Last weekend I had another riding lesson as I’m going to Mongolia next week and going to be riding. I’ve never controlled a horse before my last two lessons with Katrina so this was my third lesson. My travelling buddy, who had has a tiny bit more experience than me (apparently 35+ years ago when he was 15 he learned to hold on tightly when the horse moved – especially when galloping for home), came too.
Katrina was our ever patient instructor again. Katrina is a school teacher and if I had kids I would want them to be in her class. She is always so encouraging and positive and repeats things in such a patient, calm way.
I would have said: “Fiona, I’ve told you about 15 times before that you have to stop pulling and urging at the same time because you’re giving the horse mixed messages and “Hello” it’s not working and you haven’t worked it out yet. Use your brain. It would help!”.
But with Katrina she is always so supportive and reassuring: “You’re doing really well. It’s a good idea you ease up on the reins when you want him to slow down but not stop, not keep pulling him up. You’re giving him mixed messages with your body and reins actions. Try to make sure your body and leg pressure and reins are all telling him the same thing. Either “Stop” or “Slow down but don’t stop”. He’s just like a person. Talk to him.”.
Because of my “experience” (Definition of experience here: 2 > 0!! ie 2 lessons suddenly makes me more “experienced” than my rusty travel buddy of zero recent horse riding experiences!! I suppose 2 relative to 0 IS more experienced but I sure don’t feel experienced!), I got “promoted” to Doc. A younger horse.
Because of my “experience” (It’s relative!) I didn’t expect Doc to be different to Beethoven, my former mount which was given to my buddy. They are both horses right?? (I should have known they would be different as I have observed all the cows have different personalities. It was a foolish “prefer not to think about the consequences” moment!).
Because I was not in a settled headspace, I didn’t give Doc my full attention when I first mounted and started walking.
Because I was mentally distracted, he got me. He knew I wasn’t fully there and therefore took the lead and got the upper hoof/hand right from the start. BIG mistake on my part.
Because of my initial mental digression, I suffered the consequences all lesson. He was the boss and I needed to adapt that to us being a team.
All lesson was then based on who could out-psych whom. Could I urge Doc into a trot or could he wilfully resist me?
It’s been years since I’ve had to “reason” with one of my teenagers who always expostulated against me. A true Philadelphia Lawyer. I’m out of practise now that my teenager has matured into more balanced reasoning (I kind of miss those days of maddening frustration and awe of teenagers’ tenacity and will power)!
Trying to reason with Doc was a bit the same. I shown a chink in my armour (which is more like a sense of false bravado rather than confidently sure that I AM in control!) and he knew.
I choose not to take the wellbeing of animals on. I adore animals and love looking after them when I need to and love patting them and interacting with them when the opportunity arises. But I’m not a horse whisperer or a dog’s best mate or an avitar with anything furry or feathered. So trying to reason with Doc after our initial contact was very challenging for me.
I’m not sure what Doc and I achieved together during our lesson but one fabulous thing I learnt was when I mount my Mongolian steed next week I must clear my mind of all else and dedicate myself to connecting to my new team mate. I need to focus on become a partnership in the first minutes.
Thanks Doc for reminding me so poignantly of this valuable lesson – I need to be present right from the start. Always present.
Maybe I need to heed this in my interaction with other sentient beings – such as the people around me. Maybe I am distracted by my head’s busyness and preoccupation that I don’t give my attention fully to those I am talking with. Maybe I am missing out on more balanced relationships because I am not paying attention. Maybe I’m not listening fully.
I never know where my teachers will turn up. I never thought I would learn such a valuable lesson from a horse!! Mucho gracias Doc!!
Life is so kool!