My horse Shadow and I fit together like peas and carrots.  We joyfully share a great connection and as the days and months go by, I'm grateful that our relationship continues to blossom.  Earlier this month, I submitted an application and a video of my work with horses to Frederic Pignon who is coming to the Carolinas next month.  He will teach two training sessions (with only 6 spots available).  For those of you who are not familiar with Frederic Pignon, treat yourself by watching his YouTube videos.  

Right now, I want nothing more than to be one of the 6 people chosen to have a lesson with Frederic Pignon.  I really, really, really want to be selected for this incredible opportunity!  If I am chosen, I will take Shadow with me.  Due to my excitement when I first learned about this opportunity, I forgot to consider Shadow's feelings about it.  You have all heard me "get on my soap box" about people who enter their horses in competitions and shows to impress themselves or others with great performances often at the cost of their relationship with the horse.  Sometimes we don't stop to consider how our horses feel about competing much like stage moms who push their children to perform in pageants, competitions, and stage performances. 

I certainly know better than to ignore Shadow's input and thankfully I quickly regained my senses!  I knew I needed to ask my horse how he felt about this training opportunity with the full realization that what seems like an exciting opportunity to me might not seem so thrilling to him.  I knew that in order to be fair to my horse, I must be willing to honor his feelings. We are a team; thus his feelings are even more important than my wants. 

While sharing territory with Shadow, I communicated to him how much I wanted this opportunity for both of us.  I explained that I would consider going only if I had his blessings.  When I asked him for an answer, I didn’t get one right away.  When I asked again, he quickly swished his tail and I got his message quite clearly which was, “I’m thinking about it, so don’t ask me again”.  I waited a few days.  Finally while grooming Shadow in his stall, I asked again.  He came over and began to lick my hand.  I asked a second time to validate his response and he licked my hand once more.  Relieved that he was in agreement with me, I gave him a big hug and thanked him profusely.  We had just jumped a big hurdle by virtue of our mutual cooperation.  The next hurdle (selection) is out of our control so we will just have to wait and see what happens.  As long as I remain mindful of his needs, I know that my willing partner will be there to comfort me with a sweet lick on my hand regardless of whether we actually get to train with Frederic Pignon or not.  How could I ask for anything more than that?

Shadow licking my hand as he does so often when he approves or likes something

Shadow licking my hand as he does so often when he approves or likes something

Have a great rest of the week, 

Linda & The Herd

Linda Salinas2 Comments