Monday, May 20, 2019

Daenerys Targaryen: Is Bad Horsemanship Like Bad Authorship?

I am one of those people who believed something good would come from watching Game of Thrones. Year after year, I suffered through beheadings, stake burnings, rape, carnage--all because of one character whom I loved and wanted to see emerge victorious--Daenerys Targaryen.

Kit Harrington, aka Jon Snow, had this to say about those of us who cheered for Daenerys:
"You’re in denial about this woman. You knew something was wrong. You’re culpable, you cheered her on.’”

But the way I look at it, I was in denial about the writers--all of them--that they could continue the tragic, beautiful, strong, and marvelous arc of a female heroine like Daenerys Targaryen.

I have read that George RR Martin knew the ending all along--and the fate of Dany--Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains.  I think that was the problem with this whole, ill-fated tale.  Somehow, he stumbled upon a special character--Daenerys, a girl whose father was murdered, she, exiled as an infant, treated like chattel by her brother, sold off to the highest bidder, --and after death, destruction, set backs, being underestimated, abused--she comes out victorious and prepared to take her rightful kingdom.

But she doesn't.  Instead, she sets her ambitions aside and goes off to save mankind from the White Walkers--and loses one of her three dragons.  She doesn't complain, but soldiers on--and for all of that self-sacrifice and accomplishment, how is she rewarded?

(Spoiler Alert) --

she is turned into a monster....and killed off in a matter of 2 or 3 episodes, while the surviving male characters joke about how soon they can rebuild brothels.

In my opinion, out of the many problems with all this, the greatest is that Daenerys Targaryen was more than the male writers and directors could handle.  Instead of seeing where the character would take them--where she wanted to go--what her story was and would be--what  more she was capable of doing to rein in her own ambition--they sacrificed her for the story they WANTED to tell.

It ended the way they wanted to see it end, not the way it should have ended--if they'd let the character continue her natural arc.

As I was out working with Beautiful Girl today, it hit me how alike horsemanship and authorship can be.  We are presented with a unique, special horse, just like a character we are helping to manifest on a page, and with bad horsemanship/authorship, rather than allowing them to grow and learn in their unique way, we see the way we want it to end, prescribe this method, and that method, and this tool, and that tool--and, oftentimes, try to craft that special being into something it is not.

That epiphany framed my work with Beautiful today, so instead of having an agenda, I went with her natural curiosity, and tried very hard to tune into her signals--and validate them all.  When her head flew up at the sound of distant cows, I looked over their direction, too, then patted her and said, "yep, the cows crying."  When she wanted to stop and sniff my outside furniture--we stopped and talked about that, too.

When we were done, I put her back in the turnout and did some chores.

When I came back in, she followed me all over and would not tune into the nonsense of the mares and Little Joe fighting and running around, because she wanted to be in my pocket.  That is success.

Who are these magical horses, these special souls, who are emerging day by day in our unique tales?  Where will their stories go, and how will we honor the natural arcs of their lives?


  1. I have not watched GOT and I'm glad that I didn't. I hate it that strong women are always treated this way in movies.
    However, you work with BG sounds very much like my current work with Carmen.

    1. There was a strong women who ended up ruling at the end, in the North, and it could be argued that the female character, Sansa, was the real winner, but they abandoned guiding principles to get to their conclusion for Daenerys. (Sansa killed her tormentors, how is that different than Daenerys?)

      The last book hasn’t been written yet, so there is a small possibility the author will allow Daenerys to grow and survive. But that’s highly doubtful considering he consulted with the showrunners.

      In any case, as disappointed as I am, I am also happy to have known Daenerys Targaryen. And I think of her now as I work with my horses, so that is good. 😀. My mind has so completely rejected the finale, it’s almost like it didn’t even happen! 😂

      I think Beautiful and Carmen have some similar characteristics, so this work is probably very good for both.

  2. Yeah, I haven't watched it either. Strong women always get the short end of the stick. And I get so very tired of violence, rape, murder, pillage and the like...why do we subject ourselves to such gore and evil??? Isn't there enough of it in real life, that we also choose to engage in it for our viewing pleasure??? For purely entertainment? I am guilty of watching a lot of bad also, but I do question myself at times.
    Anyway, on to much more important and noble matters - horsemanship. *sigh* Like a breath of fresh air! Good work with BG. When we validate their opinions, their interests, their curiosity...we always win. She felt it and so did you. Bravo! That's how beautiful partnerships evolve. We cannot always be the one calling all the shots. And when we take the time to really involve them in decision making, we are engaging their minds. And that is precisely how good horses are molded. We are honoring their intellectual minds, which in turn will teach them to think, before they automatically react. We just need to give them the time to figure everything out, and reward that option to try. Pure gold! And in answer to your question in an earlier post about non-riding relationships? YES!!! That's how I start all my horses, from the ground and so much can be accomplished when we choose that direction. Riding is awesome - don't get me wrong, but there are many rewards in asking them to engage their thought processes on the ground beside them. Eventually, if the two of you decide to include riding, I believe it will just be a very natural progression. No big deal. :) Fantastic horsemanship first begins with the thinking human and then includes our horse. I love where you're heading!

    1. You hit on it with “time”. I’m lucky to have a little of that at this point in my life, and it allows me the freedom to wait. And I do. For all of them. Beautiful Girl is such an enigma—she is absolutely spectacular at obstacles, ponying trails, packing a saddle—I truly don’t get the two explosions she had. Yesterday, she was simply phenomenal at the work we did. Perfection. Every hoof placed exactly where I asked and held until I asked for release. Well mannered to a fault. Eager. Everything is there that would say, I’m ready for the next step.

  3. I haven't watch GOT either and I'm sure the strong woman got the short end of the stick. They always do.

    Love what you're doing with Beautiful Girl. I'm sure she's loving the attention and bonding with you.

    1. Strong females in the hands of men—let’s just say, they don’t know what to do with them. Even if you accept that Daenerys when batshit crazy in a few episodes and suddenly became Uber greedy, why would you end the whole series joking about effing brothels?!?!? Such a slap in the face to women watchers. My SIL and I think Dany is still alive and will come back when all those idiot men muck it up again. PLUS, Sansa is the true greedy one, and she’s ruling the North. Recipe for disaster.

  4. Never watched GOT and never will.
    I treasure those moments such as you had with BG. I'm working on building rapport with Sparkle, who is a bit of a character (thinks she is a diva, always has) and we have had some lovely bonding moments. Much as I am eager to ride her, I will wait until I am certain of her. There are a few issues to deal with first. Riding can wait.

    1. You’re very good at working with the horse in front of you. That’s a gift. The lessons I’m learning with BG are helping me be patient with Tumbleweed, too. One thing they have in common is turning away from what they don’t want to see—difficulty relaxing into a forward acceptance. If I don’t wait and get that with Tweed before leading off, it usually means he’s going to do what he wants. If I get that acceptance and acknowledgment, it means he tries harder to behave. BG did a lot of that when I first got her as a yearling. The one thing I want most from him, and her, is a willingness to face their fears, communicate their fears, and trust me to see them through them. That may be where I failed BG in letting her learn to hide from things until they built up too much.


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