We live in a fast paced world. I have three children in basketball. I have a love hate relationship with basketball. On one hand, I love that the kids are able to practice and get exercise in the middle of winter. On the other hand, the back and forth running gets old very fast. Working, running a boarding stable, and the daily tasks of laundry, cooking meals, and paying bills, it's no wonder we feel like we are constantly on the move.
I know this is the case for most people. We are always busy, leaving little time to catch up or take a break. No, this post is not about finding balance in our lives and taking time for ourselves. This post is about our horses.
Our horses live daily eating, drinking, pooping, peeing, and checking in often to see if they are safe. Of course, they do play and interact with each other socially. Until we come into the picture, they don't think about being rushed to get a task done. They may have to rush into flight if they do not feel safe, but than they go back to a calmer state of being.
Enter the human. We rush all day and we finally have a little time to spend with our horse. It's our downtime. How often do we think about the things we want to accomplish with our horses? Do we include the horses feelings in succeeding these accomplishments?Do they feel like they accomplished something? Do they feel like they did well? Do they feel like they were rushed through a task with little time to think about why or how they should do it?
Horses need time to process. They need time to think. I recently had two experiences with my Arab mare, Tinsel. I had her in the arena and we were just going for a walk. We have a teeter totter in the arena and she is not a fan of it. This night we were walking and without thought I walked over the teeter totter and she followed me. Wow! I decided to try it again, but this time I had an emphasis on it. Will she go over it again? The second time she did not go over it. I had added stress to it. Not a lot, but she is quite the sensitive little horse. I didn't ask again and we went on to something else.
The next time I brought her in I decided to make it a task. When asking our horses to do something we need them to be thinking. I brought her to the teeter and simple asked her to take a step towards it. And than we stood. We just stood and took time. I waited for her breath and than asked again. She would reach her neck out. She would paw. Now how did I ask her. I did not put any pressure on her halter. I simple placed my wand over her back. This may work for some horses and others you may have to try something different. She eventually put a foot and than a second on the teeter. We just stood for a long time and than I walked her off and onto something else.
I could have asked her to keep going, but I wanted her to keep thinking and interested. I wanted to leave when she could process what she did. There was no fight or flight in this and she thought through the entire process. I gave her time and lots of it. The feeling walking away from the teeter was a feeling of connection, joy, and satisfaction from both her and I.
Give your horses time. They do not understand our rushed world. They don't live that way. When we bring the hurry into our horsemanship it causes the horse worry. I promise by going slower, your relationship and goals will be accomplished
Take Some Time Today