Wow. Again, I have a lot to share. So, bear with me (and I hope it's interesting).
Today is a very blustery day. I went out with a carrot and classical music playing on my "iPod" [it's really a Zune, but who knows what the heck that is??]. I called out to Joey Joey, but the wind blew my voice away, so he didn't hear me. I know he wasn't ignoring me because then I called him a second time and he actually neighed and walked briskly to the opposite gate--the wind had blown my voice again. He didn't hear me opening the loud, stiff latch to the other gate that was a few yards behind him (that's how windy it is). So I called to him a third time, chuckling at the way he was snorting and shuffling by the other gate with his head slung high over the top of it, searching for me. When I called out a third and louder greeting, he neighed even louder than the first time, spun around, and nearly trotted into me. I wasn't sure if he was that happy happy to see me, or if the sounds of the blowing winds and my brother on the tractor right outside his paddock had unnerved him. At first, the way he heaved a ginormous sigh, made chewing motions with his moth, and closed his eyes with his forehead pressed into my chest, I think maybe he was looking for comfort in the midst of all the scary, roaring sounds. I rubbe3d him and offered comforting words. And then, not really sure what I should do*, we walked around the paddock. We. He followed eagerly every step of the way.
[*I am a person who always has a game plan when it comes to interacting with my horse. I like to be able to know exactly what's going on, what my goals are, and I like to be able to predict what will happen next. As a result, my relationship with Joey has not been on a super-personal level. In fact, I've always looked ahead to the day when I will have a sighted horse because "then I will really be able to do anything." Well, I have found that try as I might to come up with check boxes and a game plan for what exactly Joey and I are working on on this Journey, I come up blank every time. Throwing my hands up in frustration, I pull on my boots and head out to the paddock anyway--almost mechanically. And it's during the interaction through uncharted waters that I realize that Joey and I are learning together--I'm not teaching him anything. I am finding that the interactions when I'm clueless as to what to do and what to expect are the times when I'm most open minded; and as a result, they're the most successful enriching interactions--I learn so much!]
Joey followed me into the second paddock. Kyle (my 16 yo brother) was using the tractor a couple of yards from us. For some reason (I don't remember now) I squealed and kicked up my heels in a playful gesture. But Joey balked in fear. I went back over to him, realizing and apologizing for my blunder of spooking him/making him think I was afraid--it wasn't a very confident, leaderly thing to do. We walked around quietly for a bit more until he didn't pay as much mind to the gusty sounds all around him. A little while later, he even followed me into a trot! And then we bucked and played for a few seconds! Do you know that Joey has never volunteered to go faster than a walk without the motivation of grain ever before?! And it was the middle of the day--nowhere near feed time! So he couldn't possibly think I was getting him food. And he did it more than once! I'm so excited at how our relationship is growing deeper and stronger every time I go out there! And we're not even hardly doing anything! It's backwards from what I've learned in the past; but I like it!
After a while of us being real buddies, I went and brought out some hay for him to snack on while I sat and watched him and tickled a playful cat. We were both so calm today; and we were really enjoying just being together.
Th. 3: Even the whole interest thing is mutual. You don't wanna hang out with someone who completely ignores you or acts like they could do better by spending their time somewhere else--with someone else. If I act like I want to be friends with Joey when he wants to be friends with me, then we're both a lot happier. He'll start to ignore me if I hardly acknowledge him. It can't be all him giving (i.e., showing interest in me) and me taking (i.e., expecting that that's just what he's supposed to do). This is a mutual relationship. It's gotta be like we're looking in a mirror, kind of: he gives, I give; and eventually it'll be vice versa, I think.
Note: Always look for permission first before approaching a horse.
Today, Joey followed me around willingly enough; and though I was itching to see if he would trot with me again, I didn't push it. He was alert, but he was dragging his feet, so I took that as a sign that he was having a lazy day today. Every once in a while, I gave him a rub somewhere; I tried to let the whole interest thing/interaction be mutual. But when I reached down and rubbed his girth area on his left side, he acted sore. I wish I would have taken the hint after the first try instead of having to observe and analyze a third time--ugh. To show him that I was sorry for my inexperience, I took a step back and grew very still and quiet, respecting his space and his reaction after he pinned his ears, tried to nip me, and then swung his head away to let me know that he was unhappy. When I did so, he immediately pricked his ears and swung his face back around almost quizzically and appreciatively. We were friends again after he saw that I knew how to understand him.
After walking back up to the barn, we were standing at the trough when I moved to rub him. He slanted his ears back, walked a few paces away with his butt turned to me, sighed, and ignored me. Not sure if I should pursue him or not, wondering if this was one of those moments when I needed to show interest in him, I decided that my moving to rub him and my touch had been my showing interest in him. He had walked away in a "I've had enough" kind of way. So I took that as a "no", opened the paddock gate and left, while he watched, alert and quizzically after me.
Back to present day.
I believe I will split this entry into two parts--again. >_> But to end, here's a cute picture I found while cleaning up and organizing my pictures on the computer:
These were two of the kittens I had two yeas ago, Daisy (the black) and Checkers (the grey). I thought they were the cutest! ^.^
Thanks for reading. Hope you stop by for Part Two!