My Guy story

Kathy had asked us to share any Guy stories that we may have after his transition to heaven last Monday. At first, I didn’t think that I really had any significant stories. Then, I remembered.

Last summer, I was talking to someone who was a very new client. I will call her “Wanda” (not her real name). We sat at a picnic table right in front of the cottage with 4 horses in the area contentedly “mowing the lawn”. As we sat down across the table from one another to begin our chat, the horses were scattered out and about, not within 20 feet. This would soon change.

As we began to talk, one of the horses wandered up on my side of the table and greeted me. She put her big head right next to me so that I could scratch her favorite place under her chin. After a few moments, she wandered off to continue grazing and another horse came up. He, too, wandered off after some scratches and nuzzling. Then, Guy decided it was his turn.

At first, the visit from the gentle giant was nothing out of the ordinary. He came up to get his belly scratched, I think one of his very favorite things in the whole world. When I ended the belly scratch because of exhausting my arm and wrist strength, instead of ambling off as usual, Guy stuck around. This is where I started noticing the out of the ordinary.

He moved around to the short end of the table, and stuck his head right between me and Wanda. He tilted his face so that his forehead was facing me. I could not see anything other than a very big horse head. I had to actually stand up and coax him with more belly scratches to get him to move from in between us. After I had again reached the point where I needed to stop the scratching, Guy this time angled his tall body so that his neck reached over my shoulder. Up to this point, I had been able to maintain focus on what Wanda was talking about. What Guy decided to do next, however, got the majority of my focus.

Wanda had several items on the picnic table, including a cell phone, book, a couple of notebooks and a bottle of water. By this time, I had almost completely given up trying to help her shift her perspective so that she could see how her actions contributed to her situation. I am a bit stubborn, and keep trying to gently open up someone’s mindset when they have enlisted my support and input to help them make some changes. I hadn’t been doing much talking at all during this session as my attempts had been met with a great deal of resistance.

As Wanda was talking, and Guy had his head over my shoulder, he started to edge forward a bit, so that his head was once again directly in between the two of us humans. This didn’t phase Wanda one bit, and she just kept on telling me about how evolved she was, and letting me know how much I needed to get someone else to change, and why did I think he thought the way he did. It was obvious Guy wasn’t happy that he hadn’t had an impact, because he tried something different.

The big, gentle giant put his nose on the water bottle. Still no reaction. Then, he pushed it, and it toppled over and slid off the table. It was picked up by Wanda and set down right back where it was. She continued to talk. Then, Guy moved a little and pointed his nose at her notebook. Still no pause or shift in her conversation. Guy pushed that on the ground as well. Still talking, she leaned over to pick it up, and put it right back in it’s place on the table. I was observing this, transfixed and amazed. It amazed me to no end that these antics were going on unnoticed by Wanda. Finally, when Guy pushed her cell phone onto the ground, I couldn’t contain myself anymore. I ever so elegantly snorted out a stuck laugh, and was met with Wanda’s very disapproving gaze. I apologized and asked if she had noticed Guy’s behavior. She looked at me with even more disapproval, and told me that of course she hadn’t because she was telling me something incredibly important. I shared that I always found what the horses had to offer important. This caused her to pause a few moments. I am sure in disbelief of my lack of attention to her detail.

Then, she started telling me how she had trained many horses in her younger days. At which point, Guy turned his butt toward us and ambled off after a few moments. I believe he felt that he had adequately shared his input, and the timing was perfect as we had reached the limit of our allotted session time.

I felt such gratitude for Guy sharing some space and time with us that day. I was struck by his actions as they caused me to think and feel that he was a bit protective of me and the safe emotional space we guard at the farm. I was also in agreement with his opinion of the conversation. This is my special Guy story. Rest in peace, fierce warrior protector. I appreciate you and your wisdom. Thanks again for sharing with me. july.6

where is the shift?

Playing with obstacles with Little Horse a few days ago was a lot of fun, and did it ever give me a lot to think about.

I had a basic agenda for this introduction to obstacles for the two of us. I wanted to have fun, observe what happened, and not let my Little Horse jerk the lead out of my hands. (Story for a different day!) I thought that this was a pretty sound and realistic plan.

To start, I walked him around the 3 obstacles without asking him to get close to them or go through them. He seemed calm and curious which I took as positives. Then, we got closer and almost through them. The next step I got some resistance from Little Horse. I gave him time and space, and then asked him to come through again. We had successes, sometimes making it all the way through, and sometimes just getting closer and more relaxed around the obstacles. Then, the big resistance came in as Little Horse did a little rear up and tried to get the rope away from me. Luckily I was enough in the moment, and prepared for this antic, so he did not get the rope away from me. I felt like we had made it through the biggest obstacle of all by not letting him get loose.

We continued through a couple more obstacles with no more rope removal attempts. What happened next astounded me.

Thinking we were all done and leaving on a very positive note, I took the halter and lead rope off Little Horse. I really thought that he would take off to join the other horses grazing through the gate. However, he did not. He stayed right with me. Armed with treats, I decided to experiment.

I started walking, and he followed me. Then, I went through what I would have described as our easiest obstacle, and Little Horse followed me through without the hesitation that he had demonstrated earlier. He did that through the others, as well. He even trotted with me as I ran through one of them. In fact, he only joined the other horses after I walked out among them with him. I was absolutely delighted by this, and I was also bewildered by what I had just witnessed.

There was a huge shift when I took the halter and lead rope off of my Little Horse. For both of us, everything was more fun. Now, I want to figure out why that was. Was it a shift in him? Was it a shift in me? I have a feeling it was both, but so many variables can enter into the equation, it’s hard to know where the shift originated. At this point, I want to identify where it started so that I can recreate that feeling of fun more consistently throughout our journey together. I am fully aware that I may change my view and perspective as we progress, but for now I am pondering this shift and excited to continue my research. Always, always, always more to discover and learn on my journey with horses!