Category Archives: Horses
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.
I have spent the last few mornings opening and perusing my many uplifting emails from others. Always easily deleting the off-key nonessential ones that always contribute to my ability to choose what I allow into my mind. For me to find myself opening an email from another like to my blog which has been lying dormant, as the new seeds of certainty slowly spring to life. Opening up the husk of long held close reverence to the confidence that I have been fanning from a tiny old spark, to this consistent rising flame of life!
Life from beneath the ashes where I once quelled, lying shaken and afraid from my allowing a well-known critic (in my circle) to slash my last book attempt to fragments for “My Way” of connecting to others from my learnings with people and their horses. Allowing another’s power of “their” opinion to have any say whether I was good, or not…
So I retreated…
Deep inside to the murky waters of doubt that seemed to be so warm, safe, comforting…
Only to discover they were only concealing the truth of how truly powerful and awesome I was to those who needed and understood the view “I” was coming from. They are the ones whom I write and share for. There are many who might critique, complain and condemn my ways… But they are not of importance to me, except for how they remind me to look forward at my ability. Never back to the old ruts of OPO (other people’s opinion) that use to be the trap I so easily fell into.
This morning’s email being the third time this week that I have received thanks and likes about blogs that I had previously written months and years ago. Before I finally was caught in the deep old waters of fear that so easily encourage me back to their depths for the false safety of doing without movement forward, just resting in the their dark, murky depths…
No… I choose to rise!
Just this last week I went from just riding, interacting, and socializing fully with my horses, especially “Charlie” and my students. I am fully embracing, loving all of life again with biking 2 miles and walking 1 mile every day. Now finding myself, feeling amazingly alive because I choose to believe in myself, in my ability and right to do things my way in everything I do. Knowing and trusting those who need what and how I write, will find this to be blessed, encouraged or just amused at how easy it is to just “breathe”, take “baby steps” and the world will support you being fully true to Yourself! It is always Time!
All these thoughts drifting through my mind as I come in to alignment with my body on how I can comfortably live my life with it… is so not what I expected or was taught. I am discovering every day more and more habits that I do at an extreme price to my physical body now that it has had enough and has my full attention as I intuit why and what is right for me. Fascination holding the key when I rolled over in waking up this morning to absolutely no pain anywhere.
I then did the typical feel, move, stretch, and search for any signs of discomfort “before” I went to thanking my entire being for getting into agreement over how I can change pain by myself when I listen and trust the information that fleets across my mind, each time lingering longer as I begin to believe I am allowed to know what is best for me.
I am in total appreciation over the ease of simply being aware of the sensations in so many of my muscles just by when I am smiling, and the unique difference especially in my neck when I habitually choose any other facial expression. I was in awe of the sudden memory of the hall of our old house where my mother framed all of us girls pictures from K-12 and how I stopped smiling at about the fourth grade, the same time I realized working, equaled dollars. Creating things, yard work, leather craft, anything for a few dollars spending money always with this personal inspections from family others about how “right” or “good” it was.
The tons and tons of do overs, you missed a spot and the worst of all “you didn’t make that” until the entire piece was examined and the eventual flaw was found to satisfy the examiner. The whole time I felt I had to defend my work, try harder, do more to be paid and then was told how, where and what I was to do with the money earned.
This morning brought it even more to my attention as I took the time with each horse and became conscious of the seriousness I have extended to so many of the things I truly love doing. I now play the game of catching myself any time I am not smiling from this trained habit of defending myself for the right to do something my way. I have so well learned this amazing work ethic in all I do, even with each horse: grooming them till they sigh, discovering I have this natural (sheesh) grimace as I really get into grooming and stroking of each muscle. Catching the difference when I am doing it by feel, breathing real deep with each stroke and to inhale the smell of the moment, my face relaxed until I go to looking at what I might have missed and could do better. This time I smiled, I breathed, aware “damn I am hard on me”.
I go on to groundwork with each animal, again aware of any tenseness in my neck, and danged if it doesn’t match the moment my thoughts try to jump even 5 minutes ahead of what I am doing. So I grin, relax, leave the phone on the table and flip my watch over. The horses are different, easier, all of the steps asked for are met with this wonderful sense of ease and timing as I start off down the road for a half mile ride.
Trot, walk, trot, extend the stride, change hips, feel each back soften and move with me, oops the thought of one more horse to go. I feel the tug at my neck, I breathe, grin and let the thought go at the same time aware of the release in my shoulders, followed by a softer feel from my horse through the reins, a wonderful, light, supple connection.
Wow, I have been holding the world ransom from this habitual fear of having to defend my right to just play with, train, much less even own horses. The craziness I have bought into over the hundreds of times I let some other ask me how much I make, how can I afford to do what I do, much less the thousands of others who try to tell me how, when, where, and why none of this can or will work. I bought into their opinions, their ideas, their thoughts, their reasoning’s… to let all of that dictate my life. Defending and working so very hard to prove all of this stuff outside of me “matters” more than this passion that burns inside and brings me joy.
I smiled, breathed, allowed the tension and time to let go. I just connected, rode, danced, moved fast, then slow, had fun, and played being me. I don’t owe anyone or anything except my own body, mind, and spirit perfect alignment where WE ALWAYS LIVE TOGETHER IN EACH AND EVERY MOMENT OF NOW!!
Rrrring, ring, ring… startle awake thinking it’s my alarm, but no just an unidentifiable caller, who leaves no message 10 minutes into my nap. Re-situate, get cozy back to sleep, this time until the alarm. As I am awakening I make a mental note of how I am going to groundwork each of the first 4 horses. It goes easy, I am alive and flowing, they are frisky, snorty, fresh from the cool dampness, but they respond nicely and I turn each one out when I am done. Then take out the big horse, brush, saddle, ground work all easy and smooth, until he spies the new round bale, where he tenses just long enough to get my reaction of “hey, I know it’s there, back to work”. He then proceeds to listen, feel, work truly hard at stretching the right leg forward, heel first, now almost finding the full extension we have been reaching for. He is starting to consistently find me and release the tenseness almost to his shoulders. I congratulate him on his try, unsaddle, groom and put him back up, to get out the new horse for day 3 in the cold, dampness to see her response to weather change.
Today the responses to my asked questions are sooner, easier and she spends much time following me with her ears. The feet inspection is improved by no pulling, lifting when asked, and standing quietly as I clean each one out. We progress through a quieter saddling, easier groundwork, and a good twenty minutes riding her with just an ask, her releasing, walking, turning, bending and finally to 3 actual steps backwards. As I am rewarding her with the after grooming, I notice two things. One she is softer, more sure of herself and truly getting into my brushing thing. Two, though she still cocks her head in surprise when I do this for her, a huge indication of being handled like she was just to be rode… just a horse. I am so pleased with my horses, have set everything up for the evening, and my alarm goes off to remind me I have to go drive.
The tiredness hits me again, squarely on my shoulders, directly from all over my body. I know it is pleading with me. I know I need to visualize, something different, in a new direction. There is something right here I can do, should do, will do… I just haven’t figured out what? The first thought is so much is coming together, just allow. But allow what? I put possibilities together, just none of them flow like the horse part, where I feel just so connected and time is not evident. Right now as I type I can feel the tiredness “left”(side) in my face”.
Fixing supper, warming up, looking for a movie for tonight, and expecting a message, this is followed by a big sigh of release and a yawn. I will figure this out, I always do, I so desire to snuggle, talk in person, share the day, mutual hands, feet or back rubs…
This challenge has changed my view of me, my ideals about so many things, and opened my eyes to what I have been doing to myself. How far away from my own hearts desires, I had drifted, then paddled, bought and then placed everyone else’s beliefs, ways, gimmicks, and goals for me in front of my own.
“Enough, walk” I yell… then catching myself, breathe, calm, cool, allowing him the option to ride quietly, or walk. A mumbled apology, as I start to criticize myself for getting mad, but catch myself, breathe again, and again. Drive to work noticing I have put no sugar in my coffee. Oh well, I clock in, he assures me he can handle waking himself back up, calling his brother to rearrange the transportation home this evening. I AM FREE!
I go start my bus, drive to the coffee stop, get sugar. Do my route student by student, to notice I am starting to shake. Hmmm, no caffeine, no breakfast, but the closer I get to the end of my morning route, the worse the shakes get. I continue to drive, reflecting back to earlier and the frustration… Nope that’s not it. End the route, sign out, drive to get gas, and the closer I get to home the more noticeable the shaking. Paying attention, get to the house, feed, hay, make evening rations, shaking has become less, but noticeable.
I get in the house, the phone rings, it is the first college advisor for today’s meeting. Shaking is more evident. We do the pleasantries as I turn on the computer to pull up the enrollment forms. For the next hour and a half I struggle with the computer to fill out the form. My computer, repeatedly refusing to do the simplest commands, my fingers miss-typing, the form closing and refreshing on its own. Finally it’s done, I hit send, we say are goodbye’s, they will let me know something by Friday.
The phone rings, my horse trimmer will be here by 11. She hangs up, the phone rings, its college councilor number 2. Same pleasantries, same forms, just much easier because I know the drill and have all the necessary information out in front of me to fill out this school’s paperwork. But the shaking is stronger, begging my attention, trying to shake me awake… I am just doing what is being asked, expected, filling out forms. I ask “how much time do I have to decide” A big bell goes off, as she says 2 weeks, we then say goodbye, as I tell her my first appointment is here.
It’s my horse trimmer, Abe comrade, partner in horse information, who notices I am rattled, so we just sit for about 10 minutes catching up. Then head out to trim the horses, I handle them, while she trims. In the next three hours I get calmer, more centered, breathing again and I notice no more shakes. She notices and comments, as we discuss the foot differences on the male horses, the female ones, the way it reflects in both of our lives. We know all the patterns, the indications, we can see the changes that have occurred physically in the horses, in comparison to the emotional differences fo us in the same time period. We understand all of the reflections going on, laughing we go and treat ourselves to lunch.
It is only after she drops me back off it dawns on me about this last week. I didn’t start teaching to win or make money. I taught because someone else was in love with horses and wanted to know and learn how to ride and be allowed to love them like I did. I took on the ones every one else gave up on and I just loved them anyway. Even now as I try to type about how going back to school feels like giving up my freedom, my side hurts like I am trying to bend over someway I know better than. I am in this contorted state, over ???? making a choice that “sounds logical.” Just that thought is enough to change the subject…
I had the most amazing lesson tonight, the young woman, learned to balance with her body, to sync up with the horse, to stop thinking how to ride, and just find the feel of what was going. She got in touch with her inner self, she found the horse’s rhythm, she had fun, she has mastered stopping, turning, trotting, loping and flying lead changes from the right to the left. We had a blast, she loves the learning, and I love the teaching…DUH!!!! I know, I know, I know… I have just been trying To Do The Right Thing, not Feel For What’s Right For ME! Grinning like the cat I know I am!
Desiring so much for a day of honing what it is I desire. The Abe’s from last night led me to the one that I posted and then the one after that completely relaxed my mind and sent me smiling off to bed. Set such a perfect, quieter mood for the new duet of my youngest and me, traveling together at 5:30 am. Me for my route, him for a ride to town, to then walk to his Alt School, we drive up, park and then my freedom begins. Not realizing till I have walked away from him toward my bus, how much I treasure my space, my aloneness. Then quietly in my mind, thanking him for this discovery, I start the bus and feel my way forward.
I then got up, wandered into the kitchen, knowing my youngest had pre-made the coffee the night before. There is a few dirty dishes, one in fraction of this stage of the game. The coffee pot is sitting on the counter, empty?? I figured he must have forgotten to set the programmer. When I get this urge to follow the light rays I see in the hall. Suspecting what I am about to find. I open his door, his game screen is on and he is still in bed. Means he is late, as he was supposed to ride his bike, the two miles over to Wal Mart to meet his brother at 8, and it is 7:55 now. So I wake him up and tell him, his brother is going to be pissed, cause he is not out of bed and on his way to the meeting place. He gets up yelling at me??? I explain who is helping who? Leaving him to figure out what he could do next to solve his dilemma.
Walk back into the kitchen, now from this different door view spy the expected coffee. All down the side of the cabinet, on the floor, back under the sacks, everywhere a full coffee machine would spread the flow if the pot was not in the receiving position. I now know he did everything to make the coffee except, double checking, taking the time to see he had all of the steps done, taken care of, checked off, followed through. He comes in more yelling, can’t find his phone, can’t do the chores he was supposed to have done before he left, can’t find his shoes, and what was I looking at? I explained yelling was not making a great case for him, pointed out the misplaced coffee pot, the coffee everywhere, and the three other simple things from last night’s list, started, but not completed, or done correctly to benefit whom ever needed or used the items next.
A mumbled apology, “he’s figuring this out, we will find an answer”. Dressed, grungy, out the door, down the road on his bike. I now look at the kitchen, think…no feel for what do I want, hmmm? Coffee, so I start the cleanup, do the counter, then the wall, and down to the floor, first wiping it up, then cleaning spray, drying it down and off. Taking the used paper towel to the trash, I find the garbage sack at the bottom with all the accumulated trash on top, I take a deep breath, dig through the thankfully just paper towels off the roll he had gotten wet, by “accident” and discarded. Find the sack, with the band that holds it in place inside of it, and reassemble all the pieces. Go back to make the coffee, needing the measuring spoon, now not on top with the coffee where it belongs. I open the utensil drawer under the coffee maker to find the missing item, and coffee all leaked in there from the overflowing brewer. It all comes streaming forward, out the corner, back down the side of the cabinet, onto the floor, on all of these freshly cleaned surfaces. My mind reminds me of old lessons in cleaning, always from the top to the bottom. So I start the cleaning process again. The phone rings, it’s my youngest the neighbor is headed to Wal Mart, is he allowed to accept a ride for he and his bike? Wow, calling and asking first for permission to do things, cool, so I say yes, and expect a call when he gets with his brother.
Back to me, my needs, my feeling for answers. As I am going through the drawer, sorting, sifting, moving, re-arranging and cleaning each item, and the trays they are separated into, I notice that one tray has small, specialized utensils in it. The next tray has openers, of every type, style, and age of my life… I start reflecting of all the things I am opening up, sifting through, looking at to decide if they still fit and work for me, to then discard that which is out of date, unwarranted, or no longer used. I notice 3 really old fashioned bottle openers, and then realize the age of the house I live in, built in the 1930’s, my mom’s time. I become aware of how many of the ideas, thoughts and teachings I am letting go of and changing, reflect back to then. How much of my habits are strong reflections of my place in the rigid, family structure, taught and adhered to for so long. How and why I have held onto, lived with and kept so many things for so extremely long.
I grew up with hand-me-downs, take care of your little sister, play with her, share with the others, wait your turn, and leftovers. I learned to take what I was given, I was never enough, I was the go to person. I didn’t know how to fit or blend in. I was bigger, stronger, the tom boy, independent, athletic, and last. So I was suppose to allow for the others, and wait…
I kept cleaning, thinking, feeling, knowing I was onto something big, bigger than all the times before when I thought I had worked through this stuff. I made my coffee, when the cat began this incessant weaving in and out of my legs, acting starved, and attempting distractions for her to be first. I pushed her away, go to put in the coffee filter, it’s to small?? I reach back for the package, hmm 4 cup filter instead of 12, I will make do, figure it out. Suddenly thinking back to how much of my life has been the learned response from parents who grew up having to make do, hand me downs, figuring out how to scrimp and save, from their parents who grew up during World War 1 and 2. I think about how long and well I can make things last, how I learned to accept and love things till they fell apart. Always being cautioned about “you don’t know what you are getting yourself into?” Learning to hide whatever I was doing, because I just did what felt good at the moment… later to discover there were rules, regulations, expectations, and absolute no no’s that were punishable for being different.
I get the coffee set up, on, the pot in place, utensils, counters, and floor cleaned to start out to feed. Whack a set of claws across the shins,”ow” I look down she is pissed, I am taking way too long, I walk toward the feed container, “hiss” and KC springing from the sit position, splat! Right into a perfectly timed shoving foot, mad and indignant she goes over and sits by her bowl. I upright the feed container, looking at her bowl, to discover she still has feed in it, just not fresh, this mornings… Hmm I get the refill cup, put in ¼ cup, then refill it and head out to Minxy’s bowl outside. Call for her, she comes up, waits to be fed, then looks if I will offer a pet or scratch. I scoop her up, allow the soft needling of her claws, reveling in her ability to fend for herself, loving me as I am and accepting things here one aware moment at a time.
Head to the horses, who I have learned to not keep on a tightly, timed schedule, starting with their feed. As I walk up to Revolver, he pins his ear, chest up, neck arched…I am in an awareness mode. I look at him, look at his feed bucket, stand up straighter, to look at his feet and ask”back?” He stands there, raises his head just a smidgen, I lower my voice, up my entire body language and before the words can come out of my mouth, he takes two steps back, acquiescing to my knowing who the leader is. I feed him watching as I walk away that his manner remains nice, no ear pinning in suggestion that he has run me off as I am leaving. Walk to Freckles, all head up begging, pushy, I again ask “back” he raises his head in a “but please manner”, I announce “back, back, back” he puts his head to the side and takes the tentative required steps away. I continue on to Gidget, the little girl, asking for her to back up and wait. The response is “but I’m special, do I have to?” I just stand there; she finally takes a breath, lowers her head and steps back. I feed her and move on to Charlie, big, lovable, clown, who has the entire feeder full of dirt from frolicking waiting his turn. I walk up ask for the back, he picks his head up, looks down the side of his nose like “what’s up boss?” I just wait, he drops his head, tilts it sideways, noting my response, then takes the steps backwards, till I fill his bucket and walk away.
I know my world is constantly showing and sharing with me where I am at in my ability to receive and give. I am learning, I am allowing myself to feel for what I need next, now, as being my only agenda. All of this coming from the awareness of the last thoughts before I drifted off to sleep last night, of my world and all of the things that are constantly doing the “me” first dance in front of me. The hundreds of emails demanding I notice something is on sale, limited time only, money I can have if I do whatever hoop jumping they want now to get it, bills that send out reminders on the day they expect or expected payment if not received that day, though the actual late day is days, weeks, sometimes a full month away. The millions of things every other moment of the day, begging for my attention because I “should” feel guilty, sorry, angry, or frustrated enough to pay them attention so I can then have some peace and sanity for and to myself. I truly am beginning to love, sort, sift and feel for the next best thing for me, by me, with me…Because I am worth it, I have faith in the God, Universe, Source that put me here to experience life in my shoes! Concsious Awareness Training Sessions this is what I teach, who I am, what I share, live, learn, and adapt my every moment with!
Doubly interesting one in going to take the picture of my sign, my youngest’s handiwork has fiddled with my good camera, so I have to relearn it to figure out what settings he has changed. But I just took the best picture ever with my phone, sent it to myself, cropped it, saved it and in sharing it realized it is the first time I have just put my new sign up on the internet. Like I am suddenly realizing my true value of me and my abilities to share with those who are seeking this form of teaching! Way Cool!