Yesterday Cherish and I had quite the amazing Liberty session. Much of it was new for us, despite feeling as comfortable as a well-worn glove. With so many new feelings, I’m having a hard time putting all that feel into words.
I went out with the intention of just doing my homework around the horses for a while, and perhaps at some point playing with them. Each of them came up once I got settled on the ground to rub me and check out my papers.
After taking a break to play with my dog, bounding and leaping around with sticks, I noticed Cherish watching us, mesmerized. I offered for her to play with me, just at Liberty.
What transpired was a session mixed with moments of playful leaping and running, soft and focused lateral movements, and deeply gentle and touching moments of connection, relaxation, feeling in a massage like or energy way, and loving each other. I had no intention that she had to stay, or had to do anything at all. There were a few moments where she became unsure and walked away. I did not pressure her, or expect her to come back. If I found worried or questioning thoughts in my own head I spoke them out loud and then also said my highest intentions out loud, so that each were heard, accepted, and known to the world. If I found that she had a question I did the same. Whether you believe they can understand us or not, the very least this does is change your body language and the way they respond. Personally, I think they comprehend and absorb a lot more than most of us realize.
I suppose there were a lot of different things about this session. On one hand, it felt like a conversation between two friends. We were at equal levels–no “leader” and “follower”, no “human” and “animal”. At the same time that I was spontaneous and playful, I was following the feel of what I was being invited to do, what would help her most, and where I saw openings in space to offer or invite. I melted with her when I felt she needed it, right when she needed it, and I allowed her to step away for as long as she needed to with no pressure to return. It was also lighthearted. Everything I did was with the highest intentions for good. Everything felt playful, and easy. Nothing was forced–not even in the slightest.
More than anything, I spoke to her like she was a person, and I listened to her like the cherished friend she is.
In addition to the beautiful feeling of playfulness and deep friendship we had, she offered a collected trot, a piaffey trot, beautiful flowing lateral movements, lovely dynamic “leaps”, stretchy but balanced trot, a stretchy walk, and a few steps of piaffe, albeit not done perfectly, but an amazing try. None of these were things I was seeking for, or asking for. The whole time, we were just talking, playing, asking each other what was possible, and most importantly… loving the space we were opening, and loving the space we shared.
Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos as we were home alone, but the one above shows the “cherished friend” feeling that Cherish and I share (please excuse the mud we’re both decorated with). What a special lady, and a special teacher.