Writing is an amazing thing. As soon as I finished writing about my issues with leadership and Chloe, I felt better about it. Writing helped me sort it out and understand it. Giving voice to my feelings and saying it out loud, by posting it on my blog, diminished the painful memories. It also pulled me out of that troubling place and over the past day or so, I don’t have those doubts about whether I’ll ride Chloe or not. I know what I want.
I remember when I first got Chloe, I had the thought that maybe I could work with the donkeys more. Halter train them, or teach them to pull a wagon. Because I felt it would be good for them to have work. That’s what donkeys are bred to do and I felt it would deepen our relationship. And although I was unsure about this after riding Chloe a couple of days ago, I really do believe that it’s best for the donkeys and Chloe to have work to do.
I also believe that it’s my job to make sure that Chloe learns to live safely in our world. Chloe is a big pony, if I can’t control her, get her to go where I want her too, to be able to groom her and take care of her if she gets sick, make her leave the pasture so she doesn’t over graze, then I can’t have her living on the farm. And although I can already do all these things with her, part of our life together includes me being able to ride her. Because that’s one of the reasons she’s here. I want to ride, I have this urge, this desire, so that’s part of the deal. Chloe gets to live here and I get to ride her. I forgot this for a little while, but I know it now.
And the other part of it, is the part about how I go about doing that. I know I’ll figure that out. In my friend and teacher, Eli, I have someone I can go to who I know and trust with my horse questions. And then, there’s my own instincts and intuitions which I believe in strongly . I also know more about living with animals that I ever have. Some I’ve learned from Jon, who’s been living with and writing about animals years and some of it is what I’ve learned from my own experiences with animals.
The other element in all of this is putting it all out into the world on-line. And the comments I get. Some of them were really good to hear and the ones about leadership were especially helpful, like when Gaye wrote: “we all need to be leaders sometimes–otherwise the world ends up getting run by people who feel really comfortable telling others what to do. We need more people who are empathetic and compassionate to lead as well. We need people who truly don’t want to boss other people around” I can be that kind of leader, I though when I read this. Or Luann’s message on facebook, a quote from St Francis de Sales: “Nothing is strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength”.
Then there were some people giving me advice about how to handle Chloe or where I should go for help. I wasn’t asking for help when I wrote this piece. The piece wasn’t even about how I could get Chloe to do what I wanted. Like I said, I have someone I know and trust to ask my horse questions. And I also have my own ideas about what to do. So as much as I don’t like or want that kind of advice, I do love to hear people’s stories about their experiences with their own horses, or other animals. Of course, they don’t always apply to my situation, but I find them encouraging and it’s nice to know I’m not alone in this.
The other thing I realized after writing about it, and what Holly reminded me of in her comment, is that I’m never afraid when I’m riding Chloe. We already have a certain level of trust. I never think she’ll do anything to intentionally hurt me. She’s not trying to buck me or run me into the fence, or anything like that. And I always feel secure in the saddle, like I have a solid, balanced seat.
My relationship with Chloe is just beginning. And I’m going to continue writing about it. Right now I’m imagining me and Chloe riding on the trails in the woods behind our house. We don’t have a way of getting there yet. That’s another path that needs to be cleared. But we’ll find a way, I’m confident of that.