Monday, April 23, 2018
Sunday evening I went to feed hay. My girls are on restricted pasture now so there is grass but it’s limited so I throw a few flakes of hay a couple times a day.
Normal behavior when I toss the hay is for the mares to wait until I get a flake tossed and then dive in and eat. They aren’t starving and often they don’t finish it all but there’s something about the fresh flake they seem to like.
Last evening was abnormal behavior: I share this not because it’s unusual for a horse- you may read and say this is a regular occurrence for your horse… But it’s unusual for THIS horse.
I tossed the flakes of hay up on the hill and turned to walk to the gate giving each horse a rub on the wither as I left. They were eating as expected.
Then as I was almost to the gate I turned to see Khaleesi (Wyoming trailing behind as usual) jogging toward me at a pretty fast trot.
I opened the gate and went out as she caught up and she put her head over the gate.
What is it girl?
She stood there while I rubbed her neck a bit.
Saying goodbye? (She’ll go back and eat in a sec)
She stood there. Quietly.
After a few minutes I went back inside the fence and rubbed her more. She stood quietly.
I rubbed her legs and they felt fine and sensed nothing sensitive or warm. I gave her a scratch where she likes on her hind.
Then I walked out the gate again. She put her head over. I stayed longer.
I have to go home – I fed you guys but I also have a human at home who needs dinner.
So I walked and she followed inside the fenceline to the corner and put her head over the fence.
I couldn’t help it. I lingered more there and just stood quietly. Sometimes giving her a gentle rub.
Finally I did have to go. She stood in the corner as I left. Not moving from that place even as I drove away.
That was magic.
She chose me and for a long time (almost 30 minutes). It was a special gift. It wasn’t random.
I had honored her and listened to her and also had begun to make changes to my plans to help her succeed.
I don’t know exactly what they understand- but I do know they understand more than many give them credit for.
As I told someone recently- and this I believe with my whole heart: I’ve never met a stupid horse. I have met plenty of… maybe not stupid people but often ones acting out of ignorance and lack of understanding who create issues they then blame the horse for.
I can only say that because I’ve been there.
And I’m only in the journey and there’s always more to learn and understand.
I know she knows something. She knows I’m getting better, someone she’s more able to communicate with- and she knows I want to hear too.
And she also knows I will make decisions that are less human oriented and more horse minded. And though for a while it may mean giving up on human success…. I believe with certainty that it will mean more success (horse and human) over time with a strong and balanced horse who trusts me to lead her more each time.
And knows I’m listening.
For real. Even when it costs me.
This magic- a new level in our relationship- was worth all the trouble of the weekend… the packing, the cost, the driving, the cold toes and wind, the detour onto the wrong trail, the long walk into the vet check, the questions I wrestled with, the feelings of failure, the exhaustion…… I never go back and look at my ride mileage record, but I won’t forget this for a long long time.
I would do it a million times again for this moment.
First make a winner out of your horse……