Which Way to Go?
Yesterday I was confronted again with how my perception of safety differs from my horses perspective of safety. We had high winds and a forecast calling for snow and rain. (It missed us thankfully!! This IS April.)
I typically turn my horses out on 24/7 turnout by mid April depending on the weather and pasture conditions. They were out, enjoying themselves and doing quite well but with this stinking weather forecast I thought I better bring them in. Cold wet rain or snow would not be good! I had the stalls clean, bedded and fresh hay and water. I had the 'bait' of a handful of grain in their buckets which normally brings them in at a gallop. I also think its funny when they come running to me this time of year to feed them when there is MORE food out there than in the barn! I rattle my bucket and begin to call 'Time to EEEEAT hoooooorsessssss!' That is my call to them. Kind of like the farmer who yells 'Suuuuuuueeeeeeeyyyyyy' to bring the pigs in which by the way I take some offense to since my name is Sue! Anyways I call to the horses to the far end of the pasture and they look at me but don't take one step. I call some more. I rattle my bucket. I bang on the gate with the lead snap. Nothing. They are in a tight group still at the far end of the pasture. I resign myself to the fact I need to round them up so I go out in the pasture. Usually this will get them moving in my direction. Typically they see me and start walking toward me. Not this time. The wind is really kicking up now. I want them in. They appear restless and now move to the center of the pasture but make no attempt to go anywhere toward the barn. As I walk closer they circle around and place themselves in the center of the field again.
By now I can clearly see they have no desire to come into the barn. Their sense of safety lies in being together in their herd and staying out in the open. They wind has them ansty and they feel at ease not where I want them but where their horse perception tells them to go. Since I had to go in and cook dinner I decided to leave them out and if need be come out later to bring them in. Since the snow/rain missed us they got to stay out.
It was a reminder to me how I want to place MY perception of comfort and safety on to them but in reality that is not what makes them feel comfortable or safe. Sure, if the rain or snow came they might of changed their minds but maybe not. God has provided them quite well with ways to deal with different weather conditions. My horses have a run in also (which they rarely use) but the point is I place my ideas of what I like on to them and then the horse often times is kind of stuck. How many times do horse people blanket, shoe, stall their horses because that is what makes THEM feel best?
In this situation the horses gave me a lesson in how we don't always see eye to eye and that's okay!
I am trying to learn in my human relationships how to keep my 'stuff' as mine and allow other people their 'stuff'. Here are some ways this plays out in our human relationships.
Responsibility: I am responsible for my actions, my emotions, my decisions, my behavior but I am not responsible for someone else's. (Let's leave the parent/child relationships out of this example. Obviously a parent of a small child IS responsible for the care of their children.)
If someone you work with is having a grouchy day, you are not responsible for their mood. Concentrate on doing your job to the best of your ability and then allow the other person to have their own emotions. It does not have to effect you.
Control: I can't control someone else's reaction, behavior, decisions or attitude. That is theirs- good or bad. I can control mine though. The more I practice controlling my own reactions, behavior, decisions, attitudes the less I am effected negatively by what someone else does.
Decisions: The best personal decision making policy is to do what you feel is right which is not necessarily what will always make others 'happy'. You can't make everyone happy. That is not in your control so do what you feel is the right thing to do.
Individual Preferences: Everyone has a right to their own opinion. They can have theirs and I can have mine and we can still get along. Each of you may have very valid reasons for your opinion and that is to be respected. No need to tear down or belittle the other person-- or change your own views to pacify someone else.
Those are just some examples I have been trying to incorporate into my life. I tend to want to make everyone happy and take on the emotional responsibility but that is only an illusion. I don't have that kind of power. :) I tend to be an 'emotional sponge' and soak up the emotions around me which in a large part came from being put in a care taker role in an abusive relationship as a child. I learned how to tune into those things as a way to try to prevent abuse. I am learning to tone that super sonic intuition down since its not useful in my life now.
One of the real gifts horses give to us is to teach us how to be aware of the 'undercurrents' in relationships. Horses are masters at reading people's body language, energy and intentions. This is why they are so effective in equine assisted therapy and coaching sessions.
Next week I am going to a demo on EAL (Equine-assisted Learning ) Corporate Team Building. Ten just a couple days later an EAL Learning Boundaries demo. I will post more my experience on this blog.