L is for Lessons Learned and Love

I’m running so far behind on blog posts. Haha! It happens, but I’m working on catching up. 🙂

Today, it’s going to be the Alphabe-Thursday post. Today, we’re doing “L” and L is for lessons learned and love. Why you ask? Well, there’s a bit of a story that goes with this week’s post, so bear with me.

It all starts with this one:

I like big buttsIt so often starts with this one.
Y’see, we had an incident a few weeks back. It was the very beginning of January. It had been cold, and we hadn’t had as much time together as we both like. She gets standoffish the more time she spends within the herd and away from humans. It’s a normal thing, and all things considered, I don’t begrudge her the time it takes for us to re-connect. Once we hit our stride together, it’s like “BAM!!” we’re there.

Anyways, this one and I, we were working on some hands on stuff together, and she hit her point of “I need to walk away now, Mom.” Now, I know, and understand, in my human brain, that she has that point. Over the summer, that point was stretched and stretched and stretched…so far that a few times, I tired before she did. It was awesome. Now though, it’s reduced in size. Bigger than it was last year at this time, but not as big as summertime.

That said, sometimes, I miss her cues. She very clearly tells me, in her equine way, she’s had enough. When she does, I normally wrap up what we’re doing and end the session on a positive note. It’s not that she runs the show, it’s that I see her cues, and realize, she’s reaching the end of what she can handle, so it’s time to wrap it up and let her go. There is never going to be anything positive come out of holding her beyond what she can handle. That is just how it is.

This time, with this incident, I missed her cue. I held her past what she could handle. I screwed up.

She struck out with a fore hoof. Opposite side from where I was standing. She didn’t aim for me, she struck straight out, well away from me. She also knew she was in shit the second she did it. Off she went, knowing full well, shit like that means Mama’s going to make you move your feet.

Move them feet, BabyGirl!

Move them feet, BabyGirl!

And move ’em she did…and I kept her moving until she was ready to turn in and join up. Normally, this takes a few minutes, as she works out in that brain of hers what she needs to do to get back into the Lead Mare’s good graces. This took seconds. Mere seconds. So yeah, we figured it out, worked it out, and left the whole thing on a fairly decent note.

But that wasn’t the incident…

While she was moving her feet, the other 3 joined in. This always happens, because the ones not being disciplined think it’s a game. A game they want to play too. So it becomes Krazy Kantering Nags. All good, no biggie, because typically, the playing ones drop off fairly quick.

On one of the passes, Astrid and Sable went blowing past me, one on either side…as Sable went past, she aimed a double barrel kick at Astrid. Astrid, however, was on the other side of me. Kid tells me that Bella’s hooves missed my head by about 6 inches. I know I felt the snap of her reaching full extension on her hind legs, felt the wind as those giant hooves went by. I know if I had been 1 step closer to her, she would have taken the top of my head off. Literally.
While playing. With no idea she darn near took out the Human who runs the herd.

First, I was pissed. I yelled at Sable. I yelled at Astrid. When Sable came back around I said some not very nice things to her. Tone says a lot to horses. She knew she was in shit with Mama and she had no idea why. Her head dropped. She stopped and stood. She nickered, and I walked away from her. I went around to where Hubby was with the tractor, leaned against the tractor when he stopped, and shook. I just shook. It is the only time I have ever been afraid in my pasture. I tried really hard to swallow the tears, because I was afraid, but I really needed to get things done(shelter cleaning) and get out of there.

Later on, once back in the house, I went for a shower…cleaning that shelter out is stinky work! I stood under that hot water and cried. It hit home for me, how close I came, to serious injury, and possibly death. All because of the Girls playing.

So, this past month has been some what of a learning experience for me. I’m normally a pretty confident woman, and while I’m not “horse trainer” smart with the Girls, I am pretty darn confident with them. I’m not afraid to ask for feet (ahem*paints*ahem), to push boundaries, to support them when I push for things they’re not used to, to assert my position as lead mare.
The incident, however, left me shaken. My confidence took a serious hit, and I have been working hard to rebuild it. It’s been tough, I’ll tell you. Not with Sable. Sable is such an open, easy-going, loving Girl, that I still feel safe with her. She’s my big goober. My “I need a mane to cry into” girl. So her and I, we’re back on solid ground. We’re good. No worries with my Bella.

Oh, but my Cookie. There’s a different story. My Cookie needs her human to carry the confidence for both of us, and when I’m unsure, it throws her all sorts of off. When she’s off, I’m a little off, and then it becomes a whole big ugly mess, where we feed off of each other’s “not rightness”.

*sigh*

What’s a girl to do? Go back to the beginning, Wolfie. Ski pants, and parka, warm gloves and coffee, lawn chair and a book. Sit in the pasture, and wait. Let her come to you. Let her snuffle and snort, and lay beside you. Through some cold and miserable days, we’ve worked to regain where we were. *I’ve* worked to regain my confidence…and her trust. I’ve rubbed her neck, her back, her tummy. I whispered nonsense to her, told her how much I love her, and how we’re going to get through this. I’ve assured her, this is only a blip in our road together, our Journey has years together. My lacking will not mean another move for her. I will get us back to where we need to be. For us.

And then…on a day when The Kid and I went out to take pictures, this…oh this. So amazing, so beautiful. This boosted my confidence, and in turn, hers. All from her simple curiosity…

Cookie Camera color adjustWhen I leaned my forehead on hers, and kissed her pretty face, she sighed.

We’re getting there. Soon, we’ll be back here…

Hello Darlin'Where those ears, that face, and that body language says “Okay, Mama. I’m ready to do whatever you ask me to do.”

L is for lessons learned and love…because I love her and nothing can ever change that.

Sharing with Jenny Matlock’s Alphabe-Thursday.

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11 thoughts on “L is for Lessons Learned and Love

  1. They are so pretty! I’m sorry you had a big scare!

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  2. Isobel Anderson says:

    Brought tears to my eyes. You do have a way with words.,Just saw a fabulous show on TV about the Lippizan stallions. and mares and how they are brought up . I will expect a similar routine from your herd in the spring. Kidding, Your second Manitoba winter to get through. you three would have been great homesteaders.

    Love Isobel

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    • WolfSong says:

      I’m still toying with that book idea. 😉
      Oh, I’d love to have the skill level to be able to train these 4 like like Lippizans! Ha! I’m just happy to be getting them to “normal horse” level.

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  3. Toosh says:

    This calls for a warm batch of cookies!
    Glad you are ok, those are some powerful muscles that they have, all in the name of play.
    You’ll all be ok, together.

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    • WolfSong says:

      It was an evening of red wine, that’s for sure.
      Then, I had to go an apologize to Sable, because she had no idea why she was in trouble. She has such a tender Spirit. She gets hurt feeling so easily…it’s something else to see 1500lbs pouting and sad.

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  4. Anne says:

    Oh my goodness! What a story. I love your photo too! I am late, late, late. ome visit soon won;t you!? Have a beautiful week. Hugs Anne

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  5. You pulled me right in on this one! I know exactly what you’re talking about. I had a very similar thing happen with one of my geldings only I think he may have actually been trying to hurt me. We worked it out, he’s ok, I’m ok. but for a while it was really dicey between us.

    Glad you got it worked out also. They really can be a challenge, but they are so so so worth it!

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    • WolfSong says:

      Yeah, she’s my problem child. And my Heart.
      9 years old with very little training. Spent her life as a broodie with a range in treatment from rough to hands off. It’s her good looks that got her pulled from the meat pen at auction, and it turns out there’s a smart brain and good heart in there too.
      She’s come so far in the 16 months we’ve been together, and yet, we have so far to go.
      Worth every single ounce of blood, sweat and tears, though!

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