Welcome to my blog about horsey life in the North East - the good bits, bad bits, endless coffees and plenty of mud!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

"That's when I really deserve to spend time in the hedge"

I remember reading ages ago that when two people speak to each other, they can get trapped by emotional habits that obstruct true listening and appropriate responses.

So one friend asks another: "Have you bought the theatre tickets yet?"

And instead of sticking to yes or no, the respondant dives into this complicated narrative about not having time because x,y,z happened while feeling a bit huffed at being 'pestered'.

Meanwhile, question-asking friend is a bit bewildered and hurt, they were only asking, after all.

This applies well to horses too.

Cady sometimes asks me: "Erm, do you really want me to go past that scary thingy?'

And instead of saying "Yes, please" I launch into a terribly emotional sequence that's eight pages long.

Like this: "Yes I do want you to go past it. Of course I do. We went past it yesterday so why are you asking? Are you questioning my decisions? why do you overreact about EVERYTHING?!"

At which point she goes cross-eyed with confusion and rightly tries to fling me in a nearby hedge.

Realising this, I'll be working hard to keep things much simpler, so the conversation becomes more helpful to both of us.

Cady: "Erm, do you really want me to go past that scary thingy?"

Me: "Yes, please."

Cady: "I am not sure I want to. Are you sure you want to?"

Me: "Yes, we can take our time and you'll be able to rely on me because I'll be giving you lots of support so everything is clear."

Cady: "It looks weird. I feel a bit out of my depth."

Me: "Ok, well, I'll jump off and lead you past today and perhaps tomorrow we can come back and get a lead from your friend so you know it's OK."

Cady: "Alright mum, that sounds fair enough."

I also need to avoid the other kind of conversation, the one where she says: "What do you want me to do?"

And I'm thinking about what's for tea...That's when I really deserve to spend time in the hedge.

We had a good ride last night. The best bits were: feeling totally absorbed in the moment, a really nice leg yield, some cantering on both reins and Cady's increasing attention. She's still not totally relaxed but I feel like it's just a question of time, practice and consistency.

Happy horsing everyone! x

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