To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens.Ecclesiastes 3
Spring and Summer of 2021 turned out to be pretty intense for Khaleesi. I am really pleased with how she carried herself in balance and strength mentally-emotionally and physically. But regardless, the kind of stress of return to competing in 50 mile distances, the travel, the clinics, the herd changes, the physical injuries, the location shifts… it takes a toll.
So after returning from the Joe Wolter clinic I made a deal with my lead mare to give her some time to process and rest from all the transitions, hard work, travel, and instability (location and herd) she’s been through. She is now stable for the winter as far as I know (Lord willing!) with her core herd of three (Wyoming & Hope) and in a great location on the large farm we moved to in the spring. She took me at my word for the month of November I have hardly had a conversation about anything besides feeding and a little small talk. I’ve truly given her some time to just be a horse in a herd and allow her entire system- Mental/Emotional/Physical to get a reset.
This is the season I’m going to sit in for a little while. I’ve begun doing some liberty and positive reinforcement activities a few days a week when I’m at the barn. I also will begin to ride occasionally in a home field or close by arena to work on our connection and communication with the only goal that we find a way to come together. Gradually peppering in some longer rides as weather allows. I will shift from asking and demanding much to curiosity as to where she is and to take what she’s willing to give and play around with questions she might want to explore, the physical balance we’ve been building on and how our energy connection is.
The sessions will be shorter- not all day training rides or intense clinic work. I will also leave spacious time in this season for as much conversation as she needs when I go to halter her in the field, and lead her in- there is no rushing or forcing to get things done on a timeline. The space between us in generous right now and I add as much choice as I possibly can- drawing the line would she choose to not interact at all with me.
My guess is that horses need more reset time than we realize. Not everyone can afford that luxury I suppose and it must depend on the intensity of the season previous. I feel like she’s had about enough thrown at her to earn as much R&R as I can give her.
I am certain this generosity and spaciousness of time will pay off exponentially more than constant training would.
In its time, the season will shift back to competition and clinic season and we will begin to ride the wave of more intense physical and mental work and hopefully enjoy a great 2022. I plan to keep my focus on mental and physical balance and strength and build on what I believe gave her the strong return he had for 2021.
Hopefully we have exhausted the herd dynamic changes and freak injuries that made things harder than they need to be on her. Hopefully an extended period of Rest Reset will be restorative to her spirit as well as her body and mind. I will check in as we go from time to time and wish you also a beautiful holiday season leading to an exquisite Christmas and a new year full of hope and glory!
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