The opinions expressed in previous entries may or may not express the current opinion of the author.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Anyone who has been through labor knows there is a particularly grueling stage of that delightful process known as "transition."  Transition is the last stage of labor before pushing starts and is characterized by a desire to just call the whole thing off. They tell you in childbirth class that when you get the feeling you can't stand it a minute longer, that's when you know you're nearly there.  I remember actually calling this to mind when I was having my first child.  I remember thinking, "This really sucks.  Oh good, that must mean we're getting close."

With the horses, I've found that whenever I become frustrated or discouraged, a transition of some kind is usually just around the corner.

Today I was just feeling a bit grouchy about the whole thing.  I was just getting a bit sick of Bridget turning me into a non-stop butt-scratching machine and wondering if we were ever going to move forward. But in the midst of my Grinch mood, I did remind myself that this frustration was probably not such a bad sign.

This evening I went to get George out of the field to take him for a grazing walk, because he was so sad and jealous earlier when Chloe got to come out and eat the lawn. We went on a large, leisurely loop, passing [yhhhhu7yrfu34 - I left this in, because it was made by kitten feet] many juicy green plants for the eating of. After I'd returned George to his field, we hung out.  He wanted me to stand by his tail and scratch him.  Every now and then I'd move, but he'd always return me to the same spot. After quite a long time (with what I'd have to call a flourish), he spun around, plonked me into a spot touching his neck, and stood still.  I suddenly felt very warm towards him.  And then he Chewed.

The blog, Ponies at Home, talks a lot about The Chew. It's from Jenny Pearce's book Zen Connection with Horses.  Here's how Pearce describes it:
They give us The Chew when they understand us - they give us The Chew when we understand them. ....  It's a physical signal of understood communication.
I can't recall George ever chewing before, not without food in his mouth that is. I've read about The Chew, and "waiting for The Chew," but this was the first time I've consciously experienced it. In the last couple of days, I've been becoming more and more aware of George's need for intimacy and unconditional acceptance.  I guess, I hope, that the rush of warmth I felt was a shared warmth and that his Chew was an acknowledgment of that.

When I embarked on this journey with George, I had no idea it would be so long.  When I first took him out of his pasture after reading Empowered Horses and said, "Buddy," (because that was his name back then) "you get to decide now," I had no idea that over a year later we would only just be taking the first, tentative steps toward mutual understanding.

After George and I had stood for a while, he turned his head toward the other horses, who had drifted away from us.  I asked him if he wanted to go and join them, and we started walking in their direction.  After a few steps, I stopped, intending to leave, assuming he would continue on his own.  But after a couple more steps he stopped too, with his back to me, and waited until I started walking again.  We joined the others.  Bridget came over to me, but George gave her The Look, and she left.  I stayed with George a little longer, said goodnight, swung by Chloe to say goodnight, and headed back to the house.

Here are Bridget and Chloe and Rose coming over to check me out sitting in the lawn chair again earlier this evening.  I only sat for a minute, because the wee tear in the seat which George made with his teeth yesterday quickly grew into a gaping hole when I sat my dainty self down.

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