There are moments in your life, maybe when you are least expecting them, that something wonderful, or beautiful or magical happens that takes your breath away. And what is perhaps the most curious thing, they sometimes happen because of the smallest acts of kindness.
There is, for example, something wonderful and magical in the relationship between a young girl and a horse. That relationship has a way of not only grounding the girl, but also of lifting her up. It has a way of enhancing her confidence, her sense of responsibility, her sense of purpose. It has a way of lifting her spirits and contributing to her life. She might even, at times, get a glimpse of her future while riding that horse.
Sometimes it’s enough to take her breath away.
Today's show is in good part, about the magic that happens between a young girl and a horse as it is portrayed in DreamWorks Animation's stunning new film, "Spirit Untamed." In theatres now, "Spirit Untamed" is the story of the relationship of a young girl named Lucky with a very special horse she names Spirit. Spirit is a wild and magnificent Mustang, a breed which itself embodies the wildness, and insistence on freedom, of the American frontier.
What I also find intriguing, however, is how something so grand as this relationship between a young girl and a wild Mustang, can have its beginning with the very smallest of gestures. Here, the friendship between Lucky and Spirit starts with the gift of an apple from her hand. But magical, breathless moments, and kind gestures offering apples, are not just the stuff of movies. Time and again I’ve seen how a small kindness in everyday life can open doors and build bridges that you would scarcely imagine that it could.
The presence of apples at a barn, of course, is a commonplace thing. I always bring apples with me to the barn because they are the favourite snack of Bud, the horse I ride. Sharing an apple with Bud is part of our little ritual of greeting when I first arrive at the barn. Some might call it bribery. But I think of it as simply an important part of our ongoing friendship.
And, of course, the apple is a healthy snack for both Bud and for me. Old fashioned goodness you might say: sweet, maybe balanced by a little crisp tartness. Horses and old-fashioned apple barrels kind of belong together.
Offering Bud an apple reminds me of the expression we have of “breaking bread.The expression implies a sharing, a coming-together to partake of a meal. Sharing food implies a relationship of friendship or family. It can be a little bit the same between people and horses too. So, Bud and I are, if you will, kind of “breaking apples” together.
The idea of the presence of apples in the relationship between horses and people is referred to in this enchanting new movie, “Spirit Untamed.” My guest today is Amy Paolini of JAZZ apples. JAZZ apples has formed a unique partnership with DreamWorks Animation that has helped them to promote healthy eating in children and youth. Horses generally love apples, and you couldn't really think of a better snack than something that is tasty and good for you all at the same time!
There is something particularly enchanting about a Saturday afternoon spent at the movies. Sinking into a cool, comfortable chair and escaping into the sights and sounds of the big screen of a movie theatre is a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
I’ve always been a big fan of going to the movies. Over the years I feel as though I have learned a great deal by the many different kinds of movies that I’ve seen. Some movies take you to faraway places and grand adventures. Some invite you to dream about what your life could be. Other movies ask you to look inside yourself and see who you are. There are stories, too, that remind us of the need to remain true to ourselves and to those whom we love. There are stories that are journeys to healing and renewal.
There is a little something of all of these elements in the movie “Spirit Untamed.” It is an animated movie about the coming together of Lucky, a girl who had lost her mother as an infant, and Spirit, who had been separated from his herd. They are, in their own ways, together trying to find their respective families and places in the world.
But Spirit's very wildness is itself an attraction for Lucky. It is a wildness that paints for her a portrait of her mother's wildness. Lucky's mother's first name, Milagro, means "miracle" in Spanish. It is as if her mother's spirit is symbolised or echoed in the spirit of this wild horse. The horse is untamed, like her mother was, and as far as it depends on Lucky, will remain so.
“Spirit Untamed” speaks to the longing in all of us to find ourselves and our place in the world. It is about believing: Believing in yourself, in your family, in your friends, in your dreams. It reminds us that love and family and friends are the most important things we have. It reminds us that true love and connection, between a parent and a child, between a girl and her horse, can survive the most difficult of times, and stay true.
Still, the movie also speaks to the possibility of new roads and new relationships. It is by opening our heart to the possibility of a new friend, by offering a small gift like an apple, that an entire new friendship, an entire new world, can open up to us. And in that sharing, in that coming together, we might even find our own way home.
I hope that you get a chance to visit with Lucky and Spirit in the movie “Spirit Untamed.”