What would love require?

Monday, January 15, 2018

I heard something recently that made me pause.

wait…

I’ll take a step back and fill on the context surrounding New Years resolutions.

Most often people look for ways to improve themselves in the new year, but this talk I heard asked a different question: what will you do to make the lives around you better this year?

There’s nothing wrong with trying to improve myself. However especially in the Western World we sometimes get so wrapped up in self-help and self-improvement that we miss the fact that we will never truly be fulfilled seeking self fulfillment. In the words of Andy Stanley:

If you spend your life living for yourself, at the end of your life you will have nothing but yourself to show for yourself.

In the end people don’t impact us because they ate healthy, got to the gym and got out of debt.

There are people who inspire me in my life and it is because they’ve made a difference in a positive way often sacrificing their own time and money and comfort for something they believed in. And the most important facet for me is it came from a broken heart and love- not out of anger, fear or hate.

I am fascinated by the major shifts of finding the thing that breaks your heart and walking away from fun or comfortable choices to make a difference there…

But also on a day-to-day scale as a lifestyle there is something much more basic which is the thought that gave me pause this week.

I generally put my own goals and interests over others. No, I don’t go around intending to get the best of everyone in some malicious way- but my pre-engineered human nature is ‘self-preservation’ and getting what I want. This doesn’t mean I don’t do random nice things (I’m actually pretty good at that…) but my default is doing and getting what I want. A gazillion small decisions go into this machine every hour. There are tons of books written about getting what you want… Not only is this perfectly normal, but I always have perfectly good justification for when it affects someone else:

  • There are endless loopholes: the rule doesn’t exactly cover this situation right?
  • There are the world’s low expectations: well it’s how she treated me when the situation was reversed, no one could blame me…
  • Rationalization: now he’ll know how it feels. He deserves it. What goes around comes around…
  • There are the things you know no one will see or notice…
  • And then what about doing the right thing for the wrong reasons? Being seen by other people as the good guy or assuming it will come back around and serve self in some way later on…
  • And of course the tally- I’ve done X amount of good things so I’m entitled to be selfish about this decision here… I’m usually a selfless giving person… most of the time….

But what would it be like to choose the more excellent way and ask not what is fair, required, expected, or seen by others but instead:

What would love require me to do?

This is still a horse centered blog (promise); I am still working one step at a time toward a 100 mile ride on this horse no one else has trained or educated but me.

So how does this look when applied to my horse?

How would this constant worldview shift affect my journey toward the goal?

When it comes to my horses, what does love require of me?

In reflection sometimes I’ve gotten this right: as in pulling out of my first 100 attempt last June because of a pulled shoe. My horse was officially not lame, and I could have had a ride farrier epoxy the nail holes and torn hoof and put on a new pad and shoe. But I knew that it wasn’t about the shoe. I had a big picture issue needing long term resolving and continuing as far as I could get until pulled by a vet would have been selfish of me. Love required stopping while ahead and going back to the drawing board (not for one ride but maybe months or a season!) to regroup on a new hoof plan and better nutrition etc.

And I’ve gotten it wrong … more than once.

Like the time two seasons back while I was still trying to sort out saddle fit and I knew her back was showing signs of soreness but breathed a sigh of relief when the vet cleared her to ride the next day. After all I’m working on it… it’s not that bad. The vets said she was fine. I knew better.

Worse still was the ride I pushed her through hard terrain without enough hoof protection and we finished but I knew I didn’t deserve that completion. My horse was not fit to continue. I got what I wanted at her expense. In that case it was mostly ignorance that hurt her but I had multiple opportunities that day to hear my horse asking for help and choose the more excellent way and I got it wrong over and over. She paid the price. I may still be working my way out of that mentally and physically with her.

Then there’s the ride I got it right by staying in and riding on- it’s not always about pulling out:

I came into the first vet check to have the vet question K’s soundness. I believed that she was fine. I had second opinions, I looked closer myself, I took her back to the vet and she was cleared by committee and we went back out. That was one of my favorite rides and she has never looked so good after a ride with as much energy and spunk as she did that night. She never showed a hint of being off.

But besides these big defining moments, I do believe that the small everyday lifestyle choices are more defining and more valuable.

I will choose to truly see my horse and her needs and remember to ask not what can I get done, force into place, shortcut or get away with… (and this doesn’t mean whatever she wants any more than one would indulge a child’s every wish all the time. It certainly includes continuing my education so that I know what my horse actually does need to be well balanced and healthy)

And in the human world when things aren’t fair, or they are trying my patience, seem unbelievable (I mean who could think that way… or say that thing…) or they don’t make sense… when people let me down… when they say unkind things… when it’s hard….

for 2018 I commit to asking…

What does love require from me?

Getting back out

Thursday, January 11, 2017

I’m grateful that the ‘snow day’ closing this week came on a day that turned out beautiful in the afternoon. And finally after weeks of bitter cold I got back out on into the Great Arena of the woods and had a really stunning ride.

I am trying a new pad in my boots from supracore. They are thin but I think will hold up longer and not difficult to cut to size. They are more expensive but if they work and last they will be well worth it.

It was refreshing to see light through the trees in 40 degree temps and little wind, with the happy dogs in tow (they have been cooped up more than usual lately too) and a horse that is following my lead so to speak more each time.

This is a quieter winter and I’m alone more but it’s been good to regroup and focus.

I have a good feeling about 2018.

Experiments in action

Monday, December 18, 2017

For those of you who have questioned my sanity lately you’re not alone. There have been times I’ve wondered if I’m on the right track myself.

I did not end up on a solo ride Friday. I found two mares a little stir crazy with the cold wind and spent more time in the field than I’d anticipated (based on recent days’ events.) Of course every day is different and I try to work with what I have each time.

I decided to use the bailing twine to bridge the gap between field and barn with Khaleesi and in a moment where she wanted to eat and I wanted to move forward I pushed just enough too hard that she responded in a way that meant leaving me… completely.

So she was loose in the yard yet again and that took a little more time than I’d anticipated retrieving her.

I did get the mare back and we made it into the barn where I turned her loose in the barn aisle and proceeded to take video of grooming and tacking up without a halter or lead.

This is where I feel like I should add do not attempt this at home disclaimer.

Not because it’s particularly dangerous but I can’t say if it’s actually helpful, could be frustrating if you don’t have the right mindset (frustration is never good with your horse), and could possibly end up being counterproductive in the end.

That all being said; as a process I am glad I did it- and the video was amazingly helpful: this I will recommend to ANYONE who would like to improve interacting with a horse. Just set up a tripod to video anything you are doing and you will learn more than you could probably ever pay anyone to teach you.

Watch what you do, how your horse responds to you and you will learn what is effective, what is completely ineffective (and worse) what instigates an unintended negative cycle.

It’s always humbling every time I do it.

Long story condensed, I eventually got my horse tacked up completely loose in the barn aisle (which meant getting better at asking her to come back to where we were working. Without a lead rope. I had to do it a lot because no, she did not stand still as if tied while not tied to anything.)

I decided after the almost 3 hours invested in catching, getting into the barn and then getting a saddle on without a halter or lead- and the frigid wind gusting outside being a very big factor- I took the saddle back off and walked very relaxed together (yes with the bailing twine) triumphantly in some ways… back to the field and released.

Here is one of the nice moments in the process.

Later I reflected if this is a total waste of time and if my alpha-mare is possibly looking at me wondering when I’ll get my act together and take her in, get it done and ride her for heaven’s sake.

Honestly I’m not sure if that’s too human a thought process or not in this case. This is why I’m doing these half crazy things. The only way I’m going to have a better understanding is if I take what I DO know… and see what happens when I work with it.

Saturday I had some errands out of town. I didn’t spend much time at the barn. I fed then haltered Khaleesi – did a little bit of leading in the field, released her and walked away. She followed me to the gate and along the fence with me as I left so I felt that was positive.

Sunday I went with the thought that MAYBE today could be the day I get back in the saddle. But I’ve learned not to get too set in any plan until I show up and see what is going on.

I haltered K after feeding and using the halter as I WOULD USE THE BAILING TWINE I brought her to the barn. Today I untied the halter from the lead leaving the halter in place in case I decided to use it.

I wanted to tack up again without tying but I saw some things from Friday’s video I wanted to improve and just having a halter on could help.

Specifically I wanted to be able to effectively return her to the area I was working in and discourage so much of her roaming the entire barn aisle. I also wanted to get more efficient without time pressure- just not waste so much time.

I rarely touched the halter, but the entire process improved from my perspective. The challenge was increased slightly as Wild Heart was calling like a banshee- she didn’t get Khaleesi back but did get the gelding herd to return and then was making tons of noise as she interacted with them.

šŸ™„

For anyone joining recently, Khaleesi is a pretty high level (in the herd) mare. She is in charge out there and who can say what those ridiculous stupid horses are up to without her to keep them straight. That made keeping her attention harder than otherwise.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
unday went better in some ways, struggle for me in others. Sanity again questioned. Some great moments, sometimes I was at a loss. Some hail-wintry mix sounding on the barn roof. And in the end the saddle went on and I decided this was a good day to get back up there.

So outside we went with the mounting stool.

Lots of activity in the field. Wild Heart has all kinds of action going on with the gelding herd.

My first attempt to get in the saddle she begins to walk off. I hop off and return to try again.

Second time she stands still until I get situated then she begins walking immediately without my direction toward the fields.

I know exactly what we’ll be doing today.

She walks fast to the field and I let her. When arrived at the fence line I turn her immediately around and return to the stool (where I had mounted and not asked her to leave yet.)

Check and tighten girth<
he heads back to the fields trotting this time.

It feels kinda good to trot again. I love riding my horse.<

hen return at same speed to mounting stool.

Tighten other side of girth.

…she doesn’t want to stand still- trot to the fields. I encourage her to move out. return at same speed to stool.

Relax.

Then….

Has to go back to fields.

Slow canter this time. Return same speed to stool.

Thinking. Waiting. Good.

I then ask an easy walk toward the gate (to exit property). I get most of the way there and she veers off at a quick trot to the fields again.

No prob. I understand. You think you HAVE to. I immediately turn us around again and we trot same speed back toward gate.

Rest. She pauses. Thinks.

Fidgets then heads back toward fields.

Quick trot there and immediate turn around we go back toward gate. Rest.

More relaxed. A little bit of thinking. Connection with me not the herd. Good.

I begin to walk easy back toward barn (we can end this now- good work).

En route to barn she picks up fast trot and veers back to fields. Again.

Ok not done quite yet.

Again not at all concerned (I can do this all day) I turn around and go back to exit gate.

Rest. Wait.

She relaxes. Just waits. Seems to ask what next?

Good.

After a few moments resting there i turn her back to barn and she goes quiet, willing and does not try to return to the herds.

Now we are done.

I stop in front of barn. Get off and immediately drop tack right there.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
> khaleesi doesn't move a hoof though completely untied in the yard while I remove all equipment and boots. She then does a big course of yawning and chewing.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
.. then I give her time to process what just happened.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
en I then walk her quiet at calm back to the same fields she's been trying to get to all afternoon and release her back into the herd. She walks into the field completely calm as I walk away.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
s I'm waiting near the fields watching alone, I notice something a little fascinating. The gelding herd has left my mares and made its way over to where I was standing. The last interaction I'd had with them was described roughly in my herd where I asked them to get off the fence line and give me space to work with my mares.

It seems they are at the least curious about me. You can see my mares watching in the background.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
verall it is a good day. I felt confident that today my saddle time was equally as effective at building our relationship as the ground time. And I plan to continue riding and working on trailer loading though I hope I can take the things I've seen in video and learned from the last couple weeks and improve my interactions as we get back to riding more consistently.

Rock & Roll

Friday, December 15, 2017

It’s been about two weeks since I committed to getting into my horse’s world and I’ve spent at least some time with them almost every day.

I felt pretty certain I would not ride again until I noticed a shift– at least some change in how my horse related to me. I feel good about saying that shift has begun and I’ve learned a lot in the process.

Here are some recent things that I feel good about:

Khaleesi began to come to the close corner watching for me when I arrived instead of the far corner of the field with her but toward the barn!

If Khaleesi walked off after eating, she walked slowly, not as far, and stopped after just a few steps to focus on me and invited me to approach her.

Most of the time I interact with her she is calm and quiet (not leaving me or running around connected to the other farm horses). In fact one cold day Wild Heart was super energized and took off at full gallop to the complete other end of the field – then turned around and came straight back for us. Khaleesi stayed with me at my side and watched her instead of running with or after her.

She has done a lot of processing and thinking even when I ask something simple and small- I believe what she’s processing a lot of the time is the change in me to ask her without any possibility of force (not even a halter) and how much more value I’ve put on her willing part of the process.

There have been times after working with her free, I’ve had her walking in step with me back to the gate without lead rope completely voluntarily.

The day it was going to be -6 windchill I took the blanket out to the field and allowed her complete choice over if she took the blanket and how I put it on and fastened it.

The day when I finished some ‘liberty’ ground work with Khaleesi, she followed me all the way in to the gate, then she stood a the gate while I left watching me walk to the barn.

Last, today I took my saddle out and with only a loosely draped lead rope (no halter) I saddled her completely with her cooperation for each step with great success- no fussing whatsoever- then took off the saddle and spend a few more minutes where she stayed with me, did some simple things like crossing her front over before I left with her closeby eating calmly.

So today I plan to be that tuned in to the entire process and include a short ride as a next step.

I got a message this week from a friend I haven’t ridden with in a while. A group conditioning ride for Saturday. I was very much looking forward to that so responded enthusiastically right away.

Then I thought about it.

šŸ¤”

The riders are great friends, good horse people, but I knew deep down that ride was not what I needed right now. It would be physically motivated and fit horses who would likely be moving along. I knew in my heart that the ride would mean Khaleesi disconnecting from me, connecting with a herd and just riding along ‘keeping up’ with the group.

Not to mention the time factor: needing to trailer somewhere at a certain time. I’ve been reworking my trailer loading and want to continue not having a time pressure on that for at least a few more days.

Add to that whole list the fact that they are women I enjoy and I would also be distracted by catching up with them – not giving my horse my full attention.

<<
new in my gut it would kill a lot of the good foundation I'd been recreating. That the ride was a selfish decision on my part in the moment and though there will be times that kind of ride will be perfect for us- not this week.

I had a very real sense of being tested that morning as I sent a second note explaining that I miss them and want to be there which prompted my first response but that I'm reworking a mental foundation with my horse and the timing isn't right for me. šŸ˜”

Of course they understood and I immediately had a peace about the decision. I think I passed that test and even if my horse doesn't exactly understand that- I chose her needs above my own in that case – not because she couldn't do the ride but because it wasn't the right ride for us – and it felt pretty fantastic!

So today… maybe a solo ride!

My herd!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

There have been so many cool things going on in my field lately I’m having a hard time keeping up sharing the highlights!

I am so glad I made the decision to purposefully take the time to enter their world as it’s been interesting- and in many ways I’ve enjoyed it as much as I’ve ever enjoyed riding!

I’ve dedicated time to groundwork before… and I’ve given my horses time off- but nothing has been quite like going into the field to ‘work’ together, explore our relationship and learn from them in quite this way.

Here is a little story of one of the days last week.


I went in as usual and fed the mares.

For the record I do not keep a feeding schedule. This is on purpose. My horses will never stand at the gate at a predetermined time of day wondering why I haven’t shown up. I also do not feed every day- though I do feed most days. My horses always have grass or hay available.

I also do not use food as a deal maker of any sort: I don’t catch them while they are eating. Sometimes if I’m planning to do barn things (feet trimming, riding etc) I may not bring food to the field and will feed in the barn. It all depends. But I do not use food to catch my horses. After they eat I allow them to walk off which usually entails a trip to the water trough before I go in to halter.

So this day I fed first and was considering what I’d like to do when Khaleesi and Wild Heart walked off and hit the fence line very focused somewhere else. The gelding herd was coming up from the far field. In no time they were now part of my day.

The boys.

I rolled my eyes.

There’s a herd of about 6 horses a local guy keeps on the property that are rarely handled. It’s common for them to spend time hanging out along the fences with my girls.

Crap.

Can’t these dumb horses just go away and leave me and my girls alone!?! This is going to complicate my plans. Khaleesi is in heat and the geldings are excited to take turns visiting with her. There’s no way I’m getting anything of value done here.

I am non existent.

Now what.

Use it as an opportunity. These horses are here to teach me something so let’s go.

This is my herd. Actually that’s where I’ll begin. Taking back my herd so to speak. At least I’ll see how it goes and I’ll learn something.

It ended up being a fascinating day.


True to form the bitch in heat was rowdy and squirting all around whenever she could stand still long enough.

If Wild Heart was getting attention somewhere Khaleesi would run in and push her off and chase her. It was fascinating.

Also- it was all ok. This is what her many generations of instinct insist she do. It’s not even a choice at the moment. I wasn’t annoyed with her. I understood.

I began walking up the the fence and pushing the boys off [get back!!] and each time K wanted to back up to the fence I simply asked her to walk along and move her feet.

My intention was to get her to pay more attention to me then to them.

First the geldings began to stay off the they were not approaching the mares anymore and were watching me. One gelding came in to me and we greeted; I asked him to step back and he did. All the geldings at some point were now focused on me.

Khaleesi started to pay attention to me gradually as well and I’d ask her something simple like back up or turn on her haunches a step.

I had managed to change the scene.

Occasionally a gelding would come up to the fence line and either try to connect with a mare or come closer to me than I wanted and I’d ask them first with my body posture then with my rope to back up.

It worked.

When I was ready to leave I’d had the attention of my mares and asked them to do some things with me in the field successfully, the geldings has stopped approaching the fence but were still close by watching, and then my mares were grazing peacefully without paying much attention to the boys anymore at all. The entire hormone and adrenaline crazed scene was now just horses hanging out in a field.

I left for the gate and looked back to see them still in about the same way I left them. My mares not at all involved with then gelding herd.

It’s been almost a week since that day and I’ve never had to deal with the geldings since on a visit. They’ve been far off and not come up while I’ve been there. I’m not saying it’s because of that interaction or not. I don’t have that kind of certainty of cause-effect. But no matter what it’s been nice not to have to compete with them for the attention of my good mare- and that day seemed to really turn the tide for me getting her more focused attention on my visits.

Things really began to get good after this day.

Lesson of the bailing twine

Sunday, December 10, 2017

This post is a bit of a combination of a couple experiences I’ve had this week.

One of the days I went to work with the mares I had connected nicely with Wild Heart and she was coming with me at my shoulder. I had decided to take her into the barn to further the work on what eventually will be sending her onto the trailer.

When we stood together at the gate I offered her the halter and instead of putting her head into the nose and she stepped away.

Hm.

I waited then asked her again.

Again she stepped away this time walking farther toward the other side of the fence.

Hm.

I waited and watched. She yawned and chewed over there.

I walked in and reconnected with her and she again followed me back to the gate. I sensed she was interested in leaving with me.

But she moved away from the halter.

I waited again. I watched.

She walked away but not so far. She took a couple steps along the fence and began pulling up a piece of bailing twine I’d hung on the fence with her teeth.

šŸ¤”

Was she communicating with me? I’m pretty sure she was. Bailing twine. That could work.

So I walked over and pulled the twine off the fence. She followed me back to the gate. I loosely put the twine over her neck with no trouble and she walked right out toward the barn with me. Right on my shoulder.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

I am pretty sure I am pretty sure it’s unlikely I would have success loading her on the trailer with the twine so instead of putting us in a position that seemed beyond our current ability I started with something I was fairly certain we would succeed at.

I sent her into and then out of a stall.

How much fun we had sorting that language out. It was easy. Then we walked back to the field with the loose twine and released her.

<<<<<


At some point the halter will come back. Through the week I’ve watched her play with it- putting parts of it in her mouth, pulling it off the fence, sniffing it on the ground and jumping back at first when she moves it with her teeth and then going back in to further investigate.


Wild Heart is<<<
d Heart is certainly not afraid of the halter. It was I who needed a lesson that day… the take away I have from the experience with the bailing twine is that I want a horse that I could load on the trailer with bailing twine and that the halter is never used in a way that jerks my horse around or treats her without respect.

I already basically knew that. I’ve stopped pulling on my horse to the best of my awareness a while ago. (Not soon enough but I only was working with what I knew… don’t get me started on what I’ll eventually know and look back on today me and wonder why I didn’t get it better!) even so I’ve never purposely used a lead rope in an abusive way. However I’m coming to see how light I could be with these horses if I were truly aware of them.

With the bailing twine I couldn’t just keep walking if she slowed down. I had to at least notice (be aware) she’d slowed and then find out why and then ask her to continue on. Key here being a conversation instead of a one-way insistence “I’m the leader come with me now!”

I am too good at one-way conversations in many aspects of my life. Thankfully I continue to become more aware.

I may not always want to stop or slow if she asks- but when I’m in relationship building mode it is probably a good idea to take the time to let her know I care and will at least listen.

This particular time she slowed as we were passing a massive dig area by the pond. The holes are substantial and something or a town of something’s live there. I’m not sure if she wanted to show it to me or if she’d noticed the animal activity from the field and wanted a closer investigation herself.

Regardless I paused there as she motioned with her head and I acknowledged the otter compound (or whatever it is) and then she gladly moved right back along with me.

As I close I reflect myself on the idea of completely expecting to have horses I can load on my trailer with very loose bailing twineor less. It’s not really that far off but let’s just substitute something you might consider almostridiculous because it assumes a very high level of intelligence, understanding, cooperation and trust.

How about riding Tevis in a neck string?


<<this is what inspires me. So what inspires you? I think so often the adult human race really just lacks imagination.

I recently heard a story from a barn who often has horses completely halter-lead free moving about in the barn because they just don’t need it anymore. The horses cooperate with their humans completely. A visitor witnessed this and instead of noticing just how lovely the connection of horses and humans was she immediately began a tirade insisting she would never come back to a facility as dangerous as this one that disregarded basic safety protocols and had loose horses running about. (I’m pretty sure the runaway horse was just standing being groomed or saddled calm and cooperative. Really someone get that thing in some cross ties!!šŸ¤Æ)

I’m also quite sure the barn owners were ok with never seeing this woman again.

So where are you? Fill your crazy inspiration vision in the blank…………now if you aren’t working little by little toward that? The magic… Why not?

Is it that you don’t believe it’s even possible, you used to believe your horse could actually communicate with you and gave up on it as the gap was just too much to bridge in reality? or that life is too busy now to allow for silly unrealistic dreams like that?

Possibly you really don’t want to know what your horse would say to you… I’ve been there more times than I’d like to discuss. šŸ˜”

maybe it’s just that it’s easier to just put the horse in the cross ties, get the saddle on (have someone hold it still while you get on) and hit the road.

I mean everyone else does it that way. I have. Except I don’t have cross ties… but the concept… I’ve ridden more days basically that way than I can count.

Who has time for trying to have a conversation with a horse? For asking what they think? For taking the time to convince them we are worthy of their effort… that we are paying attention.

Maybe the other people watching the process would question your sanity…

Yeah. I get all that.

Still.can’t only be me who dreamed that dream? Walking through a field with this wild amazing creature at our side….

Are we just too old to dream?

Not me.

Hands free

Saturday, December 9, 2017

My previous post (Part of your world) described how I’d decided to get serious about improved relationship building with my top mare a week or so ago. Now I’ll begin telling how it’s gone over the days.

I’ll start by saying I don’t have an instructional DVD set or a plan exactly or probably a real clue yet. I had to believe I have gained enough knowledge mostly through my simple equine training to observe what is before me and make good decisions each step of the way. This isn’t a training method… it’s a way of thinking. As well as an understanding that it would also be continuing education.

So I went into the field with overall idea that I’d like to continue with the trailer loading process with Wild Heart. I’d done some good work over the summer- gotten her on but not shut her in. Then I took a hiatus and let it rest.

My hope is to do this without forcing her to comply. I’m not sure how well that will work because she’s not afraid of the trailer so much as what the trailer represents. Leaving forever. Every time she’s been loaded onto a trailer she’s been moved away from a place she’d at least gotten used to.

This means the mare is going to have to trust me and want to do what I ask, then she’s going to have to be able to comply even though her wild animal survival instinct which is very very strong in her is going to push very very hard against all of that trust.

So the trust somehow is going to have to be bigger.

As I walked into the field with the goal (both my horses loaded on the trailer) loosely in mind – knowing full well it could be a year out more or less- I saw the mares at the farthest corner of the multi-acre field where they enjoy hanging out, and started walking over.

As I walked, halter in hand, I decided if I was going to ask these horses to work for me willingly it would have to begin right here. In the field.

If I can’t get them to walk across the field willingly with me I’d say there is not a hint of chance the wild one is getting on a horse trailer willingly.

I would begin by asking them to cross the field with me to the gate with no halter.

Hands free.

How exactly I wasn’t quite sure yet.

When I got to them I tried a few things and won’t go into all the details because they don’t matter – it would change each time depending on how the individual conversation with each animal went but this became pretty clear:

  • Khaleesi was dubious she wanted to even care what I was asking.
  • Wild Heart knew what I wanted and began to ask if I she could come along.

So I (being flexible and aware of what is happening not just what I think should be happening!) said ok, why not?

And I began to walk away with that little mustang right on my shoulder as if on lead.

And then Khaleesi now left behind began to follow at a distance until both mares were walking toward the gate with me.

Wow! Ok! This is working! what will I do once we get there? Where did I leave the feed? (I’d planned to feed them if they came with me)… Will I finish for the day or move on and bring them into the barn?….

Wait

Oh.

I lost them.

šŸ™„

I disconnected from the moment and left for the future. As gone to them as if I’d gotten in the Back to the Future time machine.

Will I ever learn?< em>

<<<<<<<<<<
y hadn't gone far. They were just grazing now about half way to the gate. Still a long walk to go.

So I began again and this time Wild Heart wasn’t as quick to connect but I was able to get Khaleesi to come and after a few minutes we all made it to the gate!

I fed them (they like food but they don’t like it enough to do anything they don’t want to do in order to get it. I don’t bribe them- it wouldn’t work if I tried anyway). Then I did the unhuman thing.

I walked away.

I did not then halter them up and go try to get closer to my end goal… I didn’t ask another thing. It wouldn’t have been the wrong thing to continue with them- but I saw my pile of chips on the table and decided that day to take the payout and go home. Stack up some reserve credit and come back with some seed investment tomorrow.

I played it safe.

For me it worked.

The next visit was even more interesting.