While my sister and I were driving to Kentucky at the end of April, we were having pretty good conversation. 6 hours on the road will allow for that. We got onto the subject of horses… believe it or not… and she shared something with me that caused me to amend my approach with Sunshine.
I don’t remember anymore exactly how we got there, but we were talking about my brown horse and my red horse. The differences, and the similarities, and all that I was learning were what we were touching on. My wonderful sister, in all her wisdom, said to me, that my brown horse needed me more for healing at this point, and my red horse needed me more for security.
In some ways, because he is so big and bold, That could seem a little surprising. However, the last year or so has shown me that it is a truth to be considered.
When we got back home, I started a new approach with him. I strived as best I could to remain in my gentle strength, and to push his edges a little and allow him less liberties and I had before. By this, I mean he got less options not to participate, or to have me amend the program based on where he was. It was time for me to step up my leadership and prove to my red horse that he could trust me without a doubt.
I really felt that we had built enough of a foundation that this transition has been able to happen gracefully. The biggest thing that I have been able to do, I believe, is keep my emotions out of it. It’s really hard sometimes not to take things personally when my horse makes choices that I haven’t even offered.
I don’t mean to say at all, that I don’t listen to his opinions. Now, I listen to them and it’s more of a “yes, and…” rather than “I see you and I will listen”. So we have evolved to a new level. And, it seems to be working very well.
I think that some of these things I write about I would like to video, because it’s so hard to explain completely. I might find that it’s hard to video also, but it could be interesting! Since I’ve adopted my latest new approach, my red horse has been asked to lunge and has worn his saddle twice. Today we had an interesting session together that was one of those that could seem pretty trivial and I feel was incredibly significant. So, I will try to find the right words to describe it.
My red horse was snuggled in the run in in his pasture this morning, and I went out with a halter rope to invite him into a session. He wasn’t so sure this was a good idea. Sunshine had been coming right up to me when he saw me, but since we switched his pasture a couple days ago, this has diminished somewhat
Not at all surprising, it makes perfect sense that he had strong opinions. However, with our new approach, I was determined that we were going to do something today. I figured my idea of making it to either the indoor or outdoor arena, might be amended a little.
This was a good choice on my part. I got him to turn in come to me so I could put his halter on. There was no biting involved. And then when I asked him to come out of the run in, he tried to rush past me and rip the rope out of my hands. This is an old trick for him, of course, and I had an idea to be prepared for it. Luckily, I was able to interrupt that process, and get him back with me. Then we spent a little time asking him to move around in the pasture. I was careful to notice where his hind legs were, and what they were doing. Not in relation to being kicked, let me clarify. But watching how they move the tempo, the rhythm, and if he could cross one hind foot in front of the other. I have really been noticing that this is where bend starts in the horses, and it makes such a big difference in their mindset.
This turned out to be a great day. When I had my red horse following me like a puppy. I unhaltered him and set him free. He hung out with me a little, grazed by my feet, still with no attempts to put his teeth on me, not even a sneaky poke at my calf. I walked toward the gate and turned back around in time to see him take off at a canter toward the run in. This was a very good day. Thank goodness for insight, wisdom and shifting gears!