To Tell A New Story
I get home, we unload feed, my client came to watch me work her horse, ask questions, learn, pick my brain as I play with her horse, asking for softer response each moment, knowing he is feeling my sense of love, fun, and ease at improving the connection between him and me. Then sharing what I am doing with his owner till she understands enough that I can see the physical difference in both her tone and her stance. Ending the session with him softer, more fluid, flexible, tired, but proud of himself for understanding me. His owner commenting on what an incredibly interesting life I have, because interspaced through the entire session, my son wanders through with momentous requests, which I field with looks, body language and temperance. Just like my horses and he gets what he asks for, after he too finds the place of accomplishing what is needed to get the reward he seeks. The owner sees and marvels how all of this stuff ties together, and she schedules her next session.
I get out the appaloosa that belongs to my youngest, today’s session is much like my session with him, he pushes, tries to turn away and act like I am not referring to him, as I stand there and wait until he releases the pressure. No reaction from me when he fiddles, pulls harder, turns his nose up, or wiggles his lip, nothing but patience till he shifts his foot and finally tips his nose, releasing all tension in the rope, to look at me. The look means “is this really all that you want” I grin, we move on to riding, today is much like the pleasure it is becoming in dealing with his owner.
I move to the new horse, she is stiff, braced, looking everywhere, but at me. All the expectations of dealing with her past and what others have done… to “make her ride able”, her eyes are brown, glassy, the whites showing. All the signs of expecting the worse, all tight, tense, ready to push or run over me before I do that or more to her. I start with a brush, a long stroke down the entire length of her body on both sides, then start working of detangling her mane, then the massive tangle in her long, thick to the ground tail. For a solid hour, I detangle both the mess in her tail and the tenseness in her body, as with about every fourth or fifth stroke, I ask her to take a step right, couple more strokes, now step left. The continuous movement of the brushing, breathing, small steps here and there are rhythmic, soothing, almost mesmerizing in there simplicity. They even allow for her couple of times of blowing up, jumping all over the place wild eyed, staring at me, expecting retribution… I just keep slow, quiet, firm and moving her, the brush, me, her tail till I hear this big sigh, and about the same time the final knot comes out of her tail.
I change to the next task, continuing moving her through each situation of asking for her feet, asking her to step forward, to walk over the ground poles, to accept the blankets, to accept the saddle, to allow me to step up in the stirrup, to get on and finally to get her to take willing small uncertain steps around the pen. Each time it is the same slow ask, wait, response, breathe, ask, wait, response, till the right response is found. Slowly her body starts to soften, slower still her head begins to lower, finally I begin to get a softness in her eye. The eye which has changed from hard, glassy, walleyed, to soft, big brown, liquid eyes of relief… I spent four hours with this little mare to get her to go from a state of rigid, dire, “oh no’, to a softer, “what is all of this, not sure but it is definitely worth learning what’s next”.
I love playing with this life I live. I truly am blessed with what I have learned!