Monday, 2 November 2015

Character and chaos (or rather Tramadol, frustration and self assessment)

So, I was half way through writing my next blog whilst sat in the doctor's waiting room at the end of August, prior to some rather invasive (but necessary) surgery when I got distracted by the GP calling my name.  Then the snowball of organising my family, horses (and mental state) for the impending op, and subsequent weeks of inability took over.  No bother, I foolishly thought, I shall whimsically write my blogs and remaining clinic notes in hospital and while I recover.  Wrong!  You think as an ex-nurse I'd have a clue that I would feel like I'd been battered by Thor's hammer (no pun intended!)  apparently not.  I felt so awful I did not even want wine.  This is unheard of, even after hours in labour, giving birth (and a c-section) I could still find the strength to uncork and pour... (and shove over whoever got in the way of the fridge).

But all is well, and I'm glad to be on the flip side of things.  Recovery will still take a wee while but I feel I've now turned a corner.

Despite not having the energy to type or do anything other than imitate a hibernating bear, the thoughts have been stewing in my pain addled brain, ready to burst upon the page in horsemanship splendour. 
So enjoy, and I hope my rambling make some sort of sense.

The topic I mentally keep revisiting is one that Buck discusses in his book Believe (if you haven't read it, go do that now...).

The Qualities for Success.  Buck goes on to list 8 qualities which horses have and humans should emulate.

1. Intuition
2. Sensitivity
3. Change
4. Presence
5. A non aggressive attitude
6. Determination
7. Humility
8. Love

I'd like to think I am good with 1, 2, 6 and 8.  Always a work in progress, but these four traits come fairly easily to me.  Numbers 3, 4, 5 and 7 however, somewhat less so.

Now reading that list it would be easy to assume that if I have difficulty with change, presence, a non aggressive attitude and humility that I a) wouldn't be a bundle of fun to be around and b) am some sort of degenerate thug.  I'm happy to report I have been know to be fun and people even enjoy my company (go figure) and I'm about as aggressive as a sock.

What I am and indeed what the horses have helped me be, is self aware.  So, let me run through that list again quickly...

1. Intuition - now my mum used to nickname me the witch, for no other reason other than I am very perceptive without actually having to think about it.  I have also learned (the hard way) that when I don't listen to that 'little voice in my head', it is to my detriment.  Horses have helped me develop this skill and I know if I am on the right track.

2. Sensitivity - I am very sensitive to the emotions of people around me.  I can walk in to a room and pick up on the vibe of the people in there.   To feel the subtle change is key in this kind of horsemanship.

3. Change -  Well lets be honest, who is good at change? We are creatures of habit who like to grind our own little rut into the dirt.  Then life happens and we are forced to change and grow.  Change isn't always a bad thing and I am much better adapting to it and being open.  I'm I all signing and dancing in embracing it, er not quite...  But I have changed, I am adapting and honing the skills I need to enhance who I need to be, to be a better horsewoman.

4. Presence - in today's thoroughly sterile modern world of technology, it is increasingly difficult to be in the moment, to stay present in what is happening around us and what we are experiencing.  Heck, most people are too busy taking selfies of what they are taking part in rather than immersing themselves in the actually 'doing'.   Horses are only ever in the present... Maite reminds me of that everyday!!

5. A non aggressive attitude - Now this can be interpreted several ways but for me personally it is all to do with defensiveness.  This can be misconstrued as being aggressive.  Flight or fight.  This ties in with presence.  You bring your attitude and your baggage to the table then you will not be in the present working with your horse, and you will receive some very accurate equine feedback.

6. Determination - According to my husband I have too much of this.  I am very much the type of person if you tell me I can't do something, that's red rag to a bull and becomes incentive to prove you wrong.  However, with maturity comes some common sense and I now stop to think if I SHOULD ;)   Now, with horses you need something about you, you need the guts, you need TRY (but remember to end on a good note, don't lose sight of the slightest try).

7. Humility - This is a tricky one as if you have a problem with humility, people would assume that you are immodest, but I struggle the other way.  I have to remember my self worth.   Be humble and remember the enormous amount of trust a horse has to let you work with him, and ride him. Respect him.

8. Love - Where would we be without it?  I love hard and fall fast.  Horses are my all consuming passion.  Horses are my best friends, I love them deeply.  I also respect my fellow human, we're all in this for the love of horses I hope.

The above is my interpretation of these 8 qualities.  I hope you can see horses and life, it really is all the same.

Next time, where I am in my journey with Maite (with all of the above) and some day three clinic notes!

See you on the flip side x
(Won't be as long until the next one I promise)