Wellness with Horses

Cherish Update: Finding our Flow


I am a very sensitive person. I’ve been around a lot of people for a consistent string of days. I love people, and I love sharing with them and learning from them, but it can be difficult when I don’t have some time to be by myself and with my animals, to feel peace. Yesterday morning when I went out to be with the horses, I really needed to take a breath and be connected to my heart, to nature, and to the horses for a while… nothing else.

Each grass blade was a crystal–the earth looked like an ocean of jewels. Cool air and warm colored leaves painted the backdrop. I waded my way up the pasture toward the horses, trying to decide who to play with first and telling myself about reducing decision making in my life. As I got closer, I noticed my pressure. I paused, and felt into heartspace. I stayed there for a while, just waiting for myself to join the scene.

I knew now that Cherish needed love. She relaxed and came toward me, but began to turn her shoulder as if to squeeze past me. I felt myself become anxious, as if I were about to lose something precious. I grabbed her chest and pressed backwards, causing her to stop. Her tension rose, and she wouldn’t look in my direction. I sweet-talked her and waited a few moments before putting the halter on anyway, trying to be soft. Then we relaxed.*

I still felt tension in myself, but didn’t feel it going anywhere just standing. I opened the space in front of us so we could flow across the pasture. I focused on connection with her and with nature, being grateful for the grass, the beautiful fall colors, the leaves, the sounds of morning in the valley. We trailed around, finding things to pause near and breathe with. Our favorite was the giant yellow tree.

We left the pasture and turned down toward the back gate, leading out to the fields. I could feel her tense up. She didn’t want to go. This tension continued to climb slowly for a few steps until I stopped. I stood there with her, with no real intention of needing to go out the gate, just wanting to. As we stood, I unraveled my agenda further. For a moment she stepped too close, and then each time she turned her head she was turning it into me. I asked her to back up, probably too promptly. I took a deep breath. She took a deep breath. We breathed together. We relaxed together. I found moments where I was fully “there”, with her. There were still others in which I felt myself “exploring” the landscape of my mind.

I turned to walk and then paused for her to join. She hesitated for a moment before realizing we weren’t going to the fields. She was pleased to not be pressured. We walked down toward the trees and stood to join in on their morning chorus of rustling branches and twittling birds. Again, we relaxed and breathed together until we both felt soft. I did some connecting touches and strokes. She yawned. I took the halter off and turned the rope into a neck rope. We just enjoyed. I smiled a lot. It was a slow morning.

Our slow morning gradually turned into movement. We played with trotting, moving our bodies, and doing creative lateral maneuvers. I noticed myself blocking her sometimes with my body. I noticed that she trotted freely when I joined in heartspace with her and then opened the feeling of space with a rhythmic feeling of trotting. It was fun. Some of it felt glidey. We stopped multiple times to be together, for me to tell her how lovely she was, to melt a little. It was nice.

I asked if we could play with sidestepping. At first I was tense and repetitive, nagging even, in my request for her to move her shoulder over. She continued to build her silent tension until she had the first beginning of a rear. When I asked her to come forward towards me, even for the intention of melting together, she just stood and turned her head completely around so as not to look at me. This is when I knew that I had put way too much on sidestepping; had I been less focused on my task before, I would have noticed her perspective much earlier.

Here I stopped with her. I apologized. We breathed, at first at a distance. After several moments she blinked deeply and then came close. I did touches similar to TTouches in different areas. My hand paused in different areas to melt with her. I did energy work, and heartspace, and lovingly stroked her face. I told her all about how precious she was, and her lovely teddy nose. She joined in with me, guiding me to where she wanted to be touched and loved. She enjoyed her eyes being held softly and stroked gently. Behind her ears was particularly nice. She wanted me to ask permission to touch her “teddy nose” and to respect her when she said no. She wanted her nostrils stroked with a certain pressure. All the little nuances… all the little things that matter to her.

After coming into a deep and loving relaxation, I asked if we could try one more time. Rather than focus on her, this time I focused on how I guided our togetherness. I began to walk around in an arc, feeling the inside of my body, my space, my energy, my heartspace, my love, my connection to her, if I was blocking her anywhere, and what I was saying with all of these things. Suddenly she took three beautiful sidesteps in an arc around me.

Again, we joined each other in that beautiful loving time. Out of curiosity, I moved in an arc in the other (more difficult) direction. One step that way and I stopped. She was able to move her body around me the way I had asked not only because she understood, but also because I was a good dance partner, a good guide, a good friend. She could morph around me and follow me easily. I made it feel nice and good and sweet and easy. What a way to move together… to dance. To lose yourself, and to find each other.

Intentions for Improvement:

* #1: The next time I feel her go to squeeze past, I would rather accept graciously and then trail behind her without pressure, just enjoying being in the pasture with my ladies and nature.

A note about sidestepping: This is an exercise first introduced to me by Aimee Brimhall-McCord. The physical movement originally came from Anja Beran. Aimee’s approach is a bit different. The combination is very valuable.

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