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April 5, 2018: The Horse Life: The Importance of Rapport

A good friend of mine remarked that I have good relationships with my horses. I immediately corrected him and said no, I do not have a relationship with any of my animals; I have a rapport. I have a relationship with Pete and others I may be close to. When I think of being in a relationship with my animals, I think about them living in the house and sleeping in my bed. Well, maybe I do have a relationship with Ryder. Okay. No I don’t. The word relationship implies a certain level of intimacy. I am not and never will be intimate with any four legged creature.

Alys and Raudi going over the pin wheel

A rapport is, plain and simple, a mutual understanding. I would like to think that I have this with all the goats, horses, chickens, and dog. I am not sure really, that I do have a rapport with Flag and Rumba, the chickens. I did have a rapport with Red Hen, and I miss her.

With the horses, the rapport comes and goes. When it goes, I automatically start thinking about how to get it back. I lost it with Tinni and Raudi both – today I felt like I reclaimed it.

Early on, Pete and I took Tinni and Hrimmi for a walk down Murphy Road. I let Tinni go at his own pace, and when he stopped, I did body work on him. Pete and Hrimmi got way ahead of us, but no matter. We were enjoying one another’s company. And Tinni was appreciative of the fact that I hung back and let him take the lead. There was a definite feeling between the two of us, one that isn’t there when I lead him around the loop, me in front, lost in my own little world.

I succeeded in reclaiming this feeling with Raudi. I first did Intrinzen work, on the mat and in the driveway. I pretty much let her do as she wished, though she kept going back to the hitching post where the hay was – and she would have continued to eat if I hadn’t encouraged her to play with me. As with Tinni, I didn’t insist she do anything, everything she did at home was of her own volition.

I then saddled her up and went for a ride. She moved slowly, and trotted some. I would like to have seen her be a bit more energetic. This was not to be. So I got off her and ran with her. I had done this in the past and she had raced home. But this time she stayed with me, speeding up when I speeded up, and slowing down when I slowed down. This, I decided, is how we are going to train for the CTR.

I next worked with Tyra, who was a bit of a ditz. Even so, the rapport was there. She bounced along like a ping pong ball, both at home and out on the road. I rode her the final stretch home and we worked on her moving in a straight line.

I want all days to go like today. This exists as a distinct possibility. Maybe my having differentiated between the two terms, which is relationship and rapport, is what has brought about a much needed change in my interactions with all my horses.

Next: 96. 4/6/18: Gratitude

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