Day 3: Moving Energy and Bumping Edges of Comfort Zones


Rio Day 3

Morning check in:

Rio indicates he’s been waiting for me and that yesterday was intense. Agreed!

I ask him what he wants to share with me about that?

He shows me his diaphragm – I feel butterflies in my stomach – a lot of tension in fascia along the ventral edge of the diaphragm. Feel fear radiate through the viscera – heart, lungs, throat. As that moves through I try checking in with his kidneys since he wouldn’t let me touch them yesterday in the physical.

I feel his kidney area as a big blank, it feels walled off – I ask what’s organizing this pattern?

I hear/feel, protection – he says: ‘ I was not allowed to express my fears.’ He’s afraid he’ll get hurt (as in both his heart and his body through punishment). Huge wave of fear moves through his topline (under spine). Releases through the withers into top of neck. Big release through his lower back into sacrum. A feeling of letting down his guard. Lots of reassurance I’s jus him and me from now on – I won’t ask anyone else’s opinion.

Afternoon session:

He was happy to be haltered and followed me through the gate but then tried to drag me off to investigate before I had the gate closed. We had to negotiate about that and it took a moment for him to change his mind and come back to me. He really wanted to go explore in other directions today but I had limited time and really wanted him to get to move his energy more dramatically.

I explained that to him and he followed me after a moment’s hesitation. He then followed along well through the arena gate where we had to navigate through Merlin and Smokey who really wanted to visit. I moved them off enough to get through and then asked Rio to hurry up and come along so we didn’t end up with too much drama. Since I didn’t pay those two any mind they moved off and ignored us.

Rio, meanwhile trotted while I jogged for the square pen that serves as our container when I want to work at liberty and not run a mile!

I was video taping for a piece I’ve been asked to contribute to an online classroom. I was trying to catch video showing how our posture influences communication. So I played around with a few ideas with Rio and he was brilliant on the halter and lead following me flawlessly. Then I decided to let him nibble grass along the edges to show how to get a horse to pick their head up and follow me from body language alone. He was super forgiving, just very interested to be with me which was very cool so I decided to abandon the online classroom stuff and do our own thing, continuing on from where we left off in our morning session. With that I turned him loose in the pen.

By the time I had the camera situated he had wandered off and was fully intent on nibbling bits of green along the edges of the paddock. I video-taped the session so I won’t go into detail here but we had a lot of fun.

Things I noticed during the session that I want to remember:

  • He was clearly more comfortable traveling left that right

  • I see a lot of tension in his shoulders

  • He expressed a lot of energy and yet was always ready and willing to come back to me and be quiet. I love it when a horse can bring their energy up and come back down!

  • I did not feel the inner turmoil and nervousness I’ve felt in him in the past

  • He did not run away from the bridle today and with a little cheering him on was willing to give it a try.

  • What he did in hand was brilliant, beyond brilliant – I couldn’t be happier

The only place I felt slight trepidation was on the way back to the paddock when I asked him to line him up beside the log where I mount in the arena. He clearly wanted to be sure I knew he wasn’t ready for me to climb on in that moment. I assured him I had no intention of getting on. He did walk up and stand, and when I stood on the log above him I felt a moment of worry – like he expected me to get greedy. I felt his anxiety and just touched his neck and his back with reverence. And let that be enough for today. I just love this horse!