The name of the game is TRUST! The question of the game is who is teaching who? (Umm, or should whom be in there somewhere?)
I write this as a person who is taking daily strides to create her best life. I write this as a person who has moved from being the manager/owner of a large horse farm to being a boarder at that same farm. I write this as a person who believed she had much to teach/share/show another creature. I write this as a person who is realizing that she is the one who is learning far, far more from this creature and the situation of her life than she could have fathomed.
Trust can be a tricky thing. Oh, we can say we trust something or someone but do we really? Our words and even our actions speak far less of our true trust level than do the fears that wake us up at night. Those that keep us awake reveal how much work we may still have to do to really, truly let go, breathe and trust that all will be well.
Penny, or Little Miss Thing as I still like to call her, came to us a month ago with some significant trust issues. She arrived at Avalon Horse Farm just 2 weeks before my final day. It quickly became clear that she wanted to be near people but touching her was not something she was willing to allow. Hmmm, that can be tricky when a horse is going to live outside and be used as a lesson horse. She’d hover close by and even come when called but a halter had to remain on her 100% of the time to allow for easier “catching”. The energy coming off of her said “I think you are okay. But, I have thought that in the past and received too much pain. So, no, I cannot trust you. I want to but NOPE!”
The plan for her full intro into farm life slowed wayyyy down. Usually, horses are integrated into a herd within about two weeks which includes a quarantine period. No way would that be enough time. But ack, that’s all I had. Okay, “breathe” I told myself and just focus on what this sweet, little mare needs to feel safe. So we all did lots of hanging out near her. She got turned out into a smaller space and came into a stall at night. Slow, steady movements were made. She’s food motivated so that helped as she wanted to come into eat. The quietest, gentlest of touches were offered. And she was given tons of room to begin to believe all is okay.
Fast forward a month to the final move to introduce to a herd and full-time turnout. Here’s where it gets super interesting for me and my own trust journey. I couldn’t be here last night for her turnout with the full herd. Just the conversations with Emily Hall Butchart around when and how this would happen opened up some fascinating rabbit holes of fear and anxiety. As the caretaker of Avalon, I always felt in control (key component here) of the introductory process. Yes, there were always weird things that could happen but I didn’t fear the process.
As a boarder, ooooh that changed really quickly. It’s been a herky, jerky letting go and deciding to trust Emily’s process that I’ve done this past week. But what if? what if? what if? ran rampant through my brain for days. What if she never is catchable again? What if she gets hurt? What if she never comes to any of us? What if? What if? What if?
I finally, two days ago, told Emily “I trust you to make the best decision, at the right time for you, for Penny and for the needs of Avalon.” And then, I committed to staying there when Emily texted me last night “I’m doing it tonight.” Ack, fear rose again until I said “Shh, remember we are trusting the process and believing that all will be well.”
This morning when I went out to see, just see if Penny would come when called as she has been guess what happened? She came running right up to me when I whistled, with no fear coming off of her and completely trusted me to keep her safe as we walked past the horses who still aren’t quite sure of her. She happily ate and then leaned into me while I brushed her. I am still a bit stunned.
Horses have soooo much to teach us and this little mare and I are going to learn together how to deepen our trust as new adventures unfold. My heart is so full right now for the opportunities unfolding for me to become ever a more trusting, conscious, hope-filled person.