Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony. ~ Thomas Merton

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Change in Perspective

I have been struggling over the past few days.  I'm not sure where the funk originated and I cannot really find the grounds for feeling so lousy.  Things are going well.  Better than they have in ages.  So why the doldrums?  I decided I needed a change in perspective.  One that lifted me about 4' off the ground and looked out between my horse's ears.

Last night I had my first ride on Cricket at the farm.  Nothing earth-shattering.  Nothing that's going to set the world on fire.  But fore me, it was simply amazing.  Simple and amazing.

Etruska became very stressed when I took Cricket out of view so instead of my original plan to explore down the road, I decided to follow the fence line to the back of the property, allowing Etruska to walk along side of us.

I had Cricket tacked up in a bareback pad and I just tied my lead line into reins.  We headed off on our little adventure.  I had no idea what to expect.  I have to admit, I was a little nervous.  It is rare that I will ride without someone present.  It is rare that I will ride bareback outside the safety net of an arena.  But I felt this overwhelming feeling of trust.  It feels strange and I want to argue with it but I just know it's really okay.

Cricket was a little forward and animated in her walk.  There were times she was a little argumentative about grazing.  But not once did I feel scared.  Not once.  What I felt was a strong connection with my horse.  I felt our partnership.

I think we were out for about 15 minutes.  Like I said, nothing earth-shattering.  But every minute that we were together, we were together.  And that's what this whole journey has been about.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Bored vs. Tuned Out

I know Linda Parelli talks about horses being bored but I'm not sure if I buy it.  Cricket spends her day nibbling grass, napping and swishing her tail at flies. How is it possible to be more boring that?  Seriously!

To be bored is to be dissatisfied with what you are currently doing and to wish to be doing something else.  I'm not sure that's a thought process that fits in with the general "in the moment" mentality of the horse.

So I just don't buy into the "my horse is bored" theory.  I don't even buy the "my horse finds me boring" approach either.

Any time I interact with Cricket, there is more energy and activity for the duration of our time together than she sees for the entire rest of the day.  Maybe even the week.  Unless there are a lot of flies.

So what is it?  Could it be that the energy we bring lacks meaning and clarity and as such the horse simply tunes out.  It's not that he'd rather be somewhere else but he'd rather understand what you are asking so he can respond appropriately?

I don't know the answer.  I just don't believe my horse is bored.

If I watch her when she's wearing her alpha mare hat, there isn't a lot of activity.  There aren't feet flying and teeth gnashing.  It's actually quite subtle but it is crystal clear.  There is purpose - focused intention - behind every action she takes.  And even in the actions she chooses not to take.

When I look at my feeble attempt at leadership and compare it to hers, I see what I lack.  And it has nothing to do with boredom.  What I'm missing is the focus, intention and purpose.  What I fail to offer is a true release.  What I miss is the natural rhythm of equine interactions - rest, initiate, play and a return to rest.  What I forget is that action must be sustained for a purpose.  Horses do not naturally move except with purpose - fleeing from prey, establishing the hierarchy and winning breeding rights.  So where is the purpose in what I'm asking?  Where is my intention?  Where is my focus?