OK, first of all, I’ve been so busy with work that I am once again writing this blog close to my bedtime which is a bad thing. Yesterday I wrote about the Sable Island Horses waaaaaay past my bedtime and when I woke up this morning to re-read the post, I found a gazillion errors. So embarrassing… It was as if I was typing with my toes.
So, sorry that I may put you through that grammar debacle again as you read right now. The good news is that this post will be shorter and hopefully less involved – so I won’t make you wade through sleepy mistrakes indefinately.
(Psst: Go see THE KING’S SPEECH. Great story, fabulous acting jeez just incredible, and I loved the way they colored the film. Very subtle but mood altering, era changing and eye pleasing.)
MY INTERESTING DISCOVERY
Well as you probably all know by now, I had a stoopid horse related accident on SuperBowl Sunday. (If you missed it, here is the link.)
I am much better today, thank you. Amazing how the body heals itself…
Anyway, now that I’m feeling better, I was getting back to my work and blog business when I remembered that I hadn’t written the blog that I had intended to write the very day of my injury. I was going to write about my first day out with Finn after a long winter. I had brought my camera along and took several photos to chronicle our adventure as we meandered about.
Hmmmm. Today, I thought to myself, “I don’t remember downloading those. I’m going to look in my camera and see if they are still there.”
So, I plugged in my camera and set about retrieving those photos so I could finish my endeavor to write about my first trail ride with Finn this year.
This is how I discovered my topic for today…
GROUND YOURSELF BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING WITH HORSES
As I perused my photos of that fateful day preceding my accident, it occurred to me that there were several signs that I was ‘off’ and not my regular, aware self. I realized that I had made several mistakes before the BIG mistake. I noted tack errors, judgment errors, photographic errors – all caught on film! OMG. No wonder. No wonder I got clocked by the lead rope’s bull snap. I was not grounded and not in my body, if you know what I mean…
LET ME EXPLAIN
You always hear that expression, “Be present when with a horse” or “Ground Yourself” and “Where is your body right now?”
Well, I always knew how important the intention of those expressions were – on many levels – but today I clearly saw the ramifications of not being grounded when dealing with an animal (or any person, really).
I mean, understandably, if you aren’t at the party even though your body is standing in the arena, the horse picks up on that. I’m sure the horse probably feels a little disrespected. I would. I hate it when people are distracted or texting when I’m standing in front of them speaking… I’d probably give up and walk away. Same with the horse – if you are lucky. If you are unlucky and riding at the time of your distraction, you could end up in the dirt. Basically, if you aren’t present to be with your horse, they don’t waste their time and they disengage.
Luckily for me on this day, Finn probably sensed that my mind was elsewhere, but he’s kind enough that he didn’t care. We were together doing something fun and that was probably enough.
WHERE DID I GO WRONG?
So back to that fateful day…
I remember being so rushed because I was excited to have a window of time, on a sunny day, that I could go riding. I threw on my riding clothes and grabbed any halter and lead (a reoccurring theme…) and got Finn. I put him in Wrigley’s halter and noted that it was a bit small but aw heck, it’ll do.
Then, I put him in the trailer and flew out of my ranch.
Except that I had forgotten my purse and therefore my phone. Huh? Yup, I left the house without my purse, phone, money, ID etc… So odd. Anyway, as I’m rumbling down the street I realize this and came up with an alternate plan. I didn’t want to ride far away without my purse or phone so I decided to ride at my friend’s ranch. So, I drove there. I should have turned around.
Once we arrived, I brought Finn out and groomed him. But, I was out of practice since I hadn’t groomed from my trailer in a few months – or so I told myself. I kept grabbing the wrong thing and bumping into him and then turning around and bumping into him again… It was like a bad skit. “Oh, excuse me, pardon me, whoops, sorry, oops – again, haha…”
I should have realized that I didn’t have my mojo or rhythm. But I ignored it. I even told myself that I must be out of shape to not be as balanced as I usually am…
Then, I noticed that his halter barely fit. Barely. Yet, I put it on him and put him in the trailer without noticing how really, really small it was and totally inappropriate. Another sign.
I did make the good decision to only do ground work because the wind was kicking up and Finn thinks that is reason to lose his mind… So, we went to the arena and did exercises. He was a very good boy so I took his photo at the end. Except, I actually took a video and had no idea that I had pushed the incorrect button. When I went to find the photo, it wasn’t here. I knew I had taken it… where did it go? And then I noticed the video. I had been in video mode, not photo mode. Uh huh.
Wow. I never do that.
I walked him around to practice walking around. He was fine. I was fine. Except I noted that I walked right past a feed bucket instead of not walking past it. I had the choice but I didn’t do the sensible thing. And, of course, Finn tried to investigate.
When I grazed him, I turned around to take a photo of a very old mare with a bell around her neck and Finn stepped on his reins. Again, something that never happens to me.
Lastly, I again took a video of Finn while he was grazing instead of snapping a photo. And, once again, I didn’t realize my mistake.
So, obviously, there were several clues that I was not present that day. My mind was elsewhere. But, I didn’t heed any of it. Heck, I have 11 horses here, I feed them 2-3 times a day, I work with them constantly and I’ve never had an accident. I’m fine.
Famous last words…
I now realize that my decision to put that lead rope around the mare’s neck exactly as I did and released it so dangerously to have it gain speed and whiz back to snap me in the face — was an accumulation of signs I didn’t notice or heed about myself.
I hadn’t been present all day. My mind was fretting and somewhere else and I thought being with my horse would help me.
But I was wrong.
Sure, being with my horse is relaxing, but I should have just hung out safely until I had my wits about me. I shouldn’t have expected them to break my self-imposed spell.
I should have come to the party prepared.
But, I didn’t and paid the price…
Ground yourself and be present when working with your horses. Make sure you are in a sound frame of mind. And don’t expect your horses to fix you… I’m sure they will try their best, but if you put your hands and feet in the wrong place – or don’t release a rope correctly and it thwacks you – there is nothing your wonderful horse can do for you.
I made my bed that day – for sure.
The good news is that the thing that was distracting me and ruining my rhythm, occupying my mind and keeping me off center – is gone. I resigned from a job that was not good for me.
And it only took a huge WAKE UP thwack to the head, a trip to the ER, 17 stitches and a pint of blood to get my attention… ;)
HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!
February Drop in the Bucket Fund: LEROY, THE WONDERPONY
He was found in a Home Depot parking lot with a huge leg wound. To learn all about the Bucket Fund and to donate towards the care of LeRoy, please click on the photo (photo credit, Trish Lowe)
The trouble is,when you’re not all “there” you don’t know it,because you’re not “there”..
Been “there” — or not all ‘there”..
I really like what Linda’s trainer said about horses judging us. Understanding someone’s energy is a primal, necessary event to animals. We humans tend to loose it, but we do need to be alert. My heart horse was an insecure Arabian, and I once tried an experiment. I let the reins go loose, relaxed my seat, as thought I wasn’t “there.” He spooked at nothing. It showed me that indeed, he wanted to know someone was with him, not just on him. I have an auto immune disorder, and as I get older, sometimes my brain scares me. I have to focus more and remind myself to always be careful, like driving a car, be defensive. Not fearful, just aware, and don’t ever take anything for granted. This article is a good wake up reminder for all of us! Thank you, again! A horsewoman is a horsewoman’s natural ally.
Thanks so much for the reminder…I can definitely relate to your day of “not being grounded”…Thanks for the nudge to be on your toes and alert when doing anything with horses. I’m still healing from a fractured knee, torn ACL, ruptured MCL from a horse falling on me last May…I wasn’t even riding him, just fell over on me…anyway..Hope your healing process is speedy and that you won’t have any long term problems from this….love your blog!.
I so enjoyed The King’s Speech too and highly suggest seeing it. Thank you for this lesson in “grounding”…. excellent advice for every day. I also need to say how much I enjoy your writting. Thank you for sharing your arts! Now….Heal On, Girl !
Also, good to see you’ve progressed to the “yellow” healing phase. The broken blood vessels will obviously take longer.
A good friend, who’s been a horse trainer for over 40 years, reminded me of something recently. She said, “From the moment you come into view, ALL the horses are judging every move you make. The kind and experienced ones (like Finn) will forgive most things, but, no matter how much they trust you, they’ll only tolerate so much.”
I used to volunteer at a local horse rescue, partly because I’ve always loved being around horses , and partly because I needed a place to focus and “leave my troubles at the gate”. Also, I had been away from horses for a number of years, and wanted to get some of my “chops” back.
I did pretty well as long as I was working one-on-one with a horse, but found HUMAN interactions and confusion often caused me and the horse to become distracted. I should have said something when other volunteers boldly walked up to us and started a conversation without a thought to the potential reaction of the horses, who are seldom handled beyond rubs and grooming.
I “un-volunteered” over personal conflicts with the Rescue’s owner, and now I get my “horse fix” by visiting my friend. I sometimes care for her horses when she’s out of town. The first things I asked were her SPECIFIC routine, and the characteristics and quirks of each horse. I wrote everything down on a “cheat sheet” I carry in my pocket.
And I ALWAYS ask her permission or wait for her to invite me in when she’s working with her horses. She knows them so much better than I, and it’s unspoken between us that, for everyone’s safety, she calls the shots.