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

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Sound of One Hand Clapping

I reckon George's bite was a koan. One of those paradoxical Zen riddles, to which there is no rational answer. As the thinker puzzles over the question, he finds himself up against a wall, at which point the only recourse is to abandon linear thinking and seek an answer elsewhere.

A rational answer to the bite might be: a) You're basically doing the right thing, but you just weren't enough "in the moment;" or b) That's what you get for not teaching that horse respect.

I find the answer is broader than either of these responses, although there's an element of truth in both. The question is partly not even a question at all, but a goad - a stimulus to look further and deeper than before.

I am challenging George more now. I'm asking more. But at the same time, I'm trying to be softer and more aware also.

Today we went for another walk, and I'm asking him to keep in the nice soft spot beside me. He knows about this spot now, and although he'll sneak ahead, he'll put himself back there if I call him on it. If he stops to graze when it's not my idea, I keep walking. If the reason for stopping is for him to listen or look, then I stop with him.

When we got back, we found Rose apparently having the same symptoms Bridget had the other day - she was rolling and looking back at her belly, as well as pawing the ground and stretching. I was reassured by seeing her pass manure twice. I went out to check her pulse so I'd have something to tell the vet if I called. It was normal. She's not a demonstrative mare, but I could tell she was appreciative of my sympathy, and she relaxed and closed her eyes while I stood with her. After a while, she started nibbling the grass again, so I decided we'd wait it out and see how she is tomorrow. I wonder if there's something wrong with our hay or feed.

While I was with Rose, George was doing his prowling shark act, and I had to be very strict to keep him off. "Young man, if I catch you coming one step closer to us, there's going to be trouble!" As long as I keep my attention pointed at him like a sharpened rapier, he'll stay away.

It was a lovely evening for a walk


  1. It's a delicate balance, isn't it, to get your energy up to the extend that a challenging horse takes you serious, but at the same time to stay soft and gentle inside.