I stood in the field holding Chloe by the reins, feeling like I haven’t felt in years. I was the kind of pissed that makes me want to throw something. My teeth were clenched and my heart was pounding. But something inside of me told me to stop. So I did, and I stood breathing until I calmed down. Then I asked myself, why are you doing this?
Our ride today had its ups and downs. Chloe wasn’t happy when I put the bridal or saddle on her. But we worked it out and had a great ride in the side pasture. I felt connected to her in a way I hadn’t before as we trotted up and down the fence line. It was in the flow of our movement together, but I also had the feeling she was enjoying it as much as I was.
Then, instead of going back to the barn and ending the ride on a high note, I took her out to the place where she always gives me a hard time and wants to go back to the barn. So, why do I do this? I’m not completely sure, but I think because I want to know that I can. But by now, we have this pattern of always having the same problem. It’s not something that’s just going to change because I want it too. It’s something we’re going to have to work on. I have to think about it differently and not leave it as something we do at the end of our ride. I have to break the pattern.
Something else happened today and this was different. I felt it at the end of our ride. After brushing Chloe I stood there with her. She didn’t run off and roll like she usually does. She stayed with me for a while. And I had the realization that what Chloe experiences when we ride is so different from what I’m experiencing. Except maybe when we’re in sync, like when we were riding earlier. I also got the feeling that I’m trying to hard. That I want it to be too perfect too soon. For the first time I truly understood that my relationship with Chloe is going to be a long one, that will change and evolve the years. And that what we’re doing now, is just the beginning. I also felt a trust that was mutual. Like we both know I would no more intentionally hurt her than she would me.
Then Chloe went off to roll in the dirt and graze. Living her horse life separate from me. Another good thing for me to remember.
10 thoughts on “Chloe and Me, A Mutual Trust”
Maria, I don’t think we ever manage to learn everything and get to the point where we can say, now I know it all. The only thing certain in life is change. It’s how we adapt to it that changes us. However, I seem to hit my head against a brick wall quite regularly, so I guess I’m one of those slow learners…
Horses get set in patterns and don’t like change. Good on you for changing Chloe’s pattern, horses need this. Maybe we humans do too.
SandyP in S.Ont.Can.
I’m drawn to the Wabi Sabi idea of change and imperfection. I just don’t remember it all the time Sandy. So Like you I need to hit myself over the head with it to remember.
There are magical moments of connection with the (other) animals in our lives. (Hey! People are animals, too.) Times when it seems incredible that such different species can come together.
But then there are the (most) times when they are them and we are us. And that can be magical, too. I am amazed at the different way my dog experiences the world. (Not that I want to go through life with that incredible sense of smell. No wonder they get so distracted.)
What makes sense to me Jill is the idea that we are all different animal nations. It’s too easy for me to think everyone and thing thinks the way I do. And I agree about animals being magical when they are just themselves without us. One of the reason I love cats so much.
I have tried to keep my big, filterless mouth shut around the whole horse thing. I have no business giving you advice. I just feel compelled (sp?)to say one thing after reading this post.
Cindy, why would you even try to keep your lovely mouth shut. We all know it can’t work. (smile)
Horses rolling after turnout isn’t a slight to you, it is more of a social thing. I wish I could find the Equus article that discussed how rolling was essential to a horses mental health. Alas, can’t find it. But this link may help. http://www.watkinsranch.org/2013/07/17/why-do-horses-roll-in-the-dirt/
Maria, you are doing just fine. Glad you are always thinking.
That spot in the pasture.. oh my, how I know that spot. My horses and especially ponies have that same spot.
You are doing the correct approach in taking her back there again and again and making her do what YOU want her to do not what SHE wants to do. It may take hundreds of repeats. If you have just 15 minutes a day, hand lead her there again and again. Every day would be ideal. I did this once with a gelding and broke through. AS you said, you need to break the pattern as she has your number. 🙂
One of my favorite horse training books is an older one by Mary Twelveponies titled “There are no problem horses, only problem Riders”. It might give you some insight.
I just thought I’d try, is all. (smile)
Love to “see and feel” horses through your heart and eyes.