Today was a big test day. After two days of bodywork I thought I would come prepared to do some work in hand.
Kastani was out on pasture - as far away from me as he could be. Normally he pops his head up and acknowledges me with a nicker. Sometimes he’ll even come and meet me half way. Today he just kept eating. I had to really negotiate with him to pick his head up from the grass long enough to let me put the halter on. Then it was right back to eating. I recognized this as anxiety. But I also wanted to see if we could work through it.
And of course, I have this goal of riding him in two weeks and demonstrating this in an online class. Man, that agenda can sure take over! With camera running I did more assessment, more addressing of what still seems off on his left front (though some better). I decided to try a different bit today. He usually plays a lot with the other one and has a very busy mouth. However, he also usually is markedly more interested in working with me since I started working with the bit. I never thought that would happen!
It’s all on video so I won’t belabor it here.
Suffice to say that Kastani was really annoyed with me. In hindsight I believe he was still processing what had been stirred up by the bodywork and he needed a day to process and digest. He said no out on the pasture and I just pushed my agenda.
After the fact I felt all sorts of a fraud. And I realized, in part, what I think he was conveying is that I did not talk to him about my idea of filming our interactions for this class. I did not include him in the decision making and he was withdrawn by way of trying to let me know he was less than pleased. Kind of along the lines of ‘I’ll participate fully when I’ve been asked properly!’
Of course he’s absolutely right. I don’t know when I will learn this lesson. It’s all fine and dandy to make these decisions but I have to remember that my horses are used to being given a voice and a choice. Sorry buddy.
After getting over the shame attack, the doubt and all the second guessing about what I was doing, I decided to schedule an appointment with Theresa to make sure he’s on board. I’ll talk to her on Monday. Then, I did my own checking in and really included Kastani in the thought process about how to proceed. Thanks to his input I realize I was getting hung up on teaching training technique and forgetting that what I teach now is the dialogue, the conversation, the dance. Phew. Some quick adjustments to course content and we’re off and running again.
I’m always so grateful these guys are so forgiving.