Category Archives: Anger
Ahh… the simple question of a child. The ten year old at lessons yesterday so intent on getting right the timing with her horse, stopped suddenly in tears of frustration. “I’m so stupid!! She’s not even trying to listen to me and do what I say. We are never going to get this right, I don’t even know why we come here. Stupid horse, stupid heat, stupid ground. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! Ms Cat why do you even come out here with us?” Tears rolling down her face, in the 96 degree weather on a hot Thursday afternoon in Texas.
With only attempting one new move, a tiny shift in her posture to re-learn after my noticing her growth spurt of the last few weeks. After taking the time to adjust her stirrups and explain how it would help her sit and feel better. I told her “just takes a little while to get used to”. Watching her face as I demonstrated how those 2” of adjustment were now going to allow her to be able to sit deeper in the saddle, to feel her horse up under her. She would no longer be crouched forward in trying to keep her stirrups in place caused by her growing legs adjusting to fit in the saddle, instead of adjusting the saddle to fit her.
All the excitement of “hope” that this would be the cure-all for the problems found in the last few weeks since her previous lesson, showing in her face after the adjustments were completed. She proceeded to walk through the simple warm-ups she has been learning, to see if the little mare was following her feel. Listening, turning and moving together easily and smoother than minutes before.
Smiling from ear to ear she moved into the trot… for it all to seem to come apart. The horse dropping in to turn, the small hands trying to compensate with all of the thoughts running through her mind of “what it was she thought she understood she was trying to do”. By the third attempt all of the tears, frustration and indignation surfaced from all the time her mother said she had been working on it at home. They came boiling to the surface in the tirade that ended in the needed to be answered question.
I let the tirade run its course. Looked at her and asked “Why do you think I am still out here with you?”
She reached down petting her horse and apologizing to her for being so darn stupid and mad. Then looking at me, took her hand made it into the letter L (I use here to symbolize learning) held it at the front of her head and said “Because you love helping us to learn! You care about having fun. Fun for me, my horse, for you and that we are comfortable, confident and safe!”
And… I queried? “Baby steps!” Suddenly her face lit up as she remembered, “Ms Cat this is what practice is for, so I can learn it slowly, for it to become easy for me and her. I don’t have to get it perfect, just improve a teeny, tiny, bit, have fun, be safe and breathe!”
I then asked her “What do you think is wrong?” As she sat there thinking for her answer. I watched as the tension was released in first her fingers, then her body as she became more relaxed in the saddle. The mare’s head dipped, the reins became soft, with a cocked her hind foot as calmness returned.
“I don’t know… can you explain it to me better?” I thought about the maneuvers she was making and where I saw the improvement might be made, and then I asked her to explain what she thought she was trying to do. Listening as I heard her explanation, aware of her understanding what she thought I was saying, verses what I was intending for her to do. Aware of the discrepancy in words, I immediately switching to my physical mode of teaching, by allowing her to see and really “feel” the movement of the horse step by step in the best position for this mare’s physique and her young rider. Mimicking with my body the movement of the horse in the correct position with hindquarters engaged and the frustrating feel of the horse when dropping to turn, causing the hind legs stepping out, with no collection. To have the thrill of within just a few simple, really slow steps, she was getting her body in sync with the little mare at a walk, then an extended walk, to finally one simple circled trot to the right, then to the left with both moving together, upright and connected, all smiles and scratches for her mare.
The Wayne Dyer’s quote “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change!” came up a lot this last week. Reading questions and concerns on a few horse sites I belong to from so many owners and riders who in learning new ways are having the same disconnection of words to physical action seen with this student earlier. When she allowed her emotions to come boiling up, and thankfully flowing out of her body for relief. Instead of the learned habit many experience in “feeling not good, pretty, successful, happy, rich etc… enough”. Many asking for help… to find tons of advice and suggestions. Not aware of how much their “not enough” feelings about what they are attempting are the limiting factor. The negative self talk, then internalizing the feelings into walls of doubt that seem impossible to overcome. Aware also of how many words there are out there to describe a movement, a place, a desire, a need… the words are only as capable as the feeling of possible or not possible as the understanding behind them.
In assisting my clients and their animals I’ve learned to listen to the question asked and the feeling accompanying it is. Slowing things down, hearing what they think, how they feel and what is the thing inside so tangled as to be creating this confusion of “I need the whole thing now!” Not the fun and joy of feeling the music in learning and creating their own dance. Teaching for me is awareness, breathing, learning and fun along with others on this journey!
Big sigh, as I see the sun so wonderfully enveloping the entire room as it climbs in the morning sky to dry out the cold, dampness from the last two weeks of “yes” much needed rain for this and the entire state of Texas. Funny how the Universe knew to match my moods where I have been searching, digging, excavating and discovering the root parts of me, buried so deeply, safely away, to avoid further humiliation, distress, uncertainty and all the other old stuff that finally found me after Christmas with my family last night. I watched the inter changes, listened to the talks, heard the general tone, and dynamics of those I care about. Wondering, how I could help, what all of this was really reflecting back to me about me. With real fun at the gift exchange part, followed by quick noticeable departures, I felt so strongly from others mirrored inside me, just with no real answers.
My youngest and I said our goodbye’s, loaded up our stuff, and departed with me driving, thinking, and aware. Getting home to my horses out in the yard, the youngest swearing he had closed everything as he rounded them up, talking ugly to them under his breath for their awareness of his hurrying earlier and evidently not checking to see all gates latched and closed properly from the enquiring expertise of my gate artists. Animals re-corralled, fed, watered, hayed, latches, gates thoroughly checked and all lights turned out. Came inside to put away the dishes, showered, and a few games of solitaire for my mind still thinking, considering and searching for the answers, since nothing showed itself I went to bed. To dreams about men, loose horses, and hedges with holes, and fence lines that were under construction, some places completely missing and others with odd patching’s.
Woke up, reminded my youngest of our agreement for him to do the morning feeding, went and made the fixings for breakfast. He was not moving quite fast enough for my morning mood, and as I felt this annoying consistent anger rise. I could feel how out of place, inappropriate, misguided and off base where it was directed at. So I asked myself “what gives?” All of me answered back “you’re mad at yourself, cause your afraid to move any closer to your dream!” I felt the anger drain away, I knew what I had just said to me was right. I have been frozen in fear, just like the side of my face, because what if I’m wrong, what if I get duped again, what if…. What if… what it?
I got some coffee, 2 biscuits with jam, turned on the computer, pulled up the program for drawing, opened it, but instead of letting it frustrate or stop me cause I don’t know how to use it yet. I opened the desktop publishing program I am extremely comfortable and familiar with. Allowing my now open to the possibility I could fail, but at least movement is forward motion. Decided on what tools I would need if I were to hand draw it. First thought graph paper, so I pulled up graph paper images, copied, pasted one to my open page. Went back outside, measured the distances on my property, then crossed the fence and measured out the distances on the proposed adjoining property next door. Came back in and put all these now easy pieces together.
Things kind of a got a lot easier, when I figured out the only one keeping me from anything has been me. I have failed before, but I generally figure it out and then one, two, five or more times later I have really much better end results than when I started. So here goes…. Oh yes Margarita, this I attribute to your wonderfully observant and in-depth answer from before!