that there was indeed more evil than good. That it was an undeniable fact.

I couldn’t disagree more! I am no philosopher, so I don’t even know if I am entitled to give my opinion on the matter. I will anyway:

The reason why one might think there is more evil than good, is A. because we tend to pay more attention to what shocks us and B. because the media plays on A. and loves to feed us garbage. So yes, we tend to watch the Kardashians on TV; yes we like a good plane crash, but that’s only because of the shock value these provide. I think that, given the choice, any one of us would rather witness the birth of a child, see our favorite sports team win the game or watch the great first audition of a super talented kid on the X factor. So yes, Kim Kardashian’s ineptitudes speak to the animal in me, but watching my team win speaks to the potential hero. One makes me more of an animal, the other makes me more human. One plays to my fears and stupidity, the other to my power…

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I think we all yearn to be inspired. We all want to meet and associate with people who make us feel better and stronger. We want to be passionate and involved. We want to matter. People are good by nature. I am absolutely convinced of the fact that there is more good than evil in us. We just need to pay more attention to whatever or whoever shows it and champions it.

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I recently met such a champion:

As I was driving through the hills of Pomerol the other day, I saw two men plowing a field of vines with their horses. I had seen them before and was convinced it was a new marketing stunt that the Rothchilds, Moueix or other had decided to pull. But I love horses and was very interested in talking to these guys. Maybe there was more to it than just business strategy. So I parked Charlotte on the side of the road, walked towards the younger of the two men and introduced myself. The fellow was still about three rows away from me. As I got closer, I realized that I knew him. His name is Sebastien and we used to ride horses and go to school together some 30 years ago. I stopped ridding after I started college, but he continued competing. His love for horses had never left him and when it came time for him to earn a proper living, he decided to stick with his passion. Nobody can make a decent living out of horses though. People always say that if you want to survive in the horse business, you need to marry well or win the lottery or both. So Sebastien put his thinking cap on and decided he would offer his services to the local châteaux as a freelance horseman, using his gorgeous beasts to plow the fields. He is now making a good living off of this and spends his days doing what he loves, with his animals, in the fresh air throughout the Bordeaux vineyard where he was born… What an inspiration!

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Knowing the guy, I allowed myself to ask the real question: is it just another marketing stunt or is there an actual benefit to using horses in the vineyard. Sebastien could not deny the PR aspect, but he also explained that more and more châteaux owners saw the real benefits of using horses instead of tractors to tend their vines. A man, a horse and a small plow are much more precise that a tractor or other more modern tools. Less vibrations are sent towards the roots and there is no soil compaction as they go through the vineyard. This makes it a perfect solution to work around young plants and very old ones alike. So, if horses are not about to replace tractors in St Emilion, Pomerol or the Medoc, they are a new way to provide genuine care for our money makers (the vines) and our environment. It also makes Sebastien and the tourists very happy indeed. Win, win, win!

And here is to another post that was supposed to be two sentences long and ends up reading like war and peace written by a monkey… Sorry!

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78 Comments Add yours

  1. chef mimi says:

    I’ve seen this post before, but I have to say that these horse photos are some of your best!! They’re just beautiful!!!

  2. Beautiful. Absolutely, completely beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I love horses so much! They were everything to me when I was younger. It seems you share the same love for animals… 😉

      1. Indeed. I have 8 horses, 38 chickens, 6 turkeys, 2 cats, 2 cows, 2 turtles, 1 dog and one little girl…… Which is why I won’t be visiting France again anytime soon! So I’ll just enjoy it thru your eyes. 🙂

        1. My French Heaven says:

          Oh wow! That would be too many for me I must admit… These days I only have an old dog and an even older cat 🙂

  3. Lisa says:

    Beautiful post! Wonderful story and I am so glad you shared it! I love all youth photos too! The horses look magnificent and the pooch portrait is adorable! That is so cool your friend found a way to make a career out of his passion! Hugz Lisa and Bear

    1. My French Heaven says:

      That dog was absolutely adorable! I love terriers 🙂

  4. Lynn says:

    OH, I love horses so very much. I am so awfully allergic to them, but my dear “special needs” daughter has such a way with them. I take her out to a stable every Monday and most of the horses just settle down so instanty around her and become so quiet. She talks to them and scratches their noses. I smile and scratch MY nose.
    I agree – more good than evil. Otherwise the world would be destroyed by now maybe, don’t you think? I am surrounded by kind, generous, encouraging people. I cannot be the only one fortunate enough to live this way.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      When I was younger, I gave ridding lessons to people (kids and adults alike) with special needs. The way they improved over the months and years (coordination, confidence etc.) was simply astonishing and also life changing for me… Thanks for your comment Lynn!!

  5. Thought-provoking post. I, too, believe that there are many more people, quietly living lives of graciousness and kindness all around us than there are evil-doers. We can’t be pollyanna-ish and deny the existence of evil but we can choose to surround ourselves with things of beauty and taste and kindness. It rubs off.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      It really does! It’s all about proper focus and perception…

  6. mariekeates says:

    What beautiful pictures. Seeing horses working in the fields made me smile. I’m with you on the more good than bad thing too. The bad gets all the press coverage but, if you really look. There is so much good and beauty in this world. I make it my mission to look for the beauty every day, maybe it would be good if the media did the same.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      With the right focus and mindset, we can make the world look very good indeed. It’s all in the way we approach life I guess…

  7. soonie2 says:

    What an inspiring post, I so love to hear of people who are able to make their passions work for them! Your images are just magnificent…growing up, I had both a horse and a pony. I really miss my old riding days. Such beautiful animals!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      These horses are a ton each. They are very impressive yet so calm and and placid…

  8. Stacy says:

    Definitely not written by a monkey!

    I like reading blogs, too – and for the same reasons as you do. xo

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Stacey! You make me feel better 😉

  9. angelinahue says:

    This is a lovely story with beautiful pictures to match. A good example of when there’s a will, there’s a way!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Absolutely Angelina. Well put! Thanks for dropping by 🙂

  10. juliabarrett says:

    Horses make wonderful partners. I’ve learned so much from horses over the years. One thing is – never assume. Another is how to be willing to work cooperatively and harmoniously with another species. One must (humans that is) learn the language of horses to work with them successfully. Horses truly are my weakness.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I just beat the crap out of mine and they did everything I wanted out of fear. Just kidding of course!!!! I hope you get my terrible sense of humor by now 🙂 Horses are my favorite animals by far. I’ll have to write a post about them someday…

      1. juliabarrett says:

        Ah… Horses are my weakness. Galloping a horse is the best feeling in the world.

        1. My French Heaven says:

          That and jumping are the closest thing to actually flying… Such great memories…

  11. Well this is something you don’t see hardly ever! Beautiful story…takes me back to better days in our world.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Better days I don’t know, but certainly more romantic 🙂

  12. A beautiful story with even more beautiful photographs. When you mentioned the ‘French philosopher’ my immediate reaction was to roll my eyes in utter disbelief. You are absolutely right, there is more good than evil in people. This is amply shown in your friend Sebastien, his horse and the work he loves. I only recently started following your blog and I agree with you that reading more and more blogs is inspirational and motivating.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I’m so glad you found my little blog. Thank you so much for your kind words! Kindness, I feel, is the ultimate elegance…

  13. Sometimes things just take our breath away. They often do, on your blog, Stephane, but here, in the vineyard with you and your schoolfriend’s horses today was something special – gorgeous shots, infused with the dreamy warmth and sunshine of a summers day took me straight back to my childhood on my father’s little vineyard in Australia where (for a while, and I can’t remember the story) our neighbour worked his Queenie in just this way.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      The light in Australia must be magical in a summer morning. The shots were taken really early in the morning and the atmosphere was quite special… Thanks for your lovely comment. You made my day! 🙂

  14. Finding happiness in the simple things of life… I’m with you! Lovely post Stéphane 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you my friend!!

  15. Jessie says:

    Your are the one who makes people think that there are more goods than evils in the world. As always I love your pictures. Thanks for sharing!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You are so kind Jessie!! What a lovely thing to say!

  16. yogaleigh says:

    Your posts never seem too long. Lovely tale this time.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks! I’m glad I didn’t bore you to tears 😉

  17. I love your blog Stephane, for the brief moment I am reading your beautiful words and looking at your gorgeous photo’s I am reminded of kinder, gentler times. One day I will visit your little piece of heaven and experience the beauty for myself.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Oh how I’d love to meet you in person someday!!! I think we are a lot alike…

  18. CakePants says:

    I agree with you, that we all want to be inspired in one way or another. What a beautiful post – and what lovely animals 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Just seeing horses in the vineyard on a beautiful sunny morning makes me feel better about the world… Call me romantic…

  19. chef mimi says:

    a beautiful post!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Glad you liked it darling!

  20. I was just reading another post about the manipulative effect of media on our world view. (http://sightingsat60.blogspot.com/2014/06/lets-keep-em-honest.html) Love the dedication of this one man to inspire and motivate us to more, more work yes, but with more life. Thank you!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Yes, I stopped trusting the media a long time ago. I will check your link out. Thanks!

  21. You already know I love horses and can’t wait until August when I can indulge in daily riding. What beauties these are! I love the story and the getting back to the earth. Your friend is thinking outside the box and long may he prosper. As for you, I think you’re doing what you’re meant to do–bringing people, food and beauty together to create joy and memories. Viva le good! We need to focus on it and create as much of it as each of us can.

    janet

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You are so kind dear Janet! What a lovely comment 🙂

  22. ladyredspecs says:

    Beautifully written and photographed as always! The simple life is always appealing, a man following his dreams. That has to be good, though the tractor saleman probably think he’s evil. The way I see it, we scorn those who think and behave differently to conventional conservative right wing norms, ideals fed by greed and power. Depending on your the society in which you live and your personal beliefs, it is then labelled “good” or “evil”. The media, politicians etc create and reinforces fear!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I wish I was as brave and talented as he is. By talented, here I mean able to showcase your skills and creativity well enough that people will use/hire you… I am living my dream now, but I wish I had more guests. I am lucky though, as I’ve come across so many great people this year so far. I love my job! Being able to welcome all these foodies and introducing them to my favorite places and foods…

      1. ladyredspecs says:

        We’re definitely coming someday, but life just keeps getting in the way of us committing to a time.

        1. My French Heaven says:

          One day I hope 😉

  23. It just goes to show you if you love something and are passionate about it… then you will find a way to make it work. I guess bravery comes into play too. All the nay-sayers may get in the way of your dreams, but if you are brave enough you will forge ahead.
    BTW Stunning photos….

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks for the compliment my dear friend! And yes, you are right, a lot of passion, resilience and hard work will take one a long way…

      1. Easier said than done, but sometimes well worth the effort. As a child did we give up after we tried to walk? talk? read? I think we forget sometimes the effort to make things ‘work’. Nothing ever is perfect the first time we try it.
        There is something about your photos that draws me in… they are so beautiful.

        1. My French Heaven says:

          You are always so kind to me! Here’s to resilient dreamers!

          1. Well you are worth each compliment 🙂

  24. Is that a piece of cheese there that you’re giving the little dog…? I feel a midnight snack coming on…

    1. My French Heaven says:

      It’s a piece of sugar actually 🙂 Enjoy your midnight snack!!! 😉

      1. I’m having it right now… and it’s CHEESE 🙂

        1. My French Heaven says:

          😉

  25. cmchesebro says:

    Thank you. Truly inspiring!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You are most welcome! I’m glad you liked it 🙂

  26. lizard100 says:

    These photos are really spectacular. Very lovely.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Why thank you so much! Thank you for dropping by My French Heaven 🙂

  27. Beautiful horse, beautiful dog, beautiful story. May the good always win.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Yes indeed! Thanks Stacey!

  28. Vinny Grette says:

    What compassionate animal pictures – love them!

  29. Wonderful post. Thank you for sharing.

  30. sarplane says:

    Wow, thank you for visiting my blog and introducing me to yours. Beautiful writing and amazing photographs.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You are most welcome, and thank you for visiting!

  31. Julie says:

    Truly, a beautiful post…

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Julie!!

  32. There is MUCH more good than evil in the world! That dumb self-appointed “philosopher” has to go back home and do his homework. He has no clue what he’s talking about!

  33. steph10z says:

    That “philosopher” is a freaking idiot. If we say there is more evil in the world, then we are letting evil win. People feed into the evil and forget about the good. I found this post very inspiring because it is exactly what I am trying to do – spread GOOD. If more people started feeding into good, which I see a TON of people doing, then evil is defeated, no? Do you remember what that “philospher”‘s name is?

    1. My French Heaven says:

      His name is Bernard Henri Levy. He is just ridiculous in every possible way…

  34. beautiful post written by a beautiful gentleman. love love the horse photos of course and everything in between. cheers… kimberly

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Kimberly! You make me feel much better. I felt like I had written quite a lot of rubbish in this one…

  35. goingplacesbr says:

    Sabastien is not unique. I visited a farm here in Oregon a few months ago. She primarily uses draft animals for all her farm work. http://yamhillvalleygrown.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/old-fashion-passion/

    1. My French Heaven says:

      That’s great! Vive l’Oregon!

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