This video encapsulates why I prefer to interact, co-learn, and explore with horses unhaltered. And with no training aids; treats, clickers, rewards, whips, sticks etc. Watch what happens when I have an idea/agenda, but the horses totally do not agree with my plan!
You may think I’m using the alfalfa as a treat/reward, but notice that it is not withheld when the horse doesn’t do what I’m asking. So it’s an element at play in the game, but it’s access is not dependent on the horse producing the desired behaviour. The fact that Makah lets the wheelbarrow full of alfalfa pull away from him and allows Zorra to have it, shows that he has no anxiety or scarcity around alfalfa. He knows he’ll get some alfalfa regardless of what he chooses to do, or not do. Also, the other horses, outside the arena, all receive alfalfa too.
Jini Patel Thompson is a natural health writer and Lazer Tapping instructor. 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.
10 thoughts on “Seacans, Trailers & Horseplay”
Going to be a bit of a word to the wise here! I think I mentioned in a blog post that last year Bullets hooves were slippery from the freshly watered lawn and when he went into the garage (as he always did) with a very slick floor he uncharacteristically startled and slipped and fell he could not get up because it was to slippery and ended up knocking over my husbands Harley Davidson Very heavy motorcycle! It missed pinning him by inches and I was completely traumatized by the event even though Bullet was basically unscathed even after slipping over and over again trying to get up! He probably just had a few bruises! But it was so awful! Bullet had been a huge garage hanger outer and napped in there frequently for years and years and I adored this about him…and then the fall happened! So now no more horses in the garage! I know you said the container is very slippery many times and I know this to be very true as we have one and I have slipped many times! Great for hay storage as the bales slide so easily but I just wanted to comment with my concern as a horse falling in such a tight space is definitely very scary!
Maybe Miss Zo realizes that if she were to go in with a more dominant horse in with her they could instantly decide to move her and she would have to scramble to move and may slip and fall ?
Ok off my soap box now! I am definitely not a play it safe kind of girl and do very risky things all the time but Bullet falling was extremely impactful on me! I am ok now but feel lead to relay my concern? ✌🏼💚🐴
Pic of Bullet before fall✌🏼💚🐴
Totally hear you Michelle! I have demonstrated for each of the horses how slippery it is – by running and sliding along the floor. So they are well aware.
That’s also why I wanted Makah down the barn road, then I would have closed the gate in between, because I knew Zorra could not be pressured at all.
And again, this is another reason to let the horse FULLY choose! Zo may NEVER want to go in that seacan because her body tells her it’s not safe for her. No problem.
I also grew up with horses in Alberta (-40C winters) and ice everywhere, so I know that horses can navigate slippery surfaces IF it’s their choice, they take their time, and the more practice, the better. They used to have balls of ice frozen to the bottom of their hooves, no problem.
I think Bullet had such a disaster due to expectation. He’d been in there many times and therefore KNEW the footing was a certain way. What he and you didn’t anticipate was the effect of WET hooves. Totally unexpected! Hence the trauma.
The girls have been in that seacan, slipped and slid around, came out, went back in, no bigee. But they were EXPECTING that as I had shown them and warned them. They also have the resilience and flexibility of the young!
I just have to once again say how enormously grateful I am to you & the magnificent herd for sharing your insights in horse communication, your back & forth dialogue, the art of presence and non-dominance.
You show how the horses choose, how they often know better than you, you show your own weaknesses or shadows, and you generously share your insights and wisdom, and you account for the traditions and methods you draw from. And you never ever use a dominant energy ‘just to show off’.
I’ve followed some other horse-people that draw from traditions from for instance mindfullness, mediation, Buddhism, energy work, freedom based training… and I always find it suspicious that they really don’t account for their sources, that they don’t show also the work with the darker side of themselves, the moments when they fail or tremble… and worst of all if they in some way manipulate or dominate the horses with these methods. Or just don’t give the horses a real choice even though they claim to.
I’m lucky enough to have a lead mare that always sees through the bullshit and clocks me on it and even demonstrates the opposite to me, so I’m very grateful to her too.
Wishing you & the herd beautiful summer days,
Ah what a bucolic scene – just gorgeous Sofia!
Thank you for your feedback and you’re very welcome. I’ve always felt that so much learning comes from seeing/knowing/showing what *doesn’t* work. I also love to show what ACTUAL choice looks like. As you pointed out, there are so many people still wedded to their ego, so they only want to present things going well, or the horse miraculously doing what they’re asked, every time.
Whereas people like you understand – if you’re in a REAL sentient, intimate relationship with an empowered horse… you’re spending a lot of your time receiving lessons from the wiser being!
Have you checked out the Membership yet Sofia? It might be ideal for where you’re at…
One more thing Sofia – if you feel like it, play Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor for your lead mare and let me know her response…
Yes, I’ve seen the membership, and it would be an amazing opportunity to learn & share, but I’m still hesitant. Thought I’d take an animal communication course with Güliz first at least.
So, I listened to Mendelssohn with Stelling. Wonderful suggestion, thank you! She was attentive both to the music and to me, curious, interested, observant, very awake and very calm. And she had this enormous lightness and softness about her, that she sometimes, but quite rarely has. Also after the music she was like this for a bit.
That was yesterday. This morning I played it again, I was sitting down and she stood above me, with her nose and mouth ‘in my face’, sometimes just breathing, sometimes grooming or exploring me. When she explores me she’d also like to do it with her teeth, just to feel what it feels like, I’m not so eager on that though myself.
I often get what she says to me after a day or two, if ever. Sometimes she gets back to me and demonstrates her message really clearly and then stares at me to make sure I really got it, and when I thank her and tell her I did, she’s satisfied. But sometimes yes, a bit frustrated that I just don’t get it.
Now what I feel about these music sessions is a kind of openness, in relation to Stelling and myself maybe, and an opened door between the horses, the meditative state and art; I’m a writer, and I get the feeling that this is where I should go.
Thank you again, Jini, and sunny greetings from Finland!
How wonderful Sofia! Zorra asked me to get that piece for her about 7 years ago. The first time I played it for her, she stood in front of the speakers, absolutely transfixed and motionless for 30 minutes.
Last summer I felt I should play it for Kaliah. Same response. Just DEEP into it instantly. Even when she got moved off by Aude, she circled back around to come stand right in front of it again until the very end.
I have no idea what it is about that piece of music. I know when they’ve done studies on horses (by mapping biological stress/relaxation response) that horses prefer Classical and Country music. They do not like rock or heavy metal at all – not surprisingly 😉
It will be exciting to see where this exploration goes for you!
That’s so fascinating!
The other horses listened too, but not as attentively and only for a while and then went on with their own stuff.
These four horses have grown up on Northern Iceland, the Vikings brought horses to Iceland and the Icelandic horse has been isolated there ever since, so their said to be saga-horses, the horses of the Nordic Gods. They all grew up on vast areas in big herds with very little contact with humans for four to six years, so they have a lot of the wild and the power of the herd in them, the black gelding I call a mustang (he also has the splash gene that Makah has, that is said to help them cross dimensions), because he feels like it sometimes.
There’s an Icelandic folk song written to the beat of their gate tölt that tells about riding home besides the glaciers and trough the Queen of the Elves´ kingdom when it’s getting dark:
The lyrics in English you can find here if you’re interested:
All the best,
Don’t wanna mess with those elves! lol I’ve read quite a bit about Icelandic horses and they’re certainly a wonderful breed. Thanks so much for those links – so interesting!