Sunday, July 30, 2006

Working on a Sunday

After the runaway success of my last post I feel OK about putting up a post about horses. I know I will take a severe drop in popularity but I hope someone somewhere enjoys it.

Sunday morning and I’ve got work to do. For the last five days we have been working with our friend Jo and her horse Trevor. Today is the last session so here’s hoping it all goes well.
The thing that goes on with Jo and Trevor is that when they come across exciting situations Trevor loses the plot and Jo gets really nervous about it. The way we work with this is to try to get the rider and horse more together as a team, so that the horse starts to look for his safety from the rider rather than thinking he has to take care of himself. Of course this also means that the rider has to offer the horse this safety too – if she is a bundle of nerves and freaking out all over the place then the horse won’t take much comfort from that.
The job has been going well. Yesterday Jo really started to get to the point where she was there for her horse, and Trevor began to realise that he did not need to be on ‘red alert’ whenever he didn’t feel safe. I’ve taken some photos to show you the difference between the two situations.

Here is Trevor completely ignoring Jo. His neck is all braced up, he is leaning on the bit and he is basically 'out there'!

Here is Trevor standing softly within himself, volunteering not to pull on the bit and happy to relax on a loose rein.

Here is Trevor going in walk with the same soft feeling, on a loose rein and listening to Jo's every word.

Once we have started to get this way of being established in the horse’s mind in a smallish safe place we then move out into a bigger space and show him that it works out there too. The trick is that the horse loves this feeling and if you offer it to him he chooses to take it – it’s often not as big a job as you would think it could be. Then we just keep going until we get out there into the big wide world and the horse is still feeling good.
OK, you’ve rumbled me – this post isn’t just about horses – this is the way I deal with the world too? That’s why I like working with horses because the work we do with them reminds me of how I try to run my life too. If I feel good and safe within myself I can cope with most things, if I feel a bit crap and 'out there', then everything begins to get to me.


  1. Good news! I have been working out the averages whilst on holiday (listening to the Long Wave) and will be moving you up the order a bit next week.

    More about this later (by Friday, probably) over at my place.

  2. Ah. Horses. Hmmm. Errr.

    Nope. Lost.

    Not got anything against them, mind...

  3. Anonymous30/7/06 13:11

    My goodness it was worth waiting to the end as all the while I was thinking substitute parent and young child!!
    So many riders love their horses but fear them and have a miserable time. Ditto parents.
    Keep on with the keeping on Tom!!

  4. Tom, I think I love you even more now.


  5. Best philosophy lesson I've read in ages.

  6. Tommy, I really liked this post. In my next life I'm coming back as a pony in your care. Really.

  7. Aha! I can see how you've done that. It was just a matter of removing those heavy, irritating blue plastic containers from the horse's bit.

    ( I am only able to say that here because you have created an environment where I feel safe and confident, Tom) x

  8. I need a new post, Tom.

    Uarfe. In duplicate, the sound of Sid James expressing his appreciation of the fairer sex. Uarfe uarfe.

  9. Tommy my love, please put up another post. :::taps fingers impatiently:::

  10. Golly, this is a nice place to come, isn't it? Glad I still do.

  11. Tom, I love your horse posts the best :-)

    This one was great.