Saturday, July 30, 2011

Side Plot

Hello I'm Melissa, and I guess I am going to become a small part of this story now as well. :-) I am so happy to have K and Little Love in Finland and to have this opportunity to work so closely with two individuals who are traveling the same path as I. Up to now, I have typically felt that whatever I do with horses has been a sort of compromise. Never having owned a horse myself, I have recently mostly been at the mercy of others with vastly different goals from mine. So if I did what I felt was right in my heart, I risked being a disappointment or annoyance to the horse owner who mostly just wanted me to make sure the horse got enough physical exercise (no matter what it took to make the horse move forward). But if I tried to do what I thought would be pleasing to the owner, I felt like I was betraying the horse, since there was very little time left to care for their (or my own) emotional needs. And allowing the horse to have choices was generally a no-no, since it encouraged free thinking, which usually gets a horse in trouble with its owner. Needless to say, I am excited to experience a relationship with a horse and owner in which I don't have to worry about these things! 

I have only spent a few hours alone with Little Love up to now, but already I can say what a different horse she is from the one I met a few years ago in Switzerland. I remember when I first met her while visiting K (not long after the two of them had started to work together), she seemed so reactive and ready to flee if threatened, it was scary for me to walk her in hand from her stall to the wash rack...and her stall was the first one in the barn next to the door that led directly onto the wash rack! :-) Keep in mind that, up until about three years ago, most of my horse experience had been on the backs of these patient creatures. It was really less than three years ago when I first began to experiment with doing anything else, so still today I am not completely confident with myself when walking next to a horse, a rope in my hand attached to its halter or neck. But at one point yesterday, while taking one of my first short experimental walks with Little Love up the road next to the new barn, I suddenly realized how unbelievably calm I felt in her presence. Little Love was not 100% calm, and she clearly does not trust me to be the protector and soother that K has become for her, but she was having an amazing calming effect ON ME. In analyzing this experience later, I think it stems from the fact that I have (as I have seen K do) made a vow to remain as congruent in my emotions, truthful about them, and present with Little Love as I possibly can. And in only a couple of hours alone together, this has already made all the difference for me. Judging from Little Love's behavior and patience with me, I think she appreciates it. Now I hope I can stay true to that vow, and I cannot wait to see where it takes us! 


  1. Hi, Melissa - all sounds very interesting, and can't wait to hear more from you!

  2. Hi Melissa-
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts:) I can relate very strongly to what you have said because I spent virtually ALL of my childhood, teenage years and early adult years riding other people's horses. All of my life, I have tried to seek out the kindest, most passive ways of being with horses.
    There were many instances that I thought I had a better idea on how to do something then the owner did -- but of course I didn't dare express those opinions much less act on them. Just before Griffin came into my life - I worked for a gentlemen that owned several horses....he gave me free rein to make a lot of decisions and it was GREAT -- I finally got to experiment with some of my own ideas. The owner even took to calling me "Doctor Doolittle" after the fictional vet who could talk to animals :)
    By the time Grif came into my life - I had a pretty good idea on how to work with him in a more positive light! It was fabulous!
    Of course I am still following my path....and struggling with giving up control in a lot of situations -- but the bottom line in my thinking is to treat my horse with the same kindness I expect from those around me. If I wouldn't want someone to treat ME that way - I don't treat Grif that way.
    At any rate I look forward to hearing more about your interactions with Lilo :-)
    Carol & Griffin

  3. Hi K and Melissa!
    Great posts from the both of you! Jesus H., K, that mare scene was exciting! You humans are doing such a good thing, letting the "girls" work it out, yet keeping them safe. Melissa, great to hear you've started your journey with Little Love, what an adventure this will be. My business partner and I call this "not doing" or "hanging out" with horses "non agenda time" or "learned connection". It's what happens in order to begin the process of having an emotional connect with your horse, one where the horse gets to think his way through a situation and make a choice, whatever it is. The horse just might decide to walk away and that's ok because you're there to just "be" with him.
    Welcome aboard Melissa! Thank you K for bringing another facet to your already wonderful blog!