The weekend is over and I had a new horse sighting that I am so excited to share with you! We have a new horse here on the ranch that is difficult to bridle. He is a dressage horse and will do most anything to get out of having to put a bridle on. He hates the bridle - but still every time he winds up losing and performing against his better judgment and wishes. So Sad. It reminds me of when I was five years old and taking lessons in dance. My mother drove me 20 miles each way to where the dance studio was. My teacher was an old man that always spoke mean to me and hit me with his cane if I did not dance exactly how I was to perform. The ride to the studio was always miserable, and I dreaded going to what I knew would be an awful experience. The funny thing was, no one could tell that I was unhappy about the experience because I looked happy out on the dance floor. The knots in my stomach did not match the joy that I appeared to be experiencing.
I know this horse feels the same way. He ends up doing what he does not want to do, developing more and more resistance, but in the end - still doing it. When I went to visit him this weekend, I tried to put his bridle on. It took me 45 minutes and every bit of my being to accomplish the task, and in the process I realized everything that he did not want to do. He did not want to be a dressage horse! However, he would finally give in, even though he wanted no part of it. The thing is – he looked happy once he was in the arena, but it was a false happiness. He put on a good face, but on the inside, his stomach was in knots!
After this experience of spending an excruciating amount of energy and time putting the bridle on, I decided to try something else. It was during this process that I realized that it was not that he needed to be trained to put a bridle on, it was that his energy needed to be reshaped. I took him into the dinner and dancing room and with the sole purpose of getting him to relax and stand still. At first he was very fidgety and exuded nervous energy. However, there would be pauses when he would adjust his energy to being more relaxed. It was in these moments when he would relax just a little that I would pet him, and tell him he was a good boy. We repeated this process over and over until he the moments he was able to relax increased to minutes. During this whole process, I could start to feel his energy reshape itself before my very eyes. It was as if everything about him changed as he became still and calm. Since he had transformed his energy from the nervous state he was in to one of being calm and peaceful, I presented him with the bridle and bit. I did not go to put it on him, I just held it there open for him to look at. As he looked at the bridal in front of him, it was as if all of the old negative memories and experiences had melted away from him. He then moved forward to the bridle and sucked up the bit! I took off his bridal and repeated this process several times. Each time he offered to take up the bit and I put the bridal on. Because his mind and body were molded into a positive energy and place, the idea that he could put a bridal on and be ridden could also be positive for him.
What is so important to take from this is that with our horses and in our lives, we need to remember that our energy needs to match what we are doing. How many times do we catch ourselves doing something that we do not want to do at all, dreading it the entire time? If we were able to change our energy so that we were in a relaxed and pleasant frame of mind, the task would suddenly also become more relaxing and pleasant! What a gift this is that we can give ourselves, our horses, and everyone around us! To be in a place in our minds and bodies that is calm and positive is truly an accomplishment. The bottom line is that we do not need to retrain our horses (or ourselves). Instead, we need to take the time and allow a good energy to happen, and then allow the connection between the horse and human to happen, and everything will work our naturally.
This is my new horse sighting and a further note: This new horse at my barn gets a choice, and at this time is reprieved from dressage to things that he can resonate with.
Hope you are having a wonderful day!