The horse's pasture to the East...

Friday, August 6, 2010


I spent a good part of the night last night, laying there in the dark, trying to figure out what "doing the opposite" is when Parelli is already the opposite. Quite a question to ponder. I know while I tossed and turned I was also smiling like a loon. Most of what I do cracks me up because I make such a big deal of the simplest things. I'm nearly always in a constant state of BFO (blinding flash of the obvious, for you less BLOG savvy people). I'm surprised I don't have bruises on my forehead from slapping myself so often!
When I go down to the barn in the morning, I always do the same thing. I walk around the corner of the shed, up to the gate and greet the guys with a horseman's handshake. Then I clean and fill buckets (trying to remember to prioritise...water is always first), pick up feed bowls, fix grain, they go to their places to eat, clean and so on. But this morning was an opposite morning.
To get myself ready I walked backwards into the kitchen and said " nhoJ, gninrom." He never missed a beat. Kept right on fixing his coffee and just smiled. It's hard to blow his socks off when you've been together for 38 years. sigh... That's OK. I'm just trying to prioritise.
When I walked around the end of the shed, the guys had just gone back out into the pasture. Lucky saw me first and swung around to come back. He does love his grain! Usually, when I open up the gate to the outside, I always put up the ropes as a temporary fence since we have no fencing around the edges of the property, up next to the road. But this morning I opened the gate as Lucky came up WITHOUT putting up the ropes. Whaaaaaatttttt?
He was so surprised that he stopped...wouldn't step over the gate line. He looked at me, then at the place where the ropes hang, waiting to be put up. "Did you forget something?" I just smiled and said "Morning Lucky." (nooooo, I didn't talk or walk backwards. But maybe I should have?) and I waited until Apache came trotting up and did the handshake with me too. He was as surprised as Lucky was!
Both of them walked over to the place where the ropes go up and looked at it, stood there waiting. I walked over, taking time to scritch them on their whithers, and unwound the ropes and tied them to the fence opposite while they stood there watching, sniffing the ropes laid out on the ground, fascinated! How interesting!
Then I turned to look at them and went off across the pasture for a walk. "HUH?" No cleaning? No grain? They stood there, watching, and then (oh this was so EXACTLY what I wanted!), they swung in next to me and we all sauntered out into the pasture. We walked out to the top of their hill and stopped. They started to graze and I stood there for a while, enjoying the sun as it came up. Oh my. I'd forgotten how perfectly pretty and quiet it was in the mornings.
I turned, after a while, and wandered back to the barn to do my chores. When everything was ready...fresh bedding (our stalls are always opened to the paddock and pasture so they can come and go), fresh cold water, crunchy hay and grain mixed...I went to get one of the lawn chairs and sat down. I DID NOTHING. That definitely got their attention. I'm nearly always doing something. I fix things. I clean things. I organize things. I set up for 'play time'. I groom them and pick hooves. We play. I mow. I weed. I rake. You know the drill. It takes a lot of non horse effort to have a nice place for your horses!
But this morning, I DID NOTHING. That got an immediate reaction. I just sat there in the shade of the north side of the barn and rested. I put my feet up on the grooming box, sat back and even closed my eyes (well, I did peek between my eyelashes. Had to watch their reactions.)
All three came up and sniffed me, nudged me, walked around me, stood next to me, grazed and then tried to nudge me again. I was having too much fun! They were choosing to be with me!
After a while they wandered off, back down the pasture, to graze some more, roll in the grass and lay on the side of the hill. It was a very pretty morning. Just about perfect.
After an hour or so, I got up and sauntered back out into their space and LOW AND BEHOLD!, they came trotting up to me from clear down at the other end. Ah...but this is the "opposite" morning, so I greeted them and DID NOTHING. I stood there with Lucky on one side and Apache on the other, Willow rubbing against me (donkey for love).
Then I smiled at them and said " I brought out carrots this morning and put them in your grain, (visualizing those full bowls). How about some breakfast?" and I brought my energy up and took off at a jog. AND THEY WERE RIGHT THERE WITH ME, jogging down the path.
Lucky was on my right and Apache on my left. Being young horses, they were pretty excited. WOOWEE! The air was crackling with it. Apache, Left Brain Extrovert that he is, began to pull out in front. And then the miracle happened. He slowed down and fell back with us!
We were coming up on the barn. It was only a hundred feet away or so. I was laughing by then (and pretty sweaty too. It's a long field.). I threw my head back and said "Yeeee HAW, boys!". We, all of us (Willow too! Head up and doing her teeny, tiny donkey toot), ran into the paddock, circled around to their spots for breakfast and I grabbed bowls and gave it to them.
People, IT WAS AWESOME! It was three hours of doing everything opposite of what I usually do to get five minutes of "Yeeee HAW, boys!"
I did it! I think I have an idea of what it means when you do INdirect line thinking...lateral thinking. I blew their collective circuits and all of us had a great time doing it.
Thank you, Linda and Pat, for being so innovative. You gave me the support I needed to let the rules go and to just BE.
Nancy, smiling so big my cheeks are hurting!

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