A New Experience

Yesterday I had a profound, new experience with Riley. I walked up into the back pasture where the herd was nibbling some late winter grass. I checked in with a couple of the horses and then stopped about 30′ from Riley. I just stood quietly, breathing and relaxed, hoping that he would come up to me. He stood looking at me, but didn’t move. After a few moments the young Morgan named Night came over to say hello. I greeted him and then asked him gently to move off as he is a bit of a trouble maker. Next Mike, the old QH/Percheron came over to check in with me. I greeted him and then moved away, returning my attention back to Riley. I was then about about 20′ away and once again stood quietly with relaxed posture, just breathing deeply. Riley kept his eyes focused on me and then proceeded in my direction. However, as he approached I noticed that his ears were laid back, which was uncharacteristic for him. As he got closer they became even more expressive. I just maintained the same relaxed posture and did not react. Riley proceeded to walk right past me, just brushing by my right side. He was after Mike! He drove pretty hard at Mike who spun away. However, Mike is actually higher in the pecking order and turned right back around stating “oh no you don’t!” When Riley stood his ground Mike spun his hind end and began to back up towards him. I intervened calmly but clearly, asking Mike to quit, which he did. Riley then walked right up to me, stopping when his back was aligned with my body. He was now in a position between Mike and I. He stood quietly while I got the shedding blade out of my back pocket and went to work on some of his winter coat. I spent a few minutes at this, rubbed some sweet spots and inhaled deeply at his neck, full of gratitude. As I walked back to the barn I realized that this was a huge change for a horse that a year ago may have just walked away from me. The change was in me and this was proof that I was getting it right. Wow! I am so grateful for this horse who has sent me back to the drawing board time and time again. How lucky I am to be able to share my lessons with other horses and their humans. I am blessed to be on this rewarding and magical journey!

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