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.