The Tangled Conundrum of Consensual Riding

bridle-DTFollowing on from my book review of Riding On The Power Of Others, Ren Hurst’s story threw me back (again) into the throes of my own tangled journey on this issue of consensual riding.

As Ren so rightly pointed out in her book, if a horse is conditioned to a place of learned helplessness, then what choice does the horse actually have?

And in all my interactions and ‘training’ with my horses, is there ever a time where me saying, “This is the way it has to be, regardless of how you feel” is justified?

How about when we’ve lost our boarding place and we must move to a new place, but the horse refuses to get on the trailer? And I can’t lead her there on foot.

Or how about when there are 2 cars coming from both sides and we need to get off the road right now. And the horse doesn’t want to move just yet? Would I be justified in applying some force in that instance when there is no time for explanation, or softness, or patience? When my sole motivation is to avoid him getting hurt or badly frightened?

Tiah and me (c) Linda Bickerton-Ross
Tiah and me (c) Linda Bickerton-Ross

I encounter situations like this with my dog all the time. Because Tiah comes with me everywhere and we are often in situations where human rules of behaviour (and legality) apply that she doesn’t understand, but I do.

Tiah doesn’t understand why she can’t run up to every human on the road or path and greet them. But I understand that many people are frightened of dogs – some to the point of terror, so that’s not okay. She also doesn’t understand why she can’t explore around our street while I’m loading things into the truck. But she doesn’t know about our neighbour who told my kids to “Keep that dog leashed, or I’ll call the Pound!”

And so yes, in those kinds of situations, Dominance is my middle name. I am the BOSS – not the enlightened leader, but the ‘do as I say’ boss.

I went through similar situations with each of my three children. And I myself am subject to ironclad boundaries for my own behaviour as determined by our legal system. Does that mean that none of us are free? Does that mean that I have broken the trust of every being I’m responsible for; regardless of species?

Or is intention more important than the action?

And what the heck does all of this have to do with riding anyway??

Well, these are the thoughts that swirl around my head when I get to wondering if ANY of my horses are ever going to want to be ridden? And let’s say they don’t. What if every single one of them makes it clear that they don’t like riding with me and they have no desire to get with me in that way. Then what?

Then the terribly disappointed part of me comes out and says: Well, why do I have horses then? Why am I spending thousands of dollars, crap-loads of physical labor, endless hassles with logistics (weather, barn, fencing, dry areas, hoof, teeth, etc. etc.) to have FOUR animals that want to do exactly the same stuff with me that my cats and dog do? WHY don’t I just have cats and dogs then?

Okay, yes, perhaps it would be worth it just to see the gorgeous, powerful, flowing way that horses move. When I can eventually have them at my house, I could look out the window, or sit on the porch and just enjoy watching them. Okay, I could reconcile myself to that. But then why would I need FOUR? Two would be perfectly sufficient and way less work and cost. Note: I don’t even get into which 2 I could conceivably part with, because even theoretical conversations can only go so far!

And yes, I know that Zorra (Andalusian mare, aged 11) likes to be ridden after we get to the park – which switches on her adventure-self. But right now we are not near a park and I don’t have a trailer – assuming she would even want to be trailered to the park, away from her herd, and still find that enjoyable. And…

Once upon a time

Dobbin On Road
Dobbin (white horse) & me riding together

And then I am a tangled ball of frustration. I have a bone-deep longing for my childhood horse Dobbin – who not only loved riding, but would come to the fence and stare piercingly at me while I was playing with a friend. “Let’s go riding!” she would command me. “But I’m in the middle of creating a banquet (out of mud), I’m not done yet” I would reply. “Let’s go NOW” she would insist. So I would sigh and explain to my friend that Dobbin wanted to go for a ride and I would have to meet her later.

Dobbin and I had the same relationship as I did with my human friends. Sometimes she led the way and taught me – and I willingly deferred to her superior knowledge and wisdom. And other times, I told her what was what, and she did what I said. And sometimes I was wrong, and took the consequences – which usually involved me hitting the dirt. But the relationship was not severed, or damaged, as a result of my idiocy or pigheadedness.

jax-yawn2Because in any relationship, we piss each other off from time to time. We cross boundaries, or don’t behave compassionately. And as long as the doofus party owns responsibility and makes reparations, it’s all good at the end of the day. Right?

I could take the position of: Hey, we all have to do things we’re not thrilled about. And we all have to work. So this is your job, step up. That could work. Except that then I wouldn’t enjoy riding! The whole reason I love riding is for the experience of two beings merging into one – the flow of energy, power, adventure, peace, bliss, exploration. Without that, I might as well ride a bicycle. And that oneness can only happen when both beings desire it.

So I have ALL of these thoughts, longings, frustrations whirling around in my head as I head out to the barn today. I’m not in the best state and I don’t really want to have much to do with the herd at this time, so I do the chores instead. Audelina and Jax come over to me a few times to try and interact, but I just give them a quick scratch. Then I throw a bale of alfalfa out in the field so I can fill the slow feeders and hay nets in peace.

Link up with me

I move on to scooping manure from the graveled paddock area when 3-year-old Audelina (one of my 3 semi-feral rescue horses) wanders back in – leaving lots of hay still untouched in the field – and she just stands near me while I scoop. I chat with her a bit and then she moves close to me and knocks the handle of the manure fork away and pretty much instantly goes into meditative state – eyes half-closed, lower lip hanging. So I say, “Okay.”

aude-headI put the manure fork down. I square my heart up to hers and open my heart center/chakra front and back. I bring energy/prana up from the earth, through my legs, tailbone, up my spine and out my head as my breathing deepens. I am connected to her, I am connected to Mother Earth. And I breathe.

Thought packages from her begin to appear in my head: “We 3 have no concept of what riding is or what it feels like. So when you come to us, whatever pictures, or dialogue, or fears, or ideas you hold, will be transmitted to us. So YOU will be solely responsible for what we think about riding and how we feel about it. It is entirely your choice, and up to you.”

I am receiving this, thinking about it, pinging back and forth between the heavy responsibility of it, and the endless open possibilities of it, and the tremendous challenge of it (to not f**k it up)…

Zorra in earlier days
Zorra in earlier days

“It is not the same as with Zorra. Zorra already has a whole set of ideas, and responses, and trauma, and resistance because of how she was treated before. With us, everything is different. All will be determined by you.”

Jeez luh-weeze!! I go back to scooping poop cause now I have a LOT to think about. Audelina wanders back out to eat hay. When I’m finished my chores, I go out to join them in the field – enjoying the (finally!) warmer weather and the fact that parts of the field are actually drying out and no longer in 18 inches of mud.

Consensual snoozing

Soon after I arrive,  2.5-year-old Montaro lies down. I’m feeling a bit chilly, so I go sit against his back to warm up, saying, “Is this okay? Don’t worry, I’ll move if you want to lie on your side.” Jax comes over to nibble at the hay sticking out from underneath Montaro’s body. After a few moments, Montaro starts to move his leg – like he’s thinking about standing up. And I get up, “Oh sorry, don’t get up, I’ll move.” I can tell he didn’t feel comfortable with me there; or perhaps it was too much having both me and Jax close to him.

About 5 minutes later, after 2-year-old Jax has laid down near him, I come over again and sit in the same place, “Is this okay now?” It is only a few seconds before Montaro shifts his weight and starts to move his leg in the same way again. I immediately move away, “Okay, got it, you just don’t like me sitting there.”

jax-montaro-lie-down
Jax, Zorra and Montaro

I walk back over to Audelina and sit down on the ground near her. I pat the ground and make the “come” motion with my fingers, “Come on Aude, come lie down with me.” In a few moments she lies down in front of me. After a few minutes, I get up and move so my lap is underneath her muzzle. She breathes great warm breaths on me and I’m quickly warm and toasty.

Zorra is still standing and I say to her, “It’s okay if you want to lie down Zo, I’ll keep watch.” A few minutes later, Zorra lies down to the right of me and Tiah curls up behind Aude. I notice we are all in a circle of snooziness.

Aude slips deeper and deeper into sleep until her muzzle is mashed into the ground, with her lips squashed off to the sides and her teeth right on the earth. She then starts neighing in her dream! Oh what delight. Montaro is wheezing and farting, Zorra is groaning, Jax is farting and Aude is neighing. Aude then rolls over onto her side, stretching out flat with a sigh and a fart. I think to myself, “Someday I will need to video this just to capture the sounds they make!” I hum peacefully to myself, as they all lie flat out on their sides in our circle of dreamtime.

aude-lie-down-jiniI wonder if it would be okay for me to scooch over and lean against Aude’s chest while she sleeps. So I stroke her as I move closer. But the second she feels me lean back against her chest, her head pops up and she rolls up onto her side again – looking surprised and alarmed.

“Oh sorry, Aude, sorry darling,” I say as I stroke her, “I didn’t mean to scare you.” Dolt, I think to myself, of course that would freak her out. WHEN does anything come and lie against her chest, between her neck and legs, while she’s in a deep sleep? Der!

I move back to my spot at her head and I say, “It’s okay, I won’t try that again, you can go back to sleep.” And after a few moments, she lies back down flat again.

The dance of reciprocity

It’s not until I’m leaving the field, walking back to my truck that it hits me: THAT is all I have to do with the invitation to ride together!

They have already shown me today (and at numerous other times) that they trust me implicitly. And I did unpleasant and even scary things to 2 of them. But as soon as I realized they didn’t like it, I stopped and apologized. And they forgave me instantly and went back to complete trust and relaxation. No trauma. No guarding, or armoring, or dissociation, or learned helplessness, no negativity of any kind!

AND that also doesn’t mean that Montaro will never want me to snuggle against his back, or that Aude will always be alarmed when I lean against her chest. One or both of them might actually enjoy that the next time I try – because they will know what I’m doing, it won’t come as a surprise, and they also know that I will move away the second they signal me to.

Zorra and me (c) LInda Bickerton-Ross
Zorra and me (c) LInda Bickerton-Ross

I realize that’s what I’ve already been doing with them in our 5-Minute fun learning sessions. And Aude gave me the missing piece in our paddock meditation: the importance of me being in the right mindset and energy as I introduce them to the pleasures of riding (eventually – we are about 3-4 years away from their bones being hard enough). To leave all worry and second-guessing at home and only come with pictures and thoughts that I want to transmit to them.

I feel lightened. I feel hopeful. I feel a whole world of possibility opening before me. I GET TO CHOOSE a lot of the components of how they feel about me on their back, based on how I behave, think, feel, and how I respond to their thoughts and feelings. Whether they experience riding as a positive, or negative thing, is up to me and how well I dance with them in the reciprocity of intimate, trusting relationship.

At this point, who knows what that will look like? Or how long it will take (probably very different for each one)? And what quirks and preferences each of them will have? And how long, or how often they will want to ride? And where will they want to go – maybe one will only want to ride around at home, maybe for only 5 minutes at a time, maybe one of them will never want to get with me in that way, maybe another will love long trail rides, or mountain excursions? Who knows? And what an endlessly stimulating journey of exploration we have ahead of us…

Imagine, one of them might actually prefer to be ridden with a saddle – now that would blow my mind! I really don’t like saddles, but I would be willing to adapt for their sake. I wonder what they will decide to get used to for my sake?

I’m not the only one…

Just as I am bringing this post to a close, Kesia shoots me over this video that follows trainer Elsa Sinclair on a very similar journey – with a wild mustang, no ropes/halter/quirt/arena, nothing other than body language, as she seeks to answer the question: If a wild horse has complete freedom of choice, would she ever choose to be ridden?

And because the universe is a serendipitous place, I also joined Elsa this summer, for a one-week workshop at Equinisity on “reading and communicating using body language and the interplay of leadership skills that develop conversation between horses and humans”.

You can read my review of Elsa’s Taming Wild documentary here.

zorra-aude
Audelina and Zorra in their fluffy winter coats
The Tangled Conundrum of Consensual Riding

26 thoughts on “The Tangled Conundrum of Consensual Riding

  • April 22, 2016 at 3:20 am
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    Enjoyed reading that very much…thankyou…my husband and I feel very much the same way with our 3 Arab boys..there is soooo much more to keeping horse friends, than just riding…..:-)

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    • April 22, 2016 at 10:28 am
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      Ooooh Arabs – and they are SO sensitive and super intelligent. Dobbin was half arab, half morgan. And Jax is half arab, half belgian. LOVE the breed. Post a link to some pics of your boys if you can… would love to see them!

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  • April 22, 2016 at 6:46 pm
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    Amazing picture of Jax’s yawn! And amazing discussion again of the hard-to-discuss, the convoluted feelings, theories and ideas that we all encounter as we seek honest relationship with…well, anyone! Here’s to the mess and discovery.

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    • April 22, 2016 at 7:08 pm
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      Zara took it! He had just gotten up from his nap and came over to the gate to see her – stretching and yawning as he went. Working on an EFT Tapping video right now for horses who experienced scarcity of food, comfort, love and the resulting trauma – after Audelina gave me a window into her past as she pulled manure-covered hay out of the manure pile and chewed/ate it looking at me intensely the whole time. Oh… I get it. Of course there was plenty of fresh hay in the feeder 2 feet away, but she was sending me pictures of how bad it was.

      Of course it was!! She was a skeleton when I met her – AFTER one month on free-choice loose hay. Then the day before, Katie Hess, who creates flower essences was out and asked Aude which one she liked and she went right for the LOVE blend and stood motionless, breathing it in with eyes half closed. Later, she sought Katie out again and nuzzled the pocket containing THAT blend. So Katie put some more on her arm, held it out, and Aude once more went into a trance-like state as she just breathed it in for several minutes. Video’s coming… xo

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      • April 25, 2016 at 11:17 am
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        Very interested in this. My pony experienced scarcity of food and I am still trying to help him release his past trauma. It is proving quite difficult and even though he has ad lib hay and is never hungry now, he is still obsessed with food and convinced that I am going to try to deprive him. Flower essences and essential oils help as does mindfulness but I am still trying to get him to let go.

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        • April 25, 2016 at 11:28 am
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          Claire – I am absolutely REELING from what you have written!! Let me explain: I am currently editing an EFT Tapping video I did for my herd on… scarcity of food! And it was inspired by a visit from Katie Hess of LotusWei.com who produces… flower essences!! ohmygosh – when you see the video you will be amazed at the synchronicity here! I will be SO interested to hear what happens after you do the Tapping for your pony. I have done the video so that anyone can tap along for their horse. It’s coming out on Saturday morning – if you’re subscribed to the blog you’ll automatically be notified. xo

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      • April 25, 2016 at 11:31 pm
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        Well, Aude picking anything that says LOVE on it doesn’t surprise me at all… Sweet girl. After seeing her before pictures I can imagine she’s had some rough times. Can’t wait to see the video!

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  • April 23, 2016 at 5:55 am
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    Loved this post. It reflects many of my own experiences with my horses. I have one mare, Kami, who is very clear about what she does and does not want to do with me. She loves doing tricks and playing at Liberty. She will consistently leave her herd, leave her food, to do either. Starting a few months ago, she announced that rather than carry me, she prefers to have me ride one of the other horses and come along at Liberty with us. So…. I pony her out to the trail head, take off the line and Kami leads us, follows us, dances with us for a while at Liberty in perfect synch, leaves to explore, canters back and smiles up at me again. It is utterly magical. 260 acres of meadows, spring grass, hills, woods, wild life and she shares it with us. And that one time out of 4 when she sees the saddle out and walks through the paddock gate and stands at Liberty next to it? That is truly magical as well, because she has asked me to ride her.

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    • April 23, 2016 at 12:28 pm
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      Wow wow wow! That is so fantastic. All of it. That you are able to listen/respond like that. That Kami (and no doubt your other horses) are able to communicate like that. And that you have SUCH an amazing ranch!! So much of what I’m teaching my horses right now is so that we can go out in public spaces – where there are other people, crazy dogs, crazy horses, etc. Being able to do what you’re doing is the true definition of Liberty! Thank you so much for sharing that with us Jackie.

      And on a completely separate note: How much rain do you get in White City area? And are your horses able to eat free choice/range, or is the grass too rich/sweet like it is up here?

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      • April 23, 2016 at 1:38 pm
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        If you would like a visual of what I am doing, here is a short video of Kami on a trail ride with us yesterday. https://youtu.be/-LkL9qq7HSM Kami is teaching me so much. Control is an illusion. In that big a space, with that many distractions, what keeps Kami with us and coming back to us is not training, it is joy and love. I started out a little concerned when she left me and found that my concern seemed to drive her away. I thought to keep her with me longer than she felt right in that moment and that didn’t work either. What strengthens the bond is joyous admiration of her as she gallops off, joyous welcome when she returns, and joyous gratitude when she synchs up with us. It truly is magical and is making me reconsider all I thought I knew about horses.

        We get around 22 inches normal years, but this year, we have had 36 inches of rain. The horses are dry lotted on out 200 x 70 foot paddock and 200 x 66 foot arena in the wet season and we work up to having them out full time on the grass. We start at 20 minutes a day for 3 days, then 30 minutes for 3 days, etc. Currently, they have pasture 12 hours a day, dry lot with hay the other 12. They run together in the pasture and in the large paddock or arena. Two horses who have foundered in the past wear grazing muzzles.

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        • April 23, 2016 at 7:23 pm
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          I love that insight, “my concern seemed to drive her away”. And the importance of timing – as horses are SO much about FEEL. They are already in FLOW and when we can connect into that flow of energy, as you said, truly magical things happen. And “joyous admiration” is a great way to put it. That is exactly what happens when I see my horses in joyous expression of their magnificence. Like when I watch a superlative dancer. Something in my own core rises up to glory in the brilliance of their expression. I think that’s a big part of the reason humans are so captivated by horses.

          Thank you for the video link – the shots of Mystic against the rose bushes are stunning! And a truly wonderful ranch you have. And thanks for the details on your set-up. It’s always good to hear how other people are managing the logistics. I’ve got my four on about 10 acres of woods/grass right now. But there’s lots of inedible plant life so I’m hoping they won’t get too much high-sugar grass and I’ll be able to let them free-roam all summer. I’ve got the feeders in the paddock/barn area filled with low-sugar hay and hoping that will be okay. We’ll see. But if not, I’ll have to put in a walking track system (Paddock Paradise) for the summer – fingers crossed!

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    • April 23, 2016 at 7:10 pm
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      Glad you enjoyed it Melanie!

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  • April 23, 2016 at 2:11 pm
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    heartwarming Jini…..love your ideas.

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    • April 23, 2016 at 7:10 pm
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      Love right back atcha Sandi!

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  • April 25, 2016 at 8:05 am
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    Lovely post, and so happy to find others who are exploring this concept of “consensual riding”. I bought my Arab/Percheron gelding Maven just about two years ago and have ridden him very little, before finally deciding to let that part of it go until I’m sure that he’s agreed to it. In the mean time, we are developing a wonderful friendship and trust, but there are still blocks that need to come down between us. I spend some time with him at liberty every day, and this generally involves mutual grooming next to the mounting block. He loves this time together, but he will move away when I begin mounting, or he’ll turn his head and mouth my pant leg. I “tell” him that he’s welcome to express that he’s not ready, and that when he is ready, he can let me know that by standing nice and still so I can get on safely and comfortably. He is a former dressage horse who has was previously ridden in some very constraining devices and painful bits. I think he still has a lot of concern about riding because of these experiences. I’m mostly trying to convey to him that I notice and care about his comfort and suggest to him that if he allows me to ride him, he will not feel that pain. So far he has said “no thank you”. I hope someday he’ll say “ok, let’s try”. I’m exploring some energetic healing to try to help him move forward from past trauma and using positive reinforcement to work on building a shared vocabulary.

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    • April 25, 2016 at 11:48 am
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      Oh Leila, I had a brief look round your site and this quote (from Maven – Part 2) is simply MAGNIFICENT:

      “I also realised that I too would lose something in the process of training him: Training him would require that I suppress that 11-year-old girl who I wrote about in Part One. Maven is the one who has reintroduced me to that girl, and I am so very happy to have found her again. To train Maven, I would have to become more pragmatic, I would have to be more critical and judgmental. I would have to see him as a collection of problems to be solved, rather than the unravelling spool of miracles that goes prancing past my window every day. I would have to assert myself over him. I would have to impose limits on his self-expression and convince us both that this is in our best interest. In order to train this horse, I would have to quiet the butterflies that he has released in my own heart. And who would want that besides old people and assholes?”

      LOVE. LOVE. LOVE.

      The very first time I got on Zorra with reins attached to her halter, her neck went rigid and rock-hard. I was only sitting on her and had not asked her to do anything. So I put my hand on her rock-hard neck arch and asked, “What’s going on here, why is your neck doing this?” And she flashed me a picture of being ridden Dressage with her neck cranked in – her neck muscles were actually spasming/cramping – which was tremendously painful – but any attempt to stretch the cramp resulted in terrible pain to her mouth. At the same time, her rider was digging her relentlessly with her heels. I had my equine chiropractor check her sides – without telling her why – and sure enough, she found old thickened (scar-type) tissue right where the rider’s heels would have been. Now this is a horse that was only ridden 2-3x/week for about 3 months TOTAL. And it caused that much trauma and she was still holding it – even though she hadn’t been ridden at all for about 4 years when I got her. It’s a Healing Journey for sure!

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  • April 25, 2016 at 10:27 am
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    I needed this! I have been turning this thought over and over in my head, struggling with possible answers and really not getting anywhere. All along the answer was simple, standing in front of me on four hooves. My oldest mare has said no, she will share with me her company, bravely offer up her trust in me, but makes it very clear being ridden will always feel like asking too much. My second mare says yes-be with me, talk with me, show me everything! She says it in the way she begs me to pick her first, puts her in the halter without being asked, and relaxes her back as i ride and continue our conversation. She is happy to try, yet complety open and feels safe enough to tell me no to some questions with a detetmined head toss or a nip on my foot. And so i know the answer will always be given, if you are honest enough to ask and listen. Thank you for this nit of clarity!

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    • April 25, 2016 at 11:32 am
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      You’re welcome Wendy! My daughter had an older horse (until she was retired on range land) and she had been a trail horse at children’s camps. By the time we got her (at 19) she was DONE! She simply did not want to be ridden anymore and she made it clear that she had done her time and now was finished. She was fine with my daughter riding her on trails for half hour or so and sitting on her while she ate grass, but that’s it. As you said, “if you are honest enough to ask and listen.”

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  • April 25, 2016 at 10:38 pm
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    This is awesome! I have been trying to figure out my 16 yr. old TWH gelding since I got him 2 1/2 yrs. ago. I am his 5th owner from what I can figure out from his papers. I don’t know who owned him before me as the kid I bought him from only had him 2 months and couldn’t remember the ladies name he bought him from! Sad, huh? Well, I told Kajin,( I renamed him-formally known as “Dusty”) “I am the last person that will sell you away so we are in this relationship till the end of the rainbow”. It has taken a long time to gain his trust but he knows now, I will never hurt him. He used to try to bite me at the mounting block. I have had chiro, massage, saddle fit, teeth, etc. done. I ride in halter and reins or a Myler comfort snaffle. He has finally quit biting and moving away from the block while I mount even tho I am 61 and not very graceful swinging the ol’ leg over a 16 hand horse! He waits patiently for me to work that leg over, then he is walking briskly off! I’m still struggling to “hear” what he is telling me about my riding, but we have really come a long way in the short time I’ve had him. Taking it slow and easy cause all we have is time..

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    • April 26, 2016 at 11:19 pm
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      Yes, that’s the ongoing challenge, but also the delight, to truly listen to our horses and hear what they are saying – with as little of our own bias as we can manage. And love his new name!

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  • April 28, 2016 at 3:21 am
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    Well thank you so much for your article.
    I came home from my horses tonight with a lingering feeling that I didn’t have much more time than to say hello and feed., and I really should be doing something “more”
    I have two ex racehorses, Ne more traumatised than the other, and I’m just allowing him to “be”, which he tells me is enough for now.
    I was so happy tonight when he actually picked up his feet for me so that I could pick them, he is transitioning to barefoot.. When I first got him I couldn’t touch his legs. He also at times does not want to lead, just stops and chills, up to 15 minutes before he moves a muscle, he is relaxed the whole time. He tells me he is enjoying being in charge of his own feet for the first time in his life.
    My other younger boy I’ve had for 7 months. He told me last time I rode that he was really unhappy with the bit. I’m having a bitless bridle made for him.
    I’m determined to be in partnership with them, and I really try not to go the the field with a set agenda. It’s different but incredibly rewarding.

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    • April 28, 2016 at 11:32 am
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      Very cool. This really sticks with me: “enjoying being in charge of his own feet for the first time in his life”. Profound – on many levels! And yes, when you do the 5-Minute Fun collaborative learning thing, you really DO spend a lot of time just hanging out! But, when you pull back and take a 1-year overview, the horse has probably learned just as much (if not more) than in scheduled 30-60 minute training sessions. And the most important thing – from my perspective – is that the horse WANTS to learn, wants to make his world bigger, stays fully engaged in relationship and trusts you to the bone. In case you missed that post, here it is: https://www.listentoyourhorse.com/5-minute-fun-equine-collaborative-learning-method/
      I look forward to hearing more about your 2 lads!

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  • April 28, 2016 at 12:09 pm
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    I am really enjoying reading all the posts about different people being in partnership with their horses rather than dominating them. I don’t have any like minded people to discuss with and so it is quite inspiring to read about other people’s ideas. I try to always truly listen to my horses and if that means that they don’t want to be ridden at the moment then that is the way it is. People don’t always understand this and think I am being daft but one day I will achieve total partnership with my horses and it will because they want to do it with me and not because they feel they have to.

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    • April 28, 2016 at 12:28 pm
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      I agree Clare! Geographically those of us who are primarily seeking the intimacy of trust seem few and far between. But when I published my “Horses As Pets – Why Not?” post I realized that there are actually many of us! And many of us who are feeling our way along, knowing there’s something more and following that yearning. Here’s that post as the comments underneath are likewise really heartwarming – lots of like-minded people!: https://www.listentoyourhorse.com/horses-as-pets-why-not/

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