Bolting Horse: Disasters are Opportunities for Connection

I decided to tell you this story in video form. Because you really need to see-hear-feel how ridiculously out-of-connection I am with Montaro as we set out for the day’s adventure!

Giving this story a title was equally difficult; because there were SO many key concepts communicated and learned in this one afternoon. But that’s the other reason I’m telling you the story in video format – being able to use visuals helps me to communicate the deeper layers of what’s happening. Crisis = Opportunity. A stomped foot illustrates how injury can lead to enlightenment. How the horse can use the physical body to communicate deeper truths, or to get our attention when nothing else does. This story follows a winding path, skirts with near disaster, and brings us back round to wholeness.

A story is also not a tutorial. It gives each of you the freedom to take whatever is meaningful, or timely, for where you’re at in your own journey, and chuck the rest out. I like that. So here we go…

I continue to be inspired and oh SO grateful for this amazing community of horse listeners – and all the excellent feedback you give me/us and the bravery to tell and share your own stories with us here. Remember, if you feel moved to share (in the Comments below) you can also upload photos so we can see who you’re talking about 🙂

Jini Patel Thompson is a natural health writer and Freedomite. She began riding at age 2 in Kenya, and got her first horse at age 8 in Alberta, and so continues a life-long journey and love affair with these amazing creatures.

Bolting Horse: Disasters are Opportunities for Connection

18 thoughts on “Bolting Horse: Disasters are Opportunities for Connection

  • March 24, 2018 at 3:13 pm
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    How coincidental this is since you were just telling me how to take my horse for a walk with the rope around the neck. That was quite the experience you had and it made me think of similar one’s I have had when the horses got out. It’s a great reminder to stay in the present with the horse which is probably something I don’t always do. I am glad everything turned out so well for you. It encourages me to try again if only because I feel I am getting the same messages from at least on of my horses that he needs to get out of the paddock and small field and have an adventure. Great story Jini. Can you check and make sure I am still on your list as I have not seen this article come through in my email or any others for a while. Thanks.

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    • March 24, 2018 at 4:00 pm
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      Yes, it’s a reminder why EACH of us has to proceed at the pace that’s right and feels safe for us – more on that topic next week!

      And yes, you’re still on the list – the newsletter (email) goes out on Sunday mornings but we haven’t published anything for a couple weeks; that’s why you haven’t received anything 🙂

      I look forward to hearing what happens when you have your next adventure!

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  • March 24, 2018 at 6:18 pm
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    Holy crap stick….I have never resonated with you as much as I have watching this video. Seriously it was kind of scary how much your story felt like me. So many different circumstances between you & I but your mannerisms and the way you were speaking and what you were saying and how you were saying it…..was like watching a kindred spirit. I always enjoy and learn from your posts and blogs but this one is like ….wow wow freaking wow. I so have theses conversations and negotiations with the boys. Especially when out on our adventure walks and rides and during so many of our daily interactions. It really makes a huge difference for me to state my intentions verbally out loud. I personally love how he smacked the crap out of you. The horses have all done this to me in one way or the other…somewhere along the line in our journey. We so need it..as I know I have needed it ….every time it has happened. I was thinking to myself as the video started wow how the hell is she going to keep connection and video at the same time🤔…and I was impressed for about 10seconds then thought uh oh ? of course you were not. I think a head/hat cam set up would really be cool and I really want to make one for myself so I can capture some interactions, sessions, and adventures without a camera person or sacrificing the connection. Of course it will undoubtedly have some impact but I think far far less and especially in the oh shit times you will not even have time to think about it and having both hands available…is always a good thing. So many things I want to touch on…but I will share just a few. I Love how you didn’t panic when he had to bolt and then made sure he stayed away from the busy road with your unwavering energy block. I also really like how he was able to convince you to keep going to explore the new found trail…even after all the hub bub and you thinking …we’re done. Just like you I love to go ….so I would of reacted the same way…and look because you were game, you were able to practice with the stick and experience and appreciate a whole new approach to single track. I think the whole adventure could of been sour lemons but you two, instead made sweet delicious refreshing lemonade together. Montano wanting to explore so immensely and being so much more physically capable then you ( of course all horses are over humans) to me just suggests….maybe he might be open and even enjoy (when the time is right) to go exploring with you in a riding position and might really enjoy it as you will be able to keep up and still support and explore at his pace. I know Dreamer can get a bit frustrated with me when I am out with him and I am on the ground instead of on him ….( not always but sometimes) as I just don’t move the way he wants to sometimes. I can feel his energy say what the heck keep up or get on your holding-me back…or when I am bareback he really can send me that energy. Like …hold on …and stay balanced we’re trying to go. He is however an extreme care taker horse and so far…he has always slow downed or shifted …so I don’t fall off. It is such a gift when horses like to get out and go. Banner and Bullet are mostly comfy with being home bodies…but even they enjoy an adventure walk once in a while. Well I really do hope someday we get a chance to meet and hang out in person with of course horses o plenty.

    Jini…you really are my type of gal friend. ✌🏼❤️🐴

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    • March 24, 2018 at 6:31 pm
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      Holy crap Michelle – WHERE are you riding?! That is just the most perfect piece of land/heaven I’ve ever seen! LOVE your breakdown of what happened and all the pieces involved and I am SURE we will get a chance to meet and hang out (with horsies of course!) someday.

      And you’re right about Montaro – and a few of the others who love adventure. They just want to do more and GO more and for that to happen, they’re going to get to point where they say, “Well, get on my back then!” That’s exactly what happened with Zorra. Our first ride together was out on the road after 2 hours of hiking in the park and I was exhausted so leading us home – and she wanted to go for another round.

      In fact Zorra just gave me another piece about how to condition their muscles to hold weight (without having to use an arena, which I loathe). BUT all that is a few years away yet. Montaro is only 4, so bones won’t harden and growth plates won’t close for 2-3 years yet. I think in the next year or so, I could hop on and off, for say, 2-5 minutes at a time and that would probably be okay. But I’m going to start conditioning this summer. Good times ahead!

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    • March 24, 2018 at 6:32 pm
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      Michelle’s pic of her riding Dreamer…

      here it is:  

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  • March 24, 2018 at 8:25 pm
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    Ha ha Jini, I love what you said about the not being able to stay connected to Montaro and what he conveyed to you. So true, really challenging to use a camera/phone and talk to US (in the future) while you are there physically. Maybe if you had a camera attached to yourself (I am planning that myself!) and just record your time/adventures… So you are in fact showing us exactly what you do, by ignoring us and focusing on what is happening in your moment.

    Your relay of the conversations and what happened between you two was hilarious and so spot on. I love how you were able to stay grounded and calm and ask him to not cross the road. I really appreciated your explanation of everything afterwards.

    I know I don’t take big chances like that with my horses…. I take tiny steps outside of their pasture, and depending on who I am with, we walk just a little. I have had my challenges with Denali a few weeks ago where she didn’t want to go back into the pasture, but she also did not want to go into her stall (she can’t see her herd from the stall but she can hear them) and we danced around for 45 mins, back and forth…. I asked her in every which way possible to please decide. I am amazed at how strong-willed horses are, so unlike dogs who do everything to please you. Horses just don’t give a shit what you think and it’s truly so refreshing. I feel, with Denali in particular, she’s teaching me about stepping into my humanity and be here on earth. Horses do that so well! She finally walked into her pasture when someone came around and she was a intimidated. I think I might have missed the point of her teaching that time. I am sure it’ll get played out again….

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    • March 24, 2018 at 9:46 pm
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      Well, everyone has to be congruent and take the chances or proceed with what feels right to them. As long as you stay true to that, you’ll have the best relationship with your horses. I love that you are able to give yourself the space and flex to not judge the situation with Denali, and to realize that the opportunity will come around again.

      Next time, instead of going back-and-forth, see what happens if you just give in to her entirely. If you said, OK, we’ll just stand here for however long you want. Or, okay, let’s find out where you want to go… Maybe she needed to go see Dakota. Or, maybe she wanted you to sink into meditative state with her – to discern the other layers of what was going on. If her desire was just to eat more grass, then in those situations, when I really need to go (like I’m picking kids up from school), I don’t ask them to move. But I don’t let them eat either. I keep sending them pictures of where we need to go (gate, pasture) and where I need to go (school) and calmly letting them decide when they’ll start walking. Sometimes we’ll just circle in place if they’re frustrated. But the calmness is also held with a lot of love. “I WISH you could keep eating, I KNOW you don’t get enough fresh grass, or get out enough. I’ll bring you out again, I promise. And I need to leave now.”

      The other thing, if they’re just not in a space to hear or care and I really do have a deadline, is to pick up a tree branch and wave it behind their rump – with a wildie you may not even have to move it much, just holding it behind them can work. It’s a pressure/dominance move though, so I only use it when I don’t have the ability to discern deeper.

      I hear you about dogs vs horses. And as your horses teach you (and enlighten you!) it will be interesting to see how things shift in your relationship with dogs. Kumba was SO obedient and willing to please – in one way it was nice, but it also signaled me that he was not empowered. To make a long story short, one day he sent me pictures of his trauma (as a wee pup) and I did an EFT Tapping session for him. Within days he transformed into a boisterous, feisty, opinionated dog. The latest change is he wouldn’t get in the truck – the way he’d always gotten in the truck. So I dialed into him, “Okay, WHAT are you trying to tell me, what’s wrong?” – just like I do with the horses. And he showed me that what HE wanted to do was have me open the rear door on the driver’s side. Then I climb into the driver’s seat and start the truck. Then he leaps into the truck in a single bound, pops up beside me and says, “Here I am!” Then I reach back to slam his door shut. !! No kidding. I had to admit, his way of getting in the truck has WAY more style than the way I was asking him to get in the truck!

      I think a domestic dog’s default is to please, as that is the way we have encouraged/pressured them to behave – to get their needs met and to get the best food! But I also require more “training” of my dogs, than my horses, so I can take them into human spaces where there are a lot of rules/laws. And they WANT to go everywhere with me, rather than staying at home, so it’s an agreement between us. But my dogs are definitely more empowered than ‘normal’ dogs and they teach visitors (and other family members) a lot. Oh and the breed of dog has a lot to do with it too. Some breeds have selected for people-pleasing tendencies. And others, like my Tahltan Bear Dog (Tiah) were bred to go out ahead of humans and think independently. When we are in the wilderness, SHE is the one in charge, no question! She once held a cougar off my daughter and I and we obeyed her without question 🙂

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      • March 25, 2018 at 10:30 am
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        Thanks Jini. The funny thing about Denali not wanting to go back in the pasture (where her beloved mares were) was that she wanted grass. I forgot to mention that little piece. But there was SNOW on the ground. She wanted what she often gets, the grass outside of the gate. I kept telling her the grass was covered up. But she wouldn’t have it. We did do some standing around… for up to 5-7 mins at a time. Then I got cold (and I did have to go somewhere and told her that!). Ha! But again, these are all ways we learn to be with one another.
        I actually tried to use the rope and swing it a little near her rump to make her move, but she looked at me like “what are you doing? You are not scaring me. I am not moving”. And actually I was impressed that something that a year ago would have made her jump and run for her life, now FROM ME, it does not scare her. (I do think a stick would be different. She does not like sticks and even though early on I bought the “whip” and even have a “wand” from a TTouch trainer, I have used neither with them….but maybe now that there is more trust between us, I could).

        I did want to mention something you said in your video about not swinging the other way and give in to the horses so they become the boss. That is something that I can easily do, and that is MY work/learning/practice with them. Stay focused so that I do not TAKE their power, but also do not give mine away. It’s something that I am learning so clearly and easily from the horses, and something I am so grateful for. They really want you to be engaged and present. If you are not, they ignore you. You just aren’t interesting to them. There’s no one home. I have noticed that with all horses.

        And dogs, yes! Such people pleasers! I am also learning to engage differently with my dogs because they so easily do what we want. And I also want to respect them so I don’t impose my will on them unnecessarily. We have 2 pit bulls, and both are so kind and generous, and total people pleasers. One is deaf too so it’s just sign language and lots of treats.
        You’ll have to tell me the story of the cougar sometimes. I have one too! Up in the Methow… 😁

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        • March 25, 2018 at 5:08 pm
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          Very astute observations – I love everything you’re learning! It is SUCH a privilege to be coached by these wildies, isn’t it? Not that domestic horses aren’t amazing too 🙂

          Mine will not move at all from a swinging or twirling rope. But a long quirt or a tree branch is effective, BUT you MUST put the energy behind it too. Mine are not scared of the quirt (important) and we play with it. So if you just wave it at them, that will have no effect. You have to put your energy behind the ‘ask’. They have taught many people how to strengthen their boundaries and stand in their power this way. They will say to me, “Go get the long stick,” when they know the person just can’t send energy out from their body. So the stick gives them something to pair their intent with – kind of gives them a physical place to send/position the energy and “prove” to themselves when they’re doing it, and when they’re not.

          So yes, maybe Denali is wanting you to learn how to get stronger (but still coming from a calm, loving place) – if she never challenged you, you wouldn’t need to, right?

          Oh and if we’re talking about Cougar stories, read this:
          http://www.listentoyourhorse.com/lessons-from-a-cougar/

          My cougar story (and others!) is in the Comments underneath – add yours if you feel like it!

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          • March 25, 2018 at 7:38 pm
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            I am going to try that! The stick with the intention!!! Will let you know! And I’ll read the cougar story!

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  • March 24, 2018 at 8:26 pm
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    Hi Jini, I love knowing where they are, you know, the horses! Part of me will always belong to them, and part of them to me. I remember the first time we took Montaro and Jax out of the field and across the road to use the neighbours paddock which was full of grass. Sandy haltered up Montaro and I Jax and we headed out of their field into our yard then thru the gate and across the cabin yard. Not sure if you remember there is a gravel pit at the end of our road so big trucks are back and forth all day. I was nervous, not worried about Jax at all but Montaro 🙂 We got them into the new paddock without incidence, slipped the halters off ( I do not leave halters on) and hung out with them for awhile as they explored. But then we needed to go get a few of their things and they were both quietly grazing so we slipped thru the gate, closed it up and connected the top hot wire. We took maybe 10 step and whoosh Montaro flew over the gate and hot wire and took off thru the adjacent field. Jax watched the shenanigans with a worried furrow of the brow. All ended well but Montaro had spotted a pretty little mare and he wanted to meet her. It was there that we were able to collect him and return him to the paddock but this time we fixed his little wagon and did a better job of discouraging his departure. The ultimate point of the story is “I was anything but calm and stoic about the incident :)”

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    • March 24, 2018 at 9:14 pm
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      Oh I can just SEE that all being played out! Speaking of hot wire, Kumba (my big pup) and Juno have had a bit of a chasing game going on. Sometimes it gets a little out of hand and I call Kumba off, because Juno hasn’t realized yet that HE is the more powerful one. Well of course, we’re putting up the new electric fence – which Juno has never seen/experienced and I don’t even THINK to leash Kumba, because he’s been quiet for hours. As soon as the fence is up and turned on, within less than 5 minutes, Kumba lunges at Juno and Juno runs INTO the fence, drags 1/4 of it down. I step towards him with that calm ‘Whoa’ he slows, then looks past me, speeds up and jumps over the enclosing fence line. PERFECT! In 1 minute flat Kumba has taught Juno that he can run through an electric fence AND jump over it. Needless to say, Kumba is now being taught that ALL chasing games with horses are OVER. Juno zapped his nose twice on the fence after it was put up again and hasn’t touched it since. WHEW. Hoping to repair some of the damage to the main field (also seeded with forage grasses).

      But YES, all the armchair commentators on YouTube slag people all the time for “safety” issues – but those of us who’ve had horses for any length of time know that there’s always gonna be times when it all goes south! Montaro as a stallion was SO magnificent. In a perfect world I could have kept him that way…

      Jax is really coming into his own lately and getting even MORE handsome by the day, I think he’s going to be showing up more in vids over the next few months 🙂

      And of course, you will always be connected to them – to Juno too probably. We retired a horse inland (for her health) to just be free with a herd but she still showed up from time to time – to both my daughter and me. When she appeared during my dental surgery I knew things were about to go south! Horses know they are not bound by time or space. xo

      Reply
      • March 25, 2018 at 7:37 am
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        You know I was thinking a while back how we gave beautiful Audelina so much of the credit for waiting for Jax to join her on her trip west to you? I am now thinking Jax may have had a good deal to do with her not getting on her ride? The three of them knew they belonged together.

        I still have Pop Tart and Element because I am so reluctant to split them up, and have had no acceptable offers from anyone to take the pair. Pop Tart will thrive so long as she is in gentle hands, she is very willing. Element is tenacious and will only thrive in the hands of someone who does not need to break her spirit, she loves life and is smart as a whip but not everyone can work with a horse that is willing to think for themselves.

        So nice to see you enjoying the horses so much, and hey did you not get the black mare home yet?

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        • March 25, 2018 at 4:59 pm
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          Yes Lynne – very true! Now that we’ve seen what a magician Jax is, it makes even more sense that they were all in it equally 🙂

          Can you post a pic here of Pop Tart and Element?

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  • March 26, 2018 at 9:20 am
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    Jini,
    Love the video, very helpful. How about getting a ‘Go Pro’ that attaches to your head for filming. Works great when you are alone.

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    • March 26, 2018 at 10:47 am
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      Yes, I already have one – but I hate tight stuff on my head! No worries, I have a solution for the summer 🙂

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  • April 24, 2018 at 4:45 pm
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    Hi Jini ~ This is the best conversation you have shared yet. You and I are the same person in different bodies; and I am at the same place with Ruby – but on my ten acres, not out on the frickin’ road! I wish I had time to read all of the commentaries now. I will come back to them this evening!

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    • April 25, 2018 at 2:55 am
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      LOL Colleen! These horses just keep putting us through our paces, don’t they?!

      Reply

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