Thursday, February 17, 2011

Finding Balance & Letting the Story Go

(So, she is a little curious. Who's that in my stall? Does she have treats?)

Nuzzling Muzzles pulled a card for me from, Way of the Horse, in answer to my question: What do I need to do, or what aura or impression is there surrounding my work with Jasmine?

Here is the answer:

Card Pulled: Lionheart (Protecting without Sacrificing Sensitivity, Assertiveness without Aggression, The Courage to Feel and the Willingness to Act)

From Linda Kohanov's Way of the Horse:

"THE GIFT: Human beings carry the wisdom of both predator and prey. True empowerment depends on finding a balance between the two."

"THE CHALLENGE: Cultivating the strength of your "inner lion," without letting it run amok, is tricky. If you don't have enough lion, people will walk all over you, and you'll lack the conviction and focus to follow your dreams. If you have too much lion, you'll lose the sensitivity that nurtures relationship and creativity."

"THE JOURNEY: ...Horses have much to teach us about the middle ground between submission and aggression... Horses model the strengths of nonpredatory behavior: relationship over territory, process over goal, responsiveness over strategy, cooperation over competition, emotion and intuition over reason."

I found this to be an amazingly perceptive card for me. Jasmine is a pony, and no horse more than a pony has seen these two extremes in humans. They are children's horses and children only know how to spoil them. Adults are impatient, get frustrated, and can easily man-handle them.

In my work with Jasmine, it's hard to be patient sometimes. The key word that describes my work with her is frustration. I've tried everything, nothing seems to work. Sometimes, it seems she's looking at me with eyes that say, keep trying--dig deeper and try to find a way to reach me. And that is why I still have her.

I want her heart more than I want her submission, and achieving this goal, I believe, will work out something very good inside of me. I think that card sums it all up about as well as anything could.

Since I last blogged about Jasmine, I've been going out several times a day and feeding her treats, sometimes pulling up a chair and sitting with her. She's eating the treats out of my hands real well. Sometimes I just let her eat the treat, but sometimes I move over beside her and put my arm around her and pet her. If she walks away, I follow her and make sure she gets touched--no more of this shunning business. I'm not going to manipulate or man-handle her, but I'm not going to let her play the pony card of, I get treats and then ignore you. I'm trying to find that balance.

My friend, Laura, loaned me the book, You Can Train Your Horse To Do Anything, by Shawna and Vinton Karrasch, so I can study up on Clicker training. It's the one thing I haven't ever done with Jasmine, so I'm willing to give it a try, too.

My second question to Nuzzling Muzzles was:

What do I need to do, or what aura or impression is there surrounding my work with Beautiful?

Card Pulled: Back to Grazing (Emotional Agility, Trust in the Universe, Letting the Story Go)

From Linda Kohanov's Way of the Horse:

"THE GIFT: When you move through emotions like horses do, when you get the message behind a troubling feeling and change something in response, you experience greater periods of authentic peace and fulfillment."

"THE CHALLENGE: To truly enjoy life, to see yourself and others in fresh ways, you must be willing to let go of the stories that keep you tied to the past."

"THE JOURNEY: ...Whether the tone is peaceful or playful, angry or fearful, horses are effusive yet efficient creatures. When trouble arises in the herd, they deal with it and move on..."

My interpretations: Don't ruminate over the past. Be like a horse. Live for the moment. Don't hang on to useless emotions if they have nothing to do with the present situation.

This one is a perfect fit for me, too. It's a fit in so many ways, I'll have to refer back to it in future posts.

I can't hold her past mistakes against her. I can't over-protect her. And, I can't let her become "a story." Every day is a new day for her and me out there. I've got to open myself up to that and all the ups and downs, surprises, setbacks and successes.

So, as I've thought about what all this means, I've made a decision to limit my blog entries for a while. I'm hoping this will free us up to make mistakes together, problem-solve together, and then write, at the end of each week, in hind-sight. Basically, I'm going to let go of the story.

Before I sign off for this week, I want to thank you all for the support, encouragement and great ideas that I'm going to draw upon as I work to accomplish my goals with Jasmine, Beautiful, Cia, and Cowboy.

Be back soon....


  1. Alexandra Kurland's books on clicker - The Click That Teaches comes to mind - are very good too.

    Sometimes not blogging is a good thing - as you say, to let go of the story.

  2. Maybe that's a good idea, to purely live the story instead of spending too much time recording it. I have a feeling that at the end of a week, or chapter lived, it'll appear differently - with greater insight - than if it's logged as you go along. Enjoy!

  3. I rarely log my stories in current time. The one's I have I see later with new perspective because many times the perception at the time was clouded by the activity somehow.

    Enjoy your journey. I think that is the most important part with horses. It's not the goals or accomplishment that matters, it's the joy you can get being with these amazing creatures.

  4. I didn't mean for you to cut back on your blogging! I just pulled the card and wrote what it said. Since I'm new to reading your blog I didn't know the stories behind your horses. I'm glad that you appreciated the reading. I really like both the art on the cards and the wisely written text. Working with horses is a journey. Sometimes it feels like you'll never reach your goal, then a little time passes and you realize how much you have accomplished.

  5. It's always good to spend as much time as possible with our horses. Getting to know them and letting them know you is a journey that can't be rushed, it takes a long time to achieve mutual trust. I agree with everyone else that you should live the story. There is plenty of time for blogging. I can't possibly do it everyday, I have too many obligations. That's why I try and do at least one a week, two if I'm not busy. Have fun with your goals.

  6. Thanks, everyone. So far, the little mental break from Beautiful's story has been awesome! I've learned more about her, and I'm more impressed with her, now that I've let her have some breathing room. I will have an update on her training at the end of the week.


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.