My first Linking Awareness session since returning home..
Note: Before posting this I checked in with Steady and his owner to see if it is okay to share their story. Steady really like the idea of being a teacher for others. Maggie also was happy to share. My dear friend Maggie and her beloved horse Steady have been struggling with trailer loading. Which is strange because Maggie has been a horse women for all of her life (17 horses, show experience, etc.) and has been a very helpful friend to many with trailering issues. But as frequently happens, she is unable to resolve this issue for herself, on her own. She asked if I could acquire any helpful information through my Linking Awareness process.
Well, her guy was certainly eager to come and share his perspective. He indicated that he doesn't like the transition from being outside the trailer where can see all the things around his home that bring him comfort, to inside the trailer where he can't see any of those things. It is literally that moment in the process, when what he can see changes that causes him stress. He requested that he have some kind of eye protection or something to reduce field of vision. I could clearly see him with a full-head fly mask on. When I told that to Maggie I used the word "blinders" but what I had seen clearly was a fly mask. As soon as I said "blinders", Maggie responded "fly mask". He indicated that he'd had some kind of previous trauma with trailering that hurt him but wasn't specific. Just that he was really anxious. (I knew this because I immediately began to feel sick to my stomach. I wasn't sure I would make it through the session without vomiting. But I did and it was gone as soon as the session ended.)
He also indicated that Maggie's nervousness about him getting hurt while trailering was feeding his anxiety. (Kind of "Why should I get in if she is feeling so strongly that I'm not safe.") He requested that some of his manure be put in the trailer prior to his loading so it smells familiar. He also wondered if he could wear his blanket in the trailer so he feels cozy and padded. And he thought it might be a good idea if he could spend some time just with the trailer without Maggie present (or without an agenda about loading) so he could get used to it. (I had a vision of the trailer in the middle of her arena and him wandering all around it.)
When I shared this with Maggie, she told me a story about how before she got Steady he was lost in the Sierra's for 10 days before being found (now that might make you not want to get into a trailer again). And that his prior owner had a funky trailer that required he jump 2 feet to get in or out. He also has some unexplained scars (which I really sensed were from a trailering accident). One of which is actually on his iris.
Steady indicated that he needs the left side of his neck massaged (he said that it is tight and bothers him, makes it hard to look around) and some natural remedy for stress (Rescue Remedy appeared in my mind).
He indicated that he is willing to be trailered he just has some fears and some pain that need to be dealt with first. He wants to feel comfy and safe. And he wants Maggie to understand it is hard for him to leave his home because he loves it there.
Maggie and I were able to have a discussion about "thoughts" and the vibrational energy that is sent into the universe via our thoughts. And the energy of worry ("will he get in", "will he be okay", "what if I am driving, turn around and there is no trailer") actually attracts those kinds of outcomes. Reversing those thoughts will manifest the reverse outcome. It takes practice to turn those around, but with practice and intention, comes habit. (Believe me I know, in my family worrying was embraced. My father was the champion worrier.)
A few hours after the session, Maggie emailed me to say that she tried massaging his neck today and it is so sore he won't let her near it. She had known it bothered him but was blown away that I knew it. So instead she used "approach and retreat" with the goal of laying her hands on the area to begin. And that was successful and welcome. She also let him graze in the area where the trailer is parked, with no other intention or agenda but enjoying some time together. She found her fancy full-head fly mask and showed it to him today.
Maggie tells me she is ruminating on how information like this adjusts/adapts/personalizes the training concepts and methods. Looking forward to those conversations!
Tomorrow I'm going to see him in person and am eager to connect with him. I am grateful that he is willing to participate in this process as I practice, learn and grow. And am thankful for all he has to teach me. Thanks Steady. And thanks Maggie. Tomorrow pictures of Steady!
This is certainly an interesting journey! I am grateful for the teachers and supporters who've helped me be open to this process.