A few weeks back Risada and I started to get back into understanding how good it is to be in each others close company. I was starting to let go of my fears around being close to her physically. After 18 months of meditative and energetic work releasing fears, I could begin to allow her to have, and express, her defenses when she felt she needed to. We had started to unwind a long twisted rope of anxiety and defense that had built up over 4 -5 years. Risada is a very expressive 14 year old Lusitano mare. She can put her ears back at the drop of a hat, bite and nip, barge straight through you without a care in the world, stamp at you, and has been known to cow kick if she thought it an appropriate behaviour to tell you ‘no’. Many people would have said she was a difficult, troublesome and naughty horse, if not dangerous. I knew somehow that it was me that was the problem. She can feel any anxiety in me and finds it a threat, and thus she reflects this in her behaviour. The video below is a new beginning, after 18 months of very little contact with Risada while I sorted out my anxieties and fears.
After this, and about a week ago, I found Risada resting in the mud and decided to join her for some downtime. We spent about half an hour resting and sharing energy through merging, and this video is a cut of the last few minutes of that conversation. When she got up she chose to come to me for a physical touch, and appreciated the lack of expectations of anything.
Over the last few days I have been inviting an individual horse or pony, whoever wanted to come in, into my hay barn. The purpose is to start to learn how to let go of any expectations, not have an agenda, although the props are there if the energetic merge with the particular horse leads me to put on a head collar, groom, or pick out feet. The session is about helping me to learn to be totally present with my horse. Not allow anything in that distracts from the moment, and to allow the time spent together to just be whatever it turns out to be. The video below is the second session in the hay shelter with Risada. The first session was just about understanding the space that we could be in together. Not only the physical space but the energetic space. The first time both spaces were fairly small. The physical space you can see in the video. The energetic space was small also. It was what was called my safe space. Over the last few days, that space has expanded outwards. Today was an opportunity to encompass Risada into that enlarged space and see where it lead us.
To a number of horse owners, riders and the like, this video will show nothing more than a person managing to get a horse to stand for grooming. It is not difficult to do that. But I prefer to ask the question of the horse – do you want to be groomed? And then respect the answer and groom where they say it is okay. There are two cuts of the same session (which was just over 30 minutes in total) in the video. The first part (after merging energetically) shows Risada acknowledging the grooming brush and requesting a grooming by walking over to me. The second time she looks at me and relaxes her hind leg and stays that way throughout, even turning her head to tell me she loves her back leg being combed.
The beauty of this session is that at no time does she offer defensiveness via an aggressive attitude. She is helping me learn to read her energy, to know when I am in the zone, with her and only her, and in that zone it is okay to ‘do stuff’.
Releasing your expectations of both your horse, and more importantly of yourself, is a difficult thing to do. Handing over responsibility for themselves, to a horse, seems bizarre, but it makes a huge difference to how we can ‘do’ or ‘achieve’. The horse has a choice. I have a choice. Our choice is to work within a space that is ours alone – without distraction, without time limits, without rules. All there is is the present, and within that space …love.