Today was pretty fabulous. I didn’t get chilled to the bone and finished a great day of work while the sun was still shining. Not bad for a mid-January day. I cleared my head, set my intentions and headed over to the barn to see my boy… and had a stellar visit.
A few months ago, today could have ended quite differently. I was overwhelmed with an extremely busy work season, feeling a bit out of control and consequently out of my comfort zone. This wreaked havoc on my ‘therapeutic barn time’. As an equine therapist it can be easy to get caught up overanalyzing your own horse. I started putting pressure on what our time together should look like. Instead of setting goals and having fun working towards them, I focused on his every step and slightest shift in posture, judging him and everything we did together. It wasn’t long before Whiskey had had enough and started to act down right miserable when I came around.
It got to the point if I was having a bad day I just avoided the barn altogether (which is ironic because up until this point the barn was the best medicine for a case of the blues). He fussed about being brushed and did not want any bodywork whatsoever. It took me a while but I finally came around as to what the real issue was. It wasn’t my horse… it was me.
The very moment I shifted my attitude I had a new horse. Looking back I am grateful for his behaviour. He could have tuned me out, tolerated my visits and just let me sort it out in time. Instead he consistently challenged me to be a better person. These days I show up without any attachment to the outcome of our time together. Instead of analyzing his every move I listen to his body language and what he is trying to tell me. Because of this we have developed a deeper bond and have made great advancements with our liberty work. Some days we achieve a lot and others just a little, enjoying progression without pressure.
Last week I noticed he seemed a bit bored with the in hand caveletti work so I decided to build a labyrinth out of ground poles. The smartass looked at me after I set it up, walked through it by himself (perfectly executed) and looked back at me mighty proud of himself! I stood shocked and laughing thinking no one will believe this. We went through a few more times practicing stopping and backing up through it. Below is a little time lapsed video of our second time through.
These creatures never cease to amaze me. I will sign off with a cliché.. It really is all about the journey, not the destination. When I count my blessings I definitely count my horse twice!