When the horses are ready to talk about something they will. We just have to be ready to listen….
Timmy, Risada & I started the New Year with a conversation about bridles. I have been walking my pony out with a Micklem bridle which allows me to attach the lead rope to the top of the nose band, rather than under the chin. It also has side rings so I can change to long reins easily, and it fits snug and comfortably. The top noseband ring works especially well for walking out when you have ponies that like to keep dropping their heads to graze. So, as my goal is to get Risada, and Timmy walking out regularly with me as well, I decided to get them used to the Micklem. I thought it would also be more comfortable for Timmy with his cribbing teeth, in as much there is no pressure put on the top of his nose from the pulling down effect of a rope attached under the chin.
Risada, I knew, was going to be interesting with the bridle, as the last time she had a bridle on was with a bit, until she broke the bridle and I just started riding her bitless in her rope head collar. It worked well so I didn’t bother changing it. The surprise was how much of a conversation Timmy wanted to have………………
The video is quite long, but it shows the twists and turns in the conversation. At one point Timmy tries to pull the head collar off of Risada.
Timmy releases a lot around his mouth and head anxieties. I don’t know how much of this is to do with cribbing, and how much maybe to do with expectations regarding a bridle. I don’t really need to know. That is just human curiosity!
The only time Timmy cribbed in this entire session was when I was putting the bridle on him. After that we just spent a lot of time moving between nipping, mouthing, and trying to remove Risada’s head collar, and going into a deep connection in the present moment which allows Timmy to release his anxieties, and brings the peace of mind with the bridle. Risada is very supportive of Timmy throughout the whole process and at the end Timmy goes off to process and rest.
Risada shows her anxiety about the bridle once in the above video and this video shows how just the two of us have a final conversation. As soon as we find peace of mind with me holding the bridle, we leave it there for the day.
In this process I am using the Trust Technique Present Moment to bring peace to whatever arises, so this place of peace is where we all want to be. My only expectation regarding this session was to see what happened when I introduced the Micklem to Risada. When I was setting up for this session (getting the bridles etc) I did not have any idea how much Timmy would dive into this session. I was awed by how he seemed to understand what was happening and how ready he was to engage. I was also in awe of how they were very intent on being present and engaged with the process, and not on finding food around the edge of the arena (most of the time). Both the horses helped each other through this and helped me to know when it was enough for the day, i.e. not to push it all too far. Even so the entire session recorded 72 minutes of video including Timmy’s processing.