The video I put together for this week’s conference call in Carolyn Resnick’s class was mainly to show how my relationship with Galahad has grown since she reminded me to focus on what was going RIGHT. It was made up of clips showing my horse and me hanging out in the pasture, walking together, watching the “scary” tractor together, and me feeding a connected and respectful horse some of his favorite treats while I sat on a stool in the pasture.
I must have watched that video a hundred times—the connection we share is so obvious and so lovely.
When my turn on the call came, I started out explaining why I hadn’t done any of the exercises for that week. I was feeling vaguely guilty about that, but I had done what FELT RIGHT in the moment.
And what did Carolyn think about it? She LOVED it. She pointed out all the things that were good about our work, and most importantly, she noticed how connected we were, and how much Galahad seemed to be saying, “I love knowing how to be with you!”
I suspect that everyone who interacts with Carolyn much notices how immensely intuitive she is. She sure proved it to me! Her next statement was “I think you’re going to be able to take a lot of loneliness out of this horse.”
Loneliness? I asked her to say more.
“When I saw this horse before,” (in my earlier videos for the class) “I saw a deep loneliness. He had given up himself. His way of being was ‘I’m just going to be. I’m not going to have feelings about anything. My feelings left me a long time ago, and I can get through life without feeling.”
Well, as you can imagine, I burst into tears at this point, remembering how Galahad had been abandoned by his people and left to starve to death. Galahad has always seemed somehow shut down, with a lack of enthusiasm for any kind of training. I’ve never been able to find out what games might interest him. He just gets quiet, sullen, and stubbornly resistant to doing anything he’s asked to do. I had despaired of ever getting through to his real nature!
“Kay, you do have a natural ability to stay connected in the process of everything you do. It’s just in your nature. I’m not going to tell you how to proceed, because you’re steering your own ship right now, and that’s exactly where I want you to be.”
Thank you, Carolyn. What an affirmation. And Carolyn does not blow smoke; she says exactly what she means.
So I guess I have to believe her. I’m developing my natural ability for horsemanship, my feel, my intuition; and all that’s translating into developing and maintaining an amazing relationship with my horse.
It’s interesting: I have often felt that way. A part of me knows that I can achieve and maintain a connection with almost anyone, whether they be horse, human, or feline, through whatever challenges come along. But to hear it stated from someone I respect so much is humbling. And to have it stated in relation to my beloved horse—that’s incredibly … I don’t even have a word for it.
Now, it’s going to take me a long, long time to get to where I can believe it in the difficult moments. Right now, I’m having a hard time remembering it from one moment to the next!
Example: I was out in the pasture with Galahad the other day, just hanging out. Then it occurred to me that I “should” do some of the other exercises. Are those warning lights EVER going to start flashing when this word shows up??
So I tried moving him along, ever so gently. He snorted and scooted just a little, with his nose still in the grass. It was clear that he was NOT in the space of quietly accepting a nudge from me. I had known that before I asked—I can read that horse like a book.
So I stopped asking him for anything at all, and went back to just hanging out.
The good news about this little interaction is that I recognized how good my “feel” is. I can tell exactly how much pressure, or “ask,” he’s able to tolerate without getting upset and moving off. And the bad news? None, I guess, except that once again I acted on a “should” and not on my own intuitive “feel” for the situation.
Well, awareness is always the first step in changing anything. When I asked Carolyn about it in the classroom, she reminded me not to push any agenda—just let things unfold in the moment.
OK. Deep breath…and back to unfolding.