Category Archives: fulfillment
When you think you know what it is you do and suddenly find yourself fully engulfed having fun changing lives in ways you never quite imagined or have ever explained to another…
In the last few weeks of my working with horses and their owners I was suddenly, almost magically transported to a keen insight into what it is I am actually doing in my “supposed” line of work as a horse trainer/coach. I am a transformer.
I have owners bring me their problems… horses, fears, ideals and dreams. Their horses that have stopped working, are barely moving, running away and are in conflict with what is being expected, or are totally refusing to “behave”.
I evaluate the communication between horse and rider, finding the clues to the mistakes. Many times because the horse’s body is out of alignment. The owner’s timing is off. The horse has never been asked or taught how to move in ways that are comfortable much less correct, and with no idea of how to ask with the rider’s body for the expected results with their horse.
I assist people in learning to connect in the horse’s body language of communication, how much difference it makes to a horse to move in a way that the horse can flow in any direction that is desired when the person asking is in the right place. Even more so to be able to bring to the owner’s awareness that many of the horses brought to me have been started or handled by well-meaning individuals who are not aware of what incredible mimics’ horses are. That every minute you are handling a horse you are teaching it something! What you do want or what you don’t want. For horses focus and live in the now, they are not thinking of ten minutes ago, are where they will be tomorrow.
Their focus on present is so keen, that if they are asked to move in any way that causes the one moving them to stop moving. They accept the non-movement as this last movement they have done was the right answer.
I have had three horses in the last four days that are older horses, who have no idea how to lope confidently on the ground with a lead attached, much less under saddle. These horses all show the signs of being ridden by people that had no idea that everything they asked a horse to do, even if it put the horse’s body out of balance. It had to be the right answer because one of several things would happen. The horse would stop moving, slow down to a more in control speed, the rider would stop pulling, yanking, kicking, lose the rider, or would quit and put the horse away. Many times selling the horse because they didn’t know how to fix the problem they had created.
I assist owners in becoming aware of how everything going on with their horses is a reflection of something in the owner’s confidence in communication. Horses and their owners’ bodies are evaluated, for chiropractic, feet, emotional and communication abilities. Many times as in the present horses… I go all the way back to simple, basic baby steps. In assisting the horse to find trust in my ability to ask with the right feel and timing for the best answer for the horse, then by showing and teaching this to the rider to start a whole new form of communication. Teaching and coaching both with their ability to understand and work with each other to change the habits that have brought them to me.
Always I watch with fascination and joy as a horse learns to lose the brace from frustrated, fearful handling because of all the misunderstanding in trying to figure out what is desired of them, and that it is possible to do these movements in a much more comfortable and easy way. I show both how to communicate comfortably, safely, and effectively in a way that they both understand and can feel that they must move as a team, each one’s job is to be in a position to assist the other the best placement of their bodies, so they can now find a new way to react that feels and works better for the both of them.
Many times taking former “washed up, bad, blown up” horses, and frustrated, fearful riders. Back to performing winners, comfortable, and confident companions, by getting all to slow down, communicate, trust and “ask” each other to be the incredible partner they had both been seeking and believing possible when they first came to me. I love my job, the people and the horses that grace my life.
Now feeling jazzed that all of this feels moments away from becoming my bigger reality. I got up, made coffee, designed and printed one gift certificate for my favorite client. Jumped in the shower, dressed, hair done, make-up on, as I hear the dogs barking, my automatic alarm for vehicles on the premises. Hurry out to say my hello’s and love the expression on her face over the unexpected gift. Amused as the two boys hurry to see who gets to go first, the younger quickly and aptly brushes, blankets and saddles his, with a quick smirk to the older, as we begin.
He has one side of his horse so completely tuned into his every question, but, the other side is this, hmpth, maybe, I don’t have to, stand offishness, with me coaching from the outside of the pen. After about 5 minutes of using all the tools that had worked on the other side, he stops, looks at me and ask for assistant. I go in, show him how to change his body position in reference to the horse’s, how to really make sure the horse’s ear and eye on the side facing him is actually pointed in his direction, before and during asking for advance or retreat. We go through the steps of having the horse turn away from him, or toward him, finally getting the expected response from the horse and a grin on the young man as he feels the dance.
So he mounts up, and as we put the big horse through his paces, the rider now feels the definite difference from getting the horse fully focused on the ground. We then proceed to hone, little movements of his arms, elbows, and hips, slowing them down, up, more or less till he is grinning as the big horse starts almost matching him as fast as he changes his thought. We come down to the small circle, finger up, or down, calf pushing or releasing, forward, sideways, and finally backwards. The big horse stops, is completely without any pressure on the bit, and his head drops lower the moment he is asked to stop. I give the thumbs up, he dismounts and heads back to the trailer. As horse and owner number two begin their groundwork.
Funny with the two young men being brothers, their personalities so extremely different, so well matched to horses the same size with exactly the same two different personalities. Working on many of the same exact movements, yet using entirely different tools and forms of thoughts to obtain these two boys grinning, sitting straighter, more confident, and more assured and comfortably managing animals that “use” to give them the runaround. As rider number two finishes and heads back to the trailer, the mom marvels at how much they always learn when they come here. How much they enjoy it, and how she can hardly wait till her horse finishes his month of tune up, for her to partake in lessons with a horse that better understands what is being asked, for her to then learn with and continue the fun that all of this has become.
We say our goodbyes, and as they are leaving I begin my horse rotations for the rest of the day. My big horse is puffed up, still sending out energy to the new horse that he is herd boss, and watch him perform, he so knows his stuff. Horse number two is just into playing, listening, partaking, but with the attitude of power, speed, let’s get it done and over with. Then to the little mare, in a snit because I am turning horses out as soon as I am done, and she does not think she should work first. So begrudgingly at first, she tries to just do enough to get by, till sensing I have all day, when she suddenly becomes all business like, turning and moving like the class act she can be when the mood fits her. We go through each ask, respond, stop, turn spin, head down, lick and chew, I grin as I am grooming her back off at how funny and like us they can be. Grab up the last of mine, he sighs, tries to run through it all so he can go out and play, till he realizes he will do it over and over till its right. Another sigh, he slows down, really starts attempting to listen better, small steps right, pivot, small steps left, pivot, step back, drop his head, release, take a deep breath and my personal horses are done.
With only the new horse left, and having such a great morning, I am in high hopes that the long session yesterday might have really ended in a really good place. Hopefully the asking for the left front hoof will be better. I am so pleased, when each thing I taught, showed or suggested he try to do yesterday, suddenly today, I have this great big huge cooperating animal, actually trying, working with me, showing me how smart he truly is, and how what I have shared with him about the way I will work with him, if he will let me. Truly does work for him. We have such an awesome session, I impress myself with his responsiveness and memory for all he was shown the day before. We finish with his head lower, a huge sigh, a perfect follow the leader game of stop, start, back-up as we head back to unsaddle. I brush him down, take him out to the big sandy pen, to turn him out to role and run till later. I am so in love with this path I have finally found such great footing on as I keep moving toward my dream!