Hello, my Friends and Animal Lovers.
We're back in each other's orbit, and I love it.
So, in the last episode, you met Bennett. The earnest, rather particular horse who needed more explanation on how to navigate an obstacle. Episode #72 if you want to check it out.
Bennet had many fans, so I wanted to share one more pearl of wisdom Bennett bestowed on Kathy and me.
Turns out, Bennett is not only interested in hearing the particulars from his person, but he is also rather particular about his day.
Let me paint the scene. Kathy and Bennett live somewhere in the South. The weather is hot and humid; the best time to engage is early morning before the sweltering air rises.
At the beginning of summer, Kathy got into her summer routine.
Early arrival at the barn. Getting Bennett out of a field where he lives 24/7 with three other horses and into the barn. Depending on the weather, Kathy usually grooms and rides or grooms and offers Bennett bodywork.
Somewhere in between those things, Benett also gets to hand graze near the outdoor arena occasionally.
In one of my conversations with Kathy, it was now mid-summer, and she told me that Bennett had gotten very assertive around the hand grazing. On the way to the barn, he pulled her toward the grass. Kathy's pulling back resulted in the classic push-pull situation in which no one wins. It was unusual how much effort he suddenly put into it.
When Bennett did it again the next day, Kathy got mad. What was up with this horse? Why was he suddenly so forceful? Kathy, who has also re-learned to communicate telepathically with animals, finally asked Bennett what was happening with him.
And as she opened herself to an answer, Bennett showed her that he and the herd had a routine. They grazed mostly nights and early mornings when it was cool and fewer bugs were around.
Now, earlier in the summer, when it wasn't so hot, Kathy arrived around 10 am. In mid-summer, she shows up at the barn around 7:30/8 o'clock. And that meant she came during early morning grazing, and by taking Bennett out of the pasture, she cut into his grazing time.
Bennett explained, "We are On A Herd Schedule." Everyone goes out and about on and off throughout the night and early morning. By 9 am we are in the shed.
When Kathy suggested Bennett could go out for grass once they were done with her human ideas of riding, grooming, and bodywork, Bennett explained that no other horse would join him.
He wouldn't go out by himself. When the herd was done, so was he. There was no grazing until later in the afternoon when it got cooler.
No wonder Bennett was pulled toward the grass as he and Kathy walked down the driveway.
He had to make up for what he was missing.
How ingenious is this?
We have a herd schedule … duh. Of course, they do.
I have said this so often at conferences and clinics. Our horses have a big life that is outside of our time together. Bennett lives with three other horses in a field 24/7. Except for the hour or so, Kathy comes. In his herd, there are roles, rules, and systems that the average rider never thinks about. Thankfully, Kathy asked. And she received. She received the perfect answer that explains it all.
From here, Kathy and Bennett can devise a plan that works for both, talk about it, and things will be easier again when they follow it. So simple.
Now, not every horse would give the same answer. Another horse might not mind going out in warmer weather or by himself. This is Bennett's story and his perspective. That's why I always stay open and curious about an answer.
Bennett does remind us of something essential.
When we take our horse out of a paddock or pasture, s/he and the other horses will be affected. And, often, an unexpected or undesired behavior stems from us not recognizing that fact. Horses have lives that don't include us.
Therefore, acknowledge the other herd members when you take your horse out of the pasture.
You might be taking out the leader, surveyor, energy balance, or tracker … and the herd will notice the missing presence and needs to compensate for it.
And watch your horse and their companions. Be aware of their schedule. When do they eat? When do they sleep, and when do they graze? And then acknowledge, adapt, and organize yourself so that you can both be in the right mind, haha, literally in the right mind together. Because when you join in the right mind, you have access to the body, and when you are with our animals, your body is your most significant communication tool.
And, if your schedule is such that you can't adapt or organize it any other way, then chat with your horse. Explain why you must groom, ride, or work with your horse at a specific time.
We discussed it before … explaining the what and the why are sooo important. With any and all of your animals.
Every day, when I have to leave the house, and I see Scout's resigned look, I tell him I am heading off to work to make the monies that feed us all. And I will be back in a few hours.
When my cat Flitzer wants to sit on me, and I already know I must get up, I say, "Let's connect later. I have to get up in a couple of minutes."
According to the explanation, you will be amazed at how often the animal changes their course.
So, take Bennett's word, start talking more to your animals, and ask questions when encountering an unexpected, quirky, or undesired behavior. Why?
Always ask the why.
Be open + curious.
When I met Kathy, she was an excellent horse rehabber. Now, she is an exceptional listener.
That makes a world of difference.
Mindful Connections happen when you see the world through the other's eyes.
'Til next time. I am always here to listen to you and your animal!