Today was the first time I rode Chloe that she didn’t try to take me back to the barn. It’s also the first time I’ve ridden Chloe, since she came to the farm, that I didn’t get mad at her when she didn’t do what I wanted her to do.
After lunging we rode in circles. There was an ease about it. Chloe was simply doing what I asked her to do. Then we walked from one destination of my choosing to another, from fence post to tree to rock to tree etc. It was going so well I took us off of the small patch of ground we had been riding around into the side pasture. My intention was to go around the sheep shed and then back to the barn stopping at and circling the feeders on the way.
When Chloe resisted leaving the pasture, instead of getting angry and trying to make her go, I stopped. And we sat there. But I didn’t have to come to a better place inside myself as usual, I was already there. I focused on the fencepost in the other pasture, where I wanted to go and then gave a little kick with my heels. Chloe started to move backwards, but I kept my focus, and then I felt it, like a pathway between me and her, an opening and I knew she would move forward in the direction I wanted to go. And she did. This happened again as we got closer to the barn. I felt the pathway opening up. It was a gentle and soft thing, moving between us. But it was clear and direct.
It was a connection not a command. And Chloe seemed more than willing to do it.
When I picture me in the barn on Chloe’s back, trying to make her move, threatening her that we’d be there all day until she moved forward (instead of backwards which is what she was doing), kicking my heals and gritting my teeth, the anger welling inside of me, that’s just what I was doing, giving her a command. “You will do this or else”. It eventually worked, Chloe would finally do what I wanted, but it wasn’t fun. Actually it sucked. I’m sure as much for her as for me. And I can’t imagine it was in any way good for either of us.
I keep thinking how gentle the interaction between us was today. That’s what I want to remember. That and the clarity of my intentions.
Once again it’s about opening up, not shutting down. Just what I learned last week when I had that powerful feeling of love come through Lenore to me, in my dream. Some people say that’s the kind of hearts horses have. Hearts that open up a little more each time something bad happens, instead of closing up. That’s one of the reasons they’ve been able to survive in our changing world for so long. Something the horses know how to do and I have to keep learning again and again.
6 thoughts on “Chloe, A Connection Not A Command”
Wonderful Maria. Have you ever heard the phrase, throw your heart over, and your horse will follow? I think it originated with jumping horses, but to me, it essentially means thinking forward. And when we think it, our body follows. It’s beautiful autumn days like this when I miss being out on cross country rides on my horse.
I haven’t heard that saying Debbie, but it’s a good one. It’s so interesting about that looking forward. I see it works and wonder how, but what you’re saying makes sense. It was a beautiful day to ride, and no flies!
What a great pony story! Mel and I have finally hooked-on (for now!) and I’ve had her a year now. She has taught me so much about patience. She’s a scamp! She also has her bad days just like we do. Ponies are special and not easy at all. So, I think we’re doing pretty darn well! :)Keep riding, xoxo
I think so too Cindy. I’m happy for you.
WONDERFUL!!! I LOVE reading your posts, particularly as it relates to your journey of discovery with Chloe. I read an interesting post from Northwood Farms and thought I would share it here:
“Recent studies conducted by the Institute of HeartMath provide a clue to explain the bidirectional “healing” that happens when we are near horses. According to researchers, the heart has a larger electromagnetic field and higher level of intelligence than the brain: A magnetometer can measure the heart’s energy field radiating up to 8 to 10 feet around the human body. While this is certainly significant, it is perhaps more impressive that the electromagnetic field projected by the horse’s heart is five times larger than the human one (imagine a sphere-shaped field that completely surrounds you). The horse’s electromagnetic field is also stronger than ours and can actually directly influence our own heart rhythm!
Horses are also likely to have what science has identified as a “coherent” heart rhythm (heart rate pattern) which explains why we may “feel better” when we are around them. . . .studies have found that a coherent heart pattern or HRV is a robust measure of well-being and consistent with emotional states of calm and joy–that is, we exhibit such patterns when we feel positive emotions.
A coherent heart pattern is indicative of a system that can recover and adjust to stressful situations very efficiently. Often times, we only need to be in a horses presence to feel a sense of wellness and peace. In fact, research shows that people experience many physiological benefits while interacting with horses, including lowered blood pressure and heart rate, increased levels of beta-endorphins (neurotransmitters that serve as pain suppressors), decreased stress levels, reduced feelings of anger, hostility, tension and anxiety, improved social functioning; and increased feelings of empowerment, trust, patience and self-efficacy.”
Wow Sue, that’s really interesting. Thanks so much for sending it. it really makes sense doesn’t it? I have to let that sink in….