Some experiences shared with our herd & Nicks...
By sharing our stories with you I hope you will be encouraged to see the many 'other' ways we can be with our ponies. Riding with love in our hearts, riding as if hugging our ponies, simply being on the ground with them and being able to listen as well as ask. x
Just to reiterate my point :)
I would like to invite you to join me and my herd to celebrate the feeling of ‘being’. The ponies allow us to be ourselves. They encourage us to shed all our pretenses and just be who we really, truly want to be. They do not judge when we cry, they do not judge when we say things we do not mean, they simply allow us to be… but how they respond when we do find that space, that quiet, truthful place in our heart, full of love, kindness and compassion is incredible. It lifts your spirits more than any other therapy can. Their droopy lips, their relaxed bodies, their gentle chewing, their presence on the ground when they lie down, all give one this sense of empowerment. Such beautiful, powerful, magical animals, trusting you enough to exist in the present with you, in a state of bliss. It is truly amazing and I am truly grateful that I can experience this feeling daily. This feeling is not short-lived. We can access it whenever we need to. Of course, it takes practice but we can bring that moment with the ponies into our mind and the feeling into our physical body and bring our congruent self forward, opening our hearts and living from a completely different dimension that allows us to be happy and live life to the full.
March 2015 we are always told not to hop off but today we did...
I went for a hack today with Minty. Minty riding Ash and me on George. The lovely George. He really is a special boy. I love him with all my heart. We chose to hack through the big open fields. I knew I would not have the courage to canter but we did trot. Ash was playing up a little bit which unnerved Minty - unsurprising with so much space to take off. I think they were hungry. So much lush grass surrounding them and nothing at home. Though, hopefully, this will change now the rain has come.
Anyway, I said to Minty, why not just get off. I know we are always told to ride it through but surely if you are getting all worked up and anxious this is being passed to the pony/horse, making them all wound up and jittery. May as well hop off and start again on the ground. Develop the trust a little more. She did pop off and they walked through the field and when we got to the entrance we let everybody have a good munch. The dogs even got involved!
I told George that I was terrified once we entered the large fields. Not of him but the very thought that he MIGHT take off. The weird thing is I trust him completely but I still have this fear. I just can’t let go. Anyway Minty and I decided that she and Ash and George and I will spend the next few (or however many it takes) hacks walking. x
Who says we can’t walk a horse/pony?
It is a Sunday morning, the boys are out playing and enjoying ‘boy’ games and Minty and I decide to hop on George and Ash and go for a ride. We decide to take the long route today. No fields today. Off we go. There is a bit of a fight to get the ponies to leave their friends behind but once on the road we get going and all is well.
We then hit a track that George has disliked in the past. He simply refuses to budge. Minty continues with Ash. We don’t need them both getting sticky. I sit there giving George a few well-taught kicks (which has always felt wrong) and see we are going every way but straight on. All of a sudden I spot the blue rope I had attached to the saddle. Why I had attached it I was not sure at the time but now I knew! I hopped off and clipped it onto the bridle. And we started to walk. We started to run/trot up the hill to reach Minty and Ash. This track was now quite fun! Well, fun for George anyway as I was hyperventilating from a lack of fitness on hills. We got to the top. I hopped back on… we had a little walk and then a little canter and all seemed well.
We pass the cows. And we come to a hill. Another place he was not sure of a long time ago. I hop off and we have a lovely walk downhill. I was asking him to mind my feet and myself self and he was asking me to keep my space too. Minty and Ash quite mellow behind, follow with a smile. Get to the bottom, hop back on and we tootle home. What a wonderful, wonderful time I had with my horse and with my daughter and her pony. There was no fight, it was what it was and rather than fighting George and becoming domineering and aggressive, I treated him on my level and as a friend. “Yup, scary hill up and down. Slidey and Slippy. Don’t worry, I will guide you up here and it will be fun.” Just another way.
A moment of doubt...
So I wake up on Sunday morning feeling totally shattered having enjoyed a very late night with friends. I feel doubt entering my body.... oh what am I doing... I have not had a chance to play with my ponies recently, I am nuts, I have no idea of my direction, etc, etc.... a little nudge comes my way from somewhere deep inside to go and get the ponies in for breakfast. Off I go. The ponies are far away so I pop the buckets out and walk down to find them. I whistle and wait. And then... Connie comes cantering down the wood, and then Cocoa and George and Micky and Ash and Nimrod and Lightening... all excited about breakfast. They canter past me like a herd and the rush I get hearing their hooves on the ground and the joy in their step reminds me why I am doing what I am doing. Why I am homing and rehoming these beautiful animals and Why I want to share their magnificence with others, so maybe just maybe we will see the horse in all its glory! x
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Minty Sits on Nimrod for the first time..
Trust is everything.
Wow, so today was a bit of a shocker if I am honest. What was starting out as a beautiful morning with Cocoa and Nimrod in the school turned into a big fright for us all. The reason I am sharing this story with you though is more about how I handled it, quite differently to how I would have dealt with it two years ago or even a year ago! So Nimrod and Cocoa are running around the school responding well to our direction when all of a sudden Nimrod thinks, 'gate'. Unfortunately, we were not there in time to redirect him. He tries to jump it and the back legs get stuck on the top! The key, I think is "stay calm'. Nimrod and I go into this zone. I ask my daughter to stand on the gate to lower it a bit and I work with Nimrod to try and get his legs over. One goes and then the lever gets in the way of the other leg! Now, a year ago I would have screamed in panic at whoever was there, so let's say Minty as she was, to go and get help. But my whole attire was calm. I knew in my heart (despite the adrenalin flying around my body) that I could not think the worst. We all know what could happen so why think it. By thinking about it, we create it. After wriggling a bit then staying still and then wriggling a bit he managed to get the leg off. He gave a huge Neigh to relay his shock and then received A LOT of cuddles, he recovered, some bruising of course. What is great though is how Minty has seen the difference in me and my reactions. By removing the fear of social failure or just failure and removing the conflict, as i continue on my journey practicing this, I AM becoming a better, calmer, more peaceful human being. I am learning to TRUST the big beautiful system - The Universe and it's pure energy. And it is there for all of us to share and to help us when we need it.
Alex and I went to Bristol to see Amy the other night. A documentary about Amy Winehouse. Wow, what a film. Aside from it being quite close to home in many ways - without the fame of course!:) - something struck me so deep it hurt. I was not actually a massive fan of her music but her voice. Wow, she gave the world her voice and her heart. Her lyrics were personal. And yet that was not enough for us, the world wanted MORE. We wanted to have her physical being, her mind, her soul. And what happened we destroyed her. Of course, we can blame this person, or that person and of course, she could have stood up to every strong individual around her and said, 'Enough'. (Yeah right! ) but really if we had just let her write her lyrics, sing and live, we would probably be listening to her next creation right now. A consideration: Why can't we, mankind, not accept the beautiful gifts we are given and truly appreciate them. Without looking for that next story, that next line.....? Maybe, we can learn from Amy's story and when another young body shows up with an old soul inside, we say thank you and simply listen and applaud.
So we have been working with Nimrod on the ground trying to guide with vocal instruction so that when we are on his back we can work with this.
Over the weekend we successfully mounted my daughter on his back, in a saddle - WOW. Minty and I were hovering a little bit, not saying anything to one another but both thinking nervously about what he MIGHT do or what COULD happen, when suddenly my husband turned around and said, "girls, stop thinking the worst that can happen, and let's just trust the horse!" This allowed us to drop all fears and 'what if's' and open our hearts and believe in the boy standing so beautifully still and waiting patiently for Minty to pop on. We had our 'escape' route planned 'if' anything should go in a different direction but as we all stood there, working as a team, we managed to walk across the yard, through the gate, and to a stand. AT this point my daughter felt it was enough and she hopped off. What a boy! Minty decided then and there that she was going to pursue the backing at home. A belief in herself and in her boy. The lesson we learned here was that we too often get wrapped up in the emotions and fears of what might go wrong. Maybe it is time we think differently and think about what might just go right. Once we are listening to what is going on, we know when to stop and when to start. it is just learning to believe in our intuition again and the wisdom that resides in us all. x
Playing time in the School,
So yesterday I went out to ride George. He flatly refused to be caught. I had loved, hugged and brushed all the others and still failed to catch him. So I decided a change of plan was required. We would go into the school. Anyway, that wanted to join could. So off I go, walking into the school. I start popping up some jumps, walking around a little course I had made, zig-zagging in and out of cones, etc etc... Cocoa comes in and is watching. The grey team decides to watch from the fence. Connie and Lightening come in and have a little roll and a little play and both watch me as I move around. George comes in. Ears forward, then back... who is the boss? It seems to be his regular question! I have learned to remove my gaze when he is looking threatening towards me and continue with what I am doing. This seems to change his attitude a little bit. After some time in there, still, none of them have connected with me... the ego kicks in, I start to feel a bit of a failure, start questioning what on earth I am doing, who do I think I am, etc, etc... and then I start to see... I start to imagine not one but two schools for a bunch of rescued ponies... the school is a playground.. yes, how amazing is that... like children, they too can have somewhere to play. It can be 'work' too but yes, play is so important.... so in my little daydream, Cocoa and LIgthening come up behind me and make contact, well Cocoa does and Lightening is up close behind him. I ask him if he wants to dance with me, shall we dance? And we walk side by side, zig-zagging through the cones, with Lightening close behind. We get to the end of school. It feels amazing! I see if I can get them to follow a little further... they stay where they are as if to say, that is enough. Less is MORE. For Cocoa, especially. His past experience with man has not been great so there is trust to be built over poles and other man-made things. I felt so honored that they had both given me their time and it felt so amazing that connection. Of course, George was then keen to play, so we did. :) We played with the 'scary' curtain - which he likes to chew and we did a few jumps together. All in all a lovely hour with a beautiful herd. Thank you. x