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Pages 277- 278: Chapter 8 “Some Questions and Bill's Answers” Topic of the Week for Dec.13, 2020
In Bill's Book Discussion
Sally Spencer
Jan 02, 2021
Greetings. With regard to pg 277 'Are there any problems that can't be "fixed" with this approach' I was reminded of something Leslie alerted me to. It was to be careful of my expectations upon meeting a new horse and to be sure to let that horse know that I understood how he/she knew to respond, what he had learned. I did make such a mistake with one horse, so I have never forgotten about that. I now wait to find that moment with my interactions when there is an opportunity to feel of the horse feel the timing and offer a release. I have noticed a response, an interest and build upon that to see what amount of curiosity manifests. Just the simple task of putting a halter on and off opens the door to offerings. I cannot help but feel inner excitement when this happens. Recently a 19 yr old cob mare came to live with me. It became clear she had towed people on the ground if they got behind her shoulder and she had another idea. I saw how her previous and fearful owner lead her away with two hands grasping the back of her head collar nose band. She said all she would do was wrap a rope around her nose. I understood the woman's ways were about self preservation and fear. I understood the mare's responses were about self preservation but without fear. It went very deep indeed. She was adamant! The mare later told me how she had tried to understand what humans wanted and in interesting language explained how their timing was out when they asked her to turn. This made me so appreciate True Horsemanship Through Feel. This made me appreciate even more how many horses must be dealing with this very scenario. Going back to the basic connection through feel with the putting on or off a halter, this mare had her own thoughts on that. As we connected she would agree to some lateral bending but then would toss her head, throw the nose band off the end of her nose with a flick, and straighten her head with the expectation of moving off. It did make me chuckle because she was so adept at it. All I had to do was help her change her point of view. Time went on. If I got a bunch of paper and crumpled it all up with gusto and a dose of frustration this would probably well describe what occurred as I began to realize that the change in freedom and scenery for this horse I had bought to trail ride was to uncover a huge number of arthritic processes in her feet and lower joints and hence a physiological attack on the mare. I guess I had hoped my care and environment would give the mare a new lease of life. The above describes a human woe is me scenario. I eventually realized I was in battle with myself. So I decided to make humble crumble deep within that internal oven. This changed everything. The mare who placed her ears back , remonstrated with her head etc then seemed to relax. That was the day when she agreed to offer to help me put on her halter and wait with me a wee while before I released her and then relaxed waited for our next step. we thought that pretty neat.
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Sally Spencer

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