Saturday, July 14, 2018
I once heard it said that love is heard better as a non-verbal language.
Khaleesi carried me 35 miles over two days of (over) 17-mile training rides literally over the rivers and through the woods. And she did it with a fresh barbed wire cut on her left front.
I bandaged the cut before booting- and as fortune would have it I’d just filed her toes enough that her boots were a little loose so the bandage and vetwrap actually seemed to improve the boot fit.
She trotted and cantered miles on varied terrain in without complaint but I am certain it was at least a little uncomfortable. She had a good attitude the entire 35 miles.
Not only that but most of my closer rider-friends know the queenWILL kick a horse if she feels necessary.
Necessary to her is specifically being ‘boxed in’ she will protect her space if she cannot move forward and a horse comes into her close zone (I’m talking touching distance not a few feet).
This I do not blame her for. She doesn’t do it at random or because she’s mean. She does it not allow a horse to run her over or into another horse or a tree or human etc. Now it’s truly a last resort (it wasn’t always 😝) and it’s been at least a year since she has kicked another horse.
I work actively to protect that space and not allow this situation, but sometimes moving fast on narrow wooded trails with 4 horses things happen.
There were two times this occurred and both times I knew she was about to kick — I was able to avert the crisis by moving us offtrail to give her a way out or by turning her tightly and asking the rider who’d crowded us to remember to leave some space.
Both times no kick.
My horse is connecting with me as a leader more as I continue to become a better one. Riding despite physical discomfort is a sign of willingness and not kicking but allowing me to quickly (instantly) adjust to protect her instead are both positive growth for us.
As I get better… she gets better. 🤔☺️
This has been years of focused effort in my part to be consistent and pay a higher level of attention at ALL times I’m in EYESIGHT of my horse.
I don’t always get it right, and I may have wondered if this level of focus would be worth or.
A million percent.
This morning I went to the barn feeling much love for my mare. I could tell her I love her till my voice gives out and it will mean very little to her. (I think she’s a little like my husband in this respect!)
With a deep joy in my heart I showed it the best way I knew how instead.
My solid, trusted, strong and bold khaleesi.
I will walk the entire length of the field with my halter and bag of wound care supplies to find you in your favorite morning spot. The only place that is still shaded after the morning sun is high.
I will find you with your strong muscular neck low and your head relaxed and a hind foot cocked, with Wyoming awake and on duty to keep watch while you rest.
Wyoming will step away from you to greet me and ask my business and remind me that the queen has asked not to be disturbed unless it’s important.
I will rub her hello and assure her it’ll only take a minute.
I will greet you gently as you come half out of your nap still breathing so deeply I smell the grass and earth as I approach.
I will ask if you’d like me to check your ears for little scabs from biting midges and you will lower your head toward me to say yes please.
I will rub your neck and withers, along your back and rump and tell you I’m really grateful for your hard work the last two days.
I will notice how strong and fit you look in the height of summer and how your brown coffee coat highlighted with carmel by the sun gleams and shimmers with health.
I will take out my halter and you will drop your nose into it even though you know it could mean a walk to the barn and another 17 miles. If I ask you will go.
I will drape the lead over the fence as I pick up and unbandage your foot and check the cut. I am not ready to leave it open yet to the dirt and flies so decide to rebandage it with a clean dressing and duct tape for one more day and you never move a hoof though Wyoming curiously moves around to watch from different points to get a better view- sometimes her nose on my shoulder, sometimes on the other side from beneath.
When I finish the job and you put your foot down you will lick and chew and yawn in agreement as I remove the halter.
I will allow you to decide if you’d like to come in for breakfast now or rest in the shade a little more and eat when you’re ready.
I will walk away alone and leave you resting in the shade with peace in my heart as Wyoming goes back on watch.
I will leave some food in your bowls for later if you want a snack.
I will not say I love you,
I will let you be a horse.