Blog 8 May 24 2018
With Rhett haltered, I was asking questions daily like can you yield your head, shoulders or hindquarters if I apply my hand? Can you follow a feel of pressure?” “Nope, I can’t yield that to you, you haven’t earned it…what right do you ‘have’ to it?” Rhett said to me. “I know you can do it, I did it with you in TN”. “You are just beginning conversations with me, why do you go so deep into our language when you are just beginning to hear?” “What on earth is he talking about, deep into our language? I was just asking him to move his butt over.” I thought outloud!
“Have” is an interesting word. All definitions fit in the questions I am asking Rhett – no, wait…that we are asking each other. We don’t know each other at all. We are learning to learn how to ‘know each other’ ! (Learning, Language and Life Lesson)
When you don’t have a great history of a horse and what that horse knows, somebody has to ‘ask those questions’ . What do you know horse? More importantly, what are ‘those questions’ that I need to know the answer to? Respectively, we didn’t have a history of either of us except what we’d been ‘told’!
The one question I knew I didn’t need to ask any longer was “Rhett, are you confident?” In his ‘home environment’ in TN at the fosters, he had a confident ‘air’ to him, but it was a false sense of confidence.
For the first 2+ weeks after I got him home, I allowed him to be a horse, to live like a horse in a herd and be challenged by the rules and social hierarchy of the herd, which really meant Sage’s rules. The herd was providing him feedback, reviews, discussion, or conversation – invaluable information for our future conversations! (Learning Lesson)
From a mentor, I heard of a 10 day “Horse Development” Clinic featuring a Cowboy trainer who raised Iberian crosses and had a similar natural horsemanship philosophy as mine. This sounded perfect for Rhett and I to attend, 10 days with a professional who know the questions and can ‘ask all those questions’ of him. After all, he is a ‘professional’ so he knows a ton more than I do about rehabbing/restarting/starting a horse. I’ll just need to add the love for the rescue part after the Cowboy has ‘asked all the questions’ of him. (Learning Lesson)
In order for me to take Rhett to this 10 day clinic, I would need to get him in the trailer to travel about 7+ hours. This trip was to take place about 7 weeks after I brought him home, but since I allowed him to find his place in the herd, begin to adapt to his new environment and learn a bit about the rules and boundaries of the barn, I was down to 4.5 weeks. Time to start trailer loading practice again.
This was our first day readdressing the trailer and as you can see by his wet coat, he could not keep his feet still…..so very emotional. Rhett didn’t even know Koda and I were in the area after our trailer loading practice which consisted of just trying to get him to put his nose ON the trailer. The lack of emotional control at liberty wasn’t surprising. Rhett’s ‘conflict arousal’ system (Fear) was functioning at very high levels. (Learning Lesson of science I didn’t even know about yet).
I could see that I was getting nowhere fast with trailer loading. Every practice session he ran, he backed up, he laid down or he reared and flipped over. Over and Over. The Definition of Insanity, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. (Life Lesson)
Everyday, we played with getting day in and day out as far as his comfort zone allowed! It seemed to be a huge case of claustrophobia along with many other things/attributes. Thank goodness a friend offered her larger interior 2 horse stock trailer for me to try. I took mine to her place, picked hers up and brought it home to play with. It was a smidge easier for him to put his front feet in but that was as far as we got.
I had about 1 week left before we left for the 10 day clinic.
With Rhett haltered, I was asking questions daily like can you yield your head, shoulders or hindquarters if I apply my hand? Can you follow a feel of pressure?” “Nope, I can’t yield that to you, you haven’t earned it….what right do you ‘have’ to it?” Rhett said to me. “I know you can do it, I did it with you in TN”. “You are just beginning conversations with me, why do you go so deep into our language when you are just beginning to hear?” “What on earth is he talking about, deep into our language? I was just asking him to move his butt over.” I thought outloud.
All the plans were made, I had registered and paid my clinic fee and arranged to stay with a friend who was also auditing. Rhett was to have a larger paddock so he didn’t have to try and stay in a smaller stall/pen space. I had all my refueling and ‘potty locations’ mapped out for the least amount of stopping over the 7+ hr trip. We were ready!!!
Well, we were sorta ready. The morning of our departure, it took 3 of us, just as it did in TN , to get him in the trailer and that was after he flipped over 2 or 3 times, cut his head and his eye on the gravel and just finally gave up and got in after about 3 hrs.
But he didn’t really give up and get in. ‘Getting in’ was the first conversation we had ‘mind to mind’. This was the first real communication in the 7 weeks we had been together. It was unlike ANYTHING I had ever experienced. Little did I know how very much this ‘rescue horse’ had to show me, to teach me, to empower me, and to create the abilities to begin to find both our authentic selves. (Language, Learning and Life Lessons)
We were on the road and our Adventure Day Trip begins…
Next: “The Cowboy and the Questions…”
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