|Posted by Lynn Elston on April 16, 2015 at 12:25 AM|
We have just finished an experiment in Liberty Learning. This past weekend, Nancy, Brenda, I and two others spent 2.5 days with Robin and our horses. We thought we were going to a great party, and instead ended up feeling like we'd been to an intervention!!! We really got to see how liberty is the culmination of really becoming present to your horse...and that is NOT a matter of tools, timing or technique. It is a matter of awareness, of paying attention and of staying clear on what you want, what you expect and what you will not tolerate.
It was hard work, with many blurry times when each of us lost any recognition of what we were supposed to be doing. Confusion reigned. And, as we all know...painful as it is to admit, from confusion comes growth. By the last day, we could at least recognize each of our needs for breaking things down for ourselves,( let alone the horse) and we were eager to know when we might get together again. A few wanted to know what their next step should be, once they got home. The answer...anything you like, just play with it all!!
We saw lots of fun things to try with our horses...sandbox type stuff. Ask your horse to lower the head, without resistence, by just weighting the halter with your hands...can you give to my little bit of pressure? Ask your horse to lead line walk with you way out at the end of the lead rope..especially good if you have a horse who shoulders in on you at closer quarters. And, most important...mix things up, ramp up your energy and go in and do big, silly things around your horse, get them bucking and snorting and tails up over their butts...not by chasing them around, but by playing, yourself, with big or noisy or surprising things. Become interesting to them, and, amazingly, you show up, big time, in their world!!!
At the end of our get-together, I went out into the pasture with our four guys with a 12' long curved fir tree branch that I held like a big fishing pole, sticking it straight up into the sky and then dropping it to earth, then back up. It was just me and my stick, approaching the vicinity of the horses, but not intending to approach them. As I got closer and they caught sight of this wierd thing happening, the heads went up, and they took off, careening around the pasture, snorting and blowing and having a high old time. I kept doing wierd things with my stick, sometimes running parallel to them, sometime cutting across. All at once, I saw Moon turn and face me, about 100 feet away. I threw the stick down and gestured "Come on over here, big guy!"...OMG!! He came at a full collected gallop right straight to me, I threw a stop at him when he was about ten feet away. He careened to a dead stop and I then cued him to rear up...best one he's ever done...full of himself, his power, his having fun!!! Then I dropped my energy down low and gestured in a soft way "Come gimme some sugar" He came in soft and lovely and just stood with his head near my chest! Wow!!! The full gamut of emotion from highest, rip snorting fun to soft, intimate connection!!! It was astounding! And this from a horse who used to be SO checked out!
So, yesterday, I went out into our pasture. I brought the soft halter and lead rope and asked Yogi to play with me. I had seen Robin demonstrating how to ask a horse to lead with you by walking all the way at the end of the 12 foot line. But, I'd never tried it and thought it might be fun.
I asked Yogi to walk with me and then asked him to move out, away from me. This being new to him, he tried to interpret it in terms of what he already knew. Did I want him to lunge around me?...he asked, as he surged ahead and in front of me. No, my whip came up and said, you don't go there, I simply want you to walk with me, that far away. Should I turn in towards you, says he? No, says I, put your nose back out there and just walk with me, that far away. Should I go farther out, put some pressure on the line? No, come back in to where I had put you and simply walk with me, that far away. He asked his questions, my answer was always the same. It took very little time for him to lower his head and just walk with me, that far away!!! Now we have a new thing to do together, accomplished through a gentle and fair conversation between us.
It was a delight, both the discussion and the final product, because we stayed connected throughout. It was as if time slowed down, the world fell away and there was just him and me. Lovely!
I am discovering that when I am in that zone with the horse, I don't have to put a lot of effort into thinking up what to do, because just the simplest things become delightful in the doing them from that together place. It's as if "Together" comes first and then what we DO with together isn't so important...things just flow. Maybe we'll leave the pasture and walk down to the arena to get a carrot out of the treat box. Maybe we'll just sit and feel the sunshine. Maybe we'll play the Head Up game. Whatever...it isn't about what we are doing together, it's about that we ARE together!
It's all so very ZEN...deep, peaceful, enriching, releasing.
This fledgling Mentorship program we are experimenting with could be a serious life changer for those truly interested in getting to the very deepest levels of connection with their horses!! More on this as we continue to explore the possibilities, tweek and refine, until we have the best format to offer to those ready and willing to go the distance emotionally and spiritually and attitudinally! Probably be offering something, in depth, in 2016. Stay tuned.