Over the past couple of weeks, I have been sharing territory with Little Horse. The way that I chose to do this most resembles Carolyn Resnick’s method, but I have come across similar ideas and exercises presented by other trainers. I gave it a try figuring I had nothing to lose. I am so glad that I gave this a chance, because I have already been able to put some check marks in the “gain” column, and it’s so early in the game.
What I have been doing is putting Little Horse in his stall with some hay. He eats, and I sit on a little stool in there with him. As suggested, I read, or sometimes bring out my tablet so that my intellectual focus isn’t directly on him. It has been pretty cold over this time, so sometimes I have to call time due to shivering. Even with this added craziness, this time has become very special and affected our bond. I have already begun learning about my horse and myself, and am becoming committed to continuing this practice.
I feel that I am getting a better picture of who Little Horse is, just by being with him. I do feel that knowing my horse well, and having a strong connection is what will keep me safest in the saddle, as well as make our work and time together more fun for both of us. An example of respect occurred the first day that I tried this. He came into my space uninvited, and I shooed him out of it. That happened three times. Since then, he has not come into my space uninvited again. Not with this sharing territory time, nor when I am out with the herd moving them around for feeding, or otherwise interacting.
I have found that I have a hard time slowing down. It hasn’t always been easy for me, but since I have become a mom, my drive to hurry up and get as much done as I can before I run out of time has increased significantly. I have to remind myself that I am a human being and not a human doing. Reminding myself doesn’t work as well as sharing territory!
The best part is that I walk out of the stall with a full heart. I feel lighter, refreshed, and more bonded to Little Horse. I believe that he is enjoying sharing territory also. More incentive to continue!