The horse's pasture to the East...

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

DOING THE NEIGH-NEIGH (Pun most definitely intended)

When I started this BLOG, It was supposed to be an account of my journey with my horses. And then life happened. The Story-Teller began to emerge. She took over and it's been all over the place since then. But they're still here, my horses, and I've added one since. 

I'm older and so are they. Time keeps rolling by. I woke up this morning thinking about focus, connections, consequences, history, and commitment. Huge words aren't they? And they all come together in an unexpected DANCE (my word for 2017). 

I wondered around in my head with all of those words buzzing, making these mad, uncoordinated circles. It's still about my horses, and now about my dogs and even the barn cats. And it's about family too, and friends. The word that stands out, after doing chores while I tried to calm my hyper drive head, is commitment. 

The world is an ever changing place and I can't say that it's any easier to be here than it ever was. I worry about my sons, my husband, horses and dogs, and the world in general. It hasn't evolved as much as I thought it would, or maybe it has and my perspective isn't big enough. Buzzing, buzzing, buzzing. How do I slow it down enough to get tiny steps done, little pieces complete enough? The only things I can control are here, inside myself.

I just took a short break to go let my herd out on to their large pasture. I went out with a video in my head made by a Parelli Pro, Kristi Smith. She posted it a short while back, about the cold snap in Indiana and how hard it is to work consistently with your horses sometimes. Her solution? Do small things with excellence. So I went out to open the gate but the rule is the horses need to step back at least ten feet away and wait quietly until I open it. Then they should walk through with confidence, without barging or pushing and one at a time. I'm looking for soft faces, ears forward and towards me. 

Lucky, my alpha, does not care for backing. He's been doing this banana-yo for years because I never asked him to do it straight . My fault entirely. All I ever had to do was be more specific without being critical. It's harder than it sounds. Learning how to smile and smile some more has been a huge part of it. I asked him to move that big ol' butt of his around until he was facing me. Apache and Stony were watching and doing exactly what I wanted. Two out of three ain't bad! But I want three out of three, so I focused on Lucky. 

This is how he always greets me, slightly to the side. And if I let him back away from this position he would curve around until he was backing sideways. It's a very nice flex to the side but not what I'm asking for. Do little things with excellence. So this morning I simply worked on having him disengage that lovely latter half of himself until he was a floating head who just happened to have 1200 lbs of body attached. When he was standing and facing me with an open and engaged expression, I opened the gate. It took the pressure off of him, always a reward. And through he went. Game over. (note to self : Next time go out with a warmer jacket so I don't shiver. )

So what does all of this have to do with a buzzing head full of too many ideas and worries? I'm older now and so are my horses. That word, COMMITMENT, is at the front of everything I do. I want to be there for my horses all the way through to the end of the circle. It's my job and my joy to complete the journey. It all connects back to "thinking about focus, connections, consequences, history, and commitment", a quote from myself. 

FOCUS : Stay the course and pay attention. Be specific and keep it fun.

CONNECTIONS : Keep contact with my community of horse men and women. Watch their videos, Parelli videos and BLOGs. Reach out, Nancy. (I'm an extreme Introvert)

CONSEQUENCES : This one's a loaded word for me. I need to stay present when dealing with it because I have a tendency to be hyper critical of myself. Looking at consequences needs to be approached as a tool to learn from, not a way to punish myself.

HISTORY : Again, another trigger word. History is always a part of how I react to the world and the challenges I try to stay focused on. I hid out most of my childhood, from a challenging (a nice way of saying abusive and terrifying) parent. I've been in survival mode for quite a while. I'm trying to redefine myself here. I want to be an explorer, an inventor of a new inner story.

COMMITMENT : And back around full circle to this word again. I've learned a lot over the past few years about our throw away society. People get bored or overwhelmed, and they forget that they've taken on the care of a soul. (Yes, I definitely think animals have souls.) I am compelled to prove to myself that I can follow through until I am no longer in this body or they come to the end of their time here in this plain.

DANCE : My word for 2017 has to do with grace, harmony, athleticism both physically and emotionally and the process of telling my own story over and over until I find my way to a path that makes me proud of who I am. It's all about honor, honesty and trying.

And it's about having fun! Now all I have to do is figure out how to get my head to de-buzz so I can concentrate...

I am, ever yours, Nancy, doing the Neigh Neigh (and laughing at my horrible pun!)

PS. Stay positive people. 

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