It’s so interesting. With the close of the two week short course, hence no more obligation to film and write about sessions with Kastani, I found myself making excuses not to go work with him. And it’s not that I didn’t have a blast working with him and getting as far as we did. So what’s up? As usual, this journey of working with my own horse is all about me, not him!
Saturday I was just plain tired. I had to admit it. I had a million things to do and just had to admit defeat. It was too hot, too fast. First day with no company and no obligations in a very long time. I just reveled in the pajama day atmosphere and allowed myself to rest. Nothing at all wrong with that.
Sunday I got out there a little late again. I am mowing weeds and doing major outside clean up for the clinic here this weekend and that took priority. That weed machine is heavy duty though and I so I quit before I was too tired to stand and determined to go get Kastani.
The conversation that was running in my head went something along the lines of this:
“you know you have a lot to do today. You really should just skip working with horses and go get computer work done. It’s not like you’re getting paid to spend time with this horse.’
And there was/is the crux of the matter for me. I have always been in a position where I had to prioritize my time focusing on the things that generate income so that I can feed and care for my horses, my property and myself. That is the highest priority and so my personal horses are always on the back burner. I had not realized how pervasive this belief is until now. So despite being rather played out from being vibrated inside out for the last 40 minutes I decided to take my rubbery legs and arms and go grab Kastani.
He did give me that look yesterday, like why are you here? You need to rest. I didn’t have my phone with me so no music which meant I had to dig even deeper to find my internal energy and drive that Kastani is happy to follow. He had me stand with him for a while and just be. I love when he does that for me. I did a little massage out there in the pasture (gelding scar area was warm today) and then he allowed for the halter and followed me in. Trimmed his hind feet. Brief session in hand because that’s all I had energy for.
But, it felt good to actually make time for myself and my horses. Gin and Aero both got a good grooming and coconut oil smeared on all their itchy spots.
So this morning I was determined to find a balance and get my clean up work done and still do something with my horses. I got smart this time and started with the horses. Trimmed Huey’s front feet, groomed him and led him around a bit. He still pivots every time her turns so I did some bodywork to free up his low back. Plan to pick another horse to commit to practice with each day not that Kastani is taking so little time to connect with! Maybe it will be Huey.
Kastani was there waiting for me. They are in dry lot for a few days to manage weight and let the grass grow a bit. Not happy horses!
Today I decided to turn Kastani loose in our little work space and see how he moved on his own. So fascinating! He was much more willing to go out and move on his own than the last time and far more responsive to my energy and intention. He had some lovely trot and looks fantastic in motion! Temperatures on the rise so put the bridle on and did a few minutes of in hand and then jumped on my ‘mounting tub’ and waited for Kastani to come join me.
I could feel him hesitate - the sense being - that loose trot work got him quite warm and he was concerned I might want to do more than he had energy for. Fair enough. I sure know the feeling having skipped riding the day before for lack of energy. I silently assured him that I recognized the heat factor and I didn’t have much energy either. It just seems important for both of us that we keep building on what we have so we don’t take steps back. He seemed to agree and walked over, lining himself up.
He is such a saint about me mounting! The muck tub was a bit squishy from being in the sun so again it wasn’t the most graceful mount. That and my arms felt like rubber again - weed machine and hoof trimming - sigh. Once on today he walked right off on a loose rein before I was really settled. I’m taking this as a good sign that he’s feeling more comfortable with me on his back. and that I’m also feeling more comfortable. I’m slowly finding my equilibrium up there - such an interesting balance practice!
Today he spent a lot more time in motion and had a lot fewer poke into the bit and stop episodes. He’s finding a way to be connected to me, carry me, and respond to me while moving freely forward. The feeling was pretty incredible a few times. His back loose and free and this sense of energetic impulsion that the first time he offered it up took me off guard and my body reacted by grabbing the reins to slow him down. Oops. My apologies - we stopped and I had to acknowledge and flat explained out loud to him what had happened. Old fear response in my body that just took over. I had to sit and breathe for a few minutes and then we tried again.
He is so forward and free it’s both liberating and slightly terrifying. I realize there’s this part of me that fears the loss of control. This smaller space is such a great container for me! A little at a time I’m finding my balance sitting on this forward, athletic being. It’s a lot to keep up with and not block and I can only do it a little at a time. He can only be so free and energetic a little at a time. Maybe ten or fifteen minutes is all I spent on his back today but oh how wonderful those ten minutes felt and yet more learning for me!