Friday, December 10, 2010
A quick summary: Galahad has moved to a private boarding stable about 30 miles west of here. He wasn't happy at his previous stable--he was constantly getting in trouble with the other horses, picking fights, wanting to play whether the other horses did or not. He'd already been seriously hurt once, and I knew it was only a matter of time before he was injured again, or hurt another horse. Something had to be done, so when this new opportunity arose, I jumped at it.
The new stable is significantly farther away from home for me, but worth it for Galahad. He's much better off, and that is the most important thing. A lot has happened since we moved him, and I'll have to update that in a few days, but something has shifted in me that is of major significance. I didn't realize it until a couple of days ago:
A friend and I went out to see him and work with him a bit. He needs work--in his new place he has grass pasture, woods, and gets to stay outside all night when the weather is fine, and so he's decided that he's a wild pony and doesn't have to do anything he doesn't feel like doing. Because of the adjustment--his and mine--I haven't been working with him as much as I used to.
Ground work is so important, and can be done anywhere and at any time, so we decided to take him for a walk. The trails at the new place are lovely, hilly but not steep, and a nice mix of woods and open fields. He hasn't been on them much yet, so it was all new to him.
My friend was leading him. She's been around horses a lot more than I have, so I didn't think anything about it. All was well until we got to the top of the hill—he got very wild and started pushing her around with his head and shoulders. She wasn’t staying on top of him, wasn't able to counter his pushiness. I realized that she was going to be in serious danger in a few more seconds, so I took the lead away from her.
It took all my skill to get him back under control and to lead him down the hill. But I did it. He walked down that hill slowly, stopping when asked, backing when asked, and we made it.
So what? you say. The significance of this is that before that moment, I would have backed off and let her deal with him. She has more experience, right? so she must know better than I do. And truthfully, she would have figured it all out and been fine. But for the first time, I knew that I was better able to deal with the horse in that moment, and without thinking about it, I stepped in. Or stepped up. Stepped into my own authority. Stepped into my mare energy.
Interesting, the timing. Tomorrow I begin a three-month traineeship with my friend and gifted horse trainer "Jay" out at the rescue ranch. It'll be hard work, physically and emotionally (not to mention that it's the dead of winter). Without mare energy, I can't work with troubled horses safely and effectively. But I have it (always have had it), and now I recognize and accept it, with humility and gratitude.