Sunday, July 11, 2010

Meeting you where you need to be met... only you are a horse. Part Two

So what I was trying to say last night about working with Doc is that it occurred to me that he's not any different than a person. I mean, there is horse language, body language, but in the end, someone hurt him, and we don't know how.

He is wary, untrusting, and has been trained to be afraid by someone who handled him poorly. I think we can all relate to that. Anyone who has ever trusted and had their heart broken knows what it is like to become wary.

So it feels to me like even though I think I know what would be good for Doc, I can't force him to take it. I can't bully him into accepting my guidance, or my love, I can't tie him up and force him to pick up his feet. I mean, I could, but I don't think we'd get anywhere in the long run.

I feel like my job here is to meet Doc where he needs to be met, and then ask just a little bit of him, give him more, and then ask a little more, so that he wants to come to me. So that him giving me his feet is where he needs to be met eventually.

This reminds me of working with a ski client, or a massage client. They've come for something, they want some help to ski more challenging terrain, or do a better job skiing it, or they want their bodies to let go, they want some help to ask their body to let go. But I can't just force them to take what I think is the best for them.

To be succesfull, I need to listen somehow to where they need to be met. I need to look for the heart piece or the head piece that is keeping them from becoming and hold that space for them gently, while they take a step toward me. And then its my job again to say thank you for their trust by listening to the new space they are in, and meeting them there.

I'm off to the stables, I'm so excited to do a good job with Doc that I had dreams of picking up his feet and riding him bareback. But that's where I'd like to be met, not where he needs to be met. So we'll probably just go for a walk and eat some carrots today.

The next step is to reinforce "come", see if it stuck, and work on touching him all over his body, being able to crawl under him and lean on his backside, get under his tail and down all his legs while he stands happily, untied. We've got head, ears, eyes, neck and chest so far.

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