Friday, April 5, 2018
I have been very interested in love for at least a year… what does love require… what does walking in love cost (it always costs something)… how do we take and give love to others and how do we love like the other (horse, human, dog etc) needs and not just how we want to love.
So I decided personally to spend some time on each of the famous facets of love. You know- the ones read at every wedding ceremony. I thought a week seemed like a good idea.
Love is patient.
I am not the picture of patience. I like to get things done and move on! I’m a mover. So much so that on the first day of love is patient I wondered if it really had to be an entire week on each one! This one is not that interesting to me… what’s the next one?
To which the small quiet voice reminded me this is exactly why you need a week on it.
Ok. A week. Of focusing on patience.
Actually relaxing into the concept of patience in my world, at home, at work, with students and family began to seem good although I had no intention of writing about it. Then around midweek it showed up at the barn.
Working and riding with Khaleesi has been more connected than ever. She is standing so quietly to be saddled and so light and responsive on the trail- I love just thinking about going into a trot and feeling her hind end engage like a little turbo drive before even considering adding any physical push!
Yet occasionally she is not ready to come in from the field. And though once in a while she comes right to me, just as often she walks away and even sends the mustang to block me from bringing her in.
What I have learned is just to be patient and pursue her gently until a connection is made. I don’t insist, I don’t make her run the field until she chooses to be with me and let her rest, and I don’t get upset about it. I know she will come with me. I am the leader- it’s a question of when. Time.
I love her and am willing to be patient with whatever keeps her in that field until she is ready to chose me first. I do whatever makes sense at the time to start a conversation- not tell her what to do- converse. I step in and ask and when she gives me attention I even step back and allow her to respond.
It works every time. But it takes time.
Then yesterday as I walked her toward the trailer she stopped somewhat far off.
There was a time I could hear myself:
You know how to get on the trailer.
I am a sensitive trailer driver… and it’s never even a a far ride lately.
You always come home too so you have no reason to worry about this!
Stop stalling and let’s get going already!
This would only get her upset.
But I watched her- she was lined up with and focused on the trailer. She was with me. Just not ready to be rushed.
the very boring video shows what I mean- she isn’t asleep, she isn’t stalling. You can see by how she’s standing that she is processing the process.
Love is patient?
So I stood with her. I asked her for just a step or two and waited and watched her. She was with me the entire way, thinking about the process, heading straight for the trailer. She wasn’t trying to get to the grass and she wasn’t distracted.
She seemed to be asking if I’d be patient with her.
It took 8 minutes. Which is kind of an eternity if you’re used a 15 second loading process (which she is capable of) but it was an act of love for her to stay with her in her process. It really wasn’t about the trailer.
It was like being patient meant it doesn’t really matter what we’re doing – what matters is we’re doing it together.
I also noticed that part of me felt like a failure if my horse takes 8 minutes to load on the trailer. I mean- if this were a trailer loading contest I lost big time. Not only have I gone back to walking on instead of sending her (which I used to do successfully) but it takes way too long.
But somehow I felt deep down that maybe it’s not the way the world sees, but how my horse sees me that makes me a winner. How much I love instead of how fast I can load my horse?
In fact the only way you can really follow this simple equine teaching method I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around the past couple of years is if you’re willing to look foolish to the rest of the equine community in order to maybe gain the trust and connection of your horse.
She stayed straight in line with loading the entire 8 minutes and in the end walked so calmly and gracefully into the trailer stall it felt good and not at all stressful.
Just maybe… a week of looking for opportunities to be patient will help me in more ways than I’d imagined. ❤️
Now for the ride itself…
In front of the hidden valley bed and breakfast also known as the mansion from the movie Somersby (which was filmed here years before I came)
Finally some half decent miles- about 16 and much of it walking because….. we did the forested half barefoot!!!
That may not sound like much to most horse owners with even half decent hooves but even the forested part here has embedded rocks in much of the trail so I allowed her to walk lest we slam down on a protruding rock and cause a stone bruise and abscess a couple weeks before the first 55.
Also she wasn’t thrilled about picking her way across the river 3 times which is all rocks.
When we got to the half way point I put her boots on for the hard packed dirt road back and she trotted and cantered easily with no sign of lameness so I think her feet continue improving.
I have decided to try the Scoot skins for the 55 glue on the fronts. It’ll be the first glue ons for us but it seems a good option for where we are. The back boots are almost no-fail and the fronts are really good but depending on some other factors sometimes have a minor rub particularly on the right front. (This doesn’t say as much about the boot in my case as it does about the rider imbalance and what it’s done to her developing new hoof. I am improving but new hoof growth and patterns take time … and patience)
It’s not enough to worry about for even 20 miles but 55 has has me questioning. The glue ons will take that out of the equation if they work.
If they work for even half the ride and I switch to my strap on boots I’ll be thrilled. And who knows. Maybe they’ll really work and stay on the whole ride.
That will depend on the weather (it’s a wet season which is tough on glue) and the gluer which will most likely be inexperienced me.
Also yeah us! Her topline muscles have developed further and I’m removing a shim from the mattes pad- you can see the saddle is a little high in front now! This is great news regarding how she’s moving and how I’m riding.
So great ride on a cool breezy spring day. And she was trotting and cantering without tire up till the last feet I asked her to walk in. Not excessively sweaty and she still has plenty of energy. So far so good for trusting in her base and pulling back some fitness from a place of rest.