How to pick a title for this blog post?
Truly, words do not really do this experience justice.
And that is no surprise, as horses do not think in words.
They are beings of feeling, of connection, of energy, of love.
The last few days, I had noticed some odd behaviors. Lacey would come and stand very close to me. Yet when I would try to pet and stroke her, she would pin her ears and leave. Hmm….
I feed my herd at tie stations. Each horse gets a halter and a breakaway tie, so that they can have their unique vitamins and feed. Catching each horse to put on the halter has recently become an adventure. Some are very willing to be haltered, then reluctant to lead. Others refuse the halter altogether.
With hindsight, I see that all of these recent experiences were building toward tonight’s lesson.
So, tonight’s adventure began with a post from friends and mentors Kim Walnes and Gideon called Gideon On Living With Love. Please take a moment to go read his post on Facebook before continuing with my story.
Gideon and Kim
So, today I read Gideon’s story. And when feeding time came, I decided to try this new approach.
When I entered the field to start catching horses, I stopped first. Found my centered place, prayed, and just filled my heart with love and gratitude for the herd, for life, for all. And I sent a respectful greeting to the herd. The divine in me salutes the divine in you. Both hands were over my heart in a heart hug.
After that greeting, my instinct said start with Lucky. I focused my love on him. Not a “hard” energy or a demanding energy or an energy with an itinerary. Just love and appreciation, with humble confidence, and then a feeling of inquiry “shall we do the halter and go eat?”.
Interestingly, Lacey was paying close attention to this exchange, and she walked over and volunteered to wear her halter. Now Lacey is one that has been willing to wear a halter, but then resists being led. Tonight, instead of a tug to insist that she walk with me, I just sent a feeling of love and thanks when she put on her halter, and then focused my intention on us walking to her feeding spot. She calmly stepped forward and walked without any pulling. I hooked her up and send a final wave of thanks and respect, and no touching. No patting, no voice.
I used this same approach with each horse. And every single horse was haltered and led quietly without the drama or resistance and no pulling at all!
Bahi, the shy one, took longer. I just walked to her station and waited for her with love. She took her time processing this new approach, came to me, processed more, and then PUT HER NOSE IN THE HALTER! This is the mare that is super reluctant about any tack or tool.
Mr T is also noteworthy. I have blogged about him before. He is a teacher horse, and a tough one. No holds barred, he is not tactful with his lessons. And he tested me. He turned his back. He walked away. Multiple times. Each time he did this I felt my patience and love slipping. And after each moment of resistance, I could feel him waiting for my anger to appear, for my ego to take over, for me to revert to the old approach. And each time, I forced myself to get calm, to find the love and appreciation for his unique approach. When I finally found that centered place and his last resistance didn’t trigger me, everything clicked into place. And suddenly, there he was, standing in front of me and putting his head in the halter.