I have longed for the day I would be writing this journal entry…..
Our summer months were very hot and dry with very little relief from the sun that beat down relentlessly. I found myself perspiring just standing still in the shade. I knew if I was miserable, the horses probably were too. It was the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time with them.
If you have been following my journal entries, you will know that Ember and I have had a somewhat rocky relationship since we brought her home from her Montana wilderness. Days filled with many ups and downs. Some days it would seem like she was happy and content with me, while other days she really didn’t want anything to do with me. I have to admit that it was hard not to take it all personally. But I was looking through human eyes. When in fact, I should have been looking at our relationship through Ember’s eyes…… It truly has nothing to do with whether Ember likes me or not! It does, however, have everything to do with how safe and secure Ember feels when she is around me. She had shown clear signs that she did not always view me as her leader. (I really was not surprised since I have only just recently learned more about how to become an effective leader.) Instead of getting all frustrated by the fact that I was not a good leader for her, I decided to find out how I can become a leader who will cause Ember to feel safe and secure. I need to back up a bit. At that point, our relationship was not bad. As a matter of fact, some folks who have a similar relationship with their horses that I had at that time with Ember would be enough for them and they would be content.
But I wanted more…….
As I continued to pursue Parelli’s Natural Horsemanship (PNH) way of interacting with horses, I learned that Ember’s Horsenality (the characteristics that make a horse a unique individual) is a Right Brain Extrovert/Introvert (RBE/I). She is more extroverted in the winter and more introverted in the summer. I am a Right Brain Introvert. All of those times I have said that Ember is a mirror to my inner most being is really true! She and I are very much alike in how we approach and handle the different situations we find ourselves in.
Here is a chart of what her characteristics looked like at the end of May, 2012. We had just come off of winter, so her extroverted tendencies were pretty high. (I will share what her chart looks like now in my next Journal Entry. Yes, it has changed! I will also share a little more about what this chart means.)
It was time to really get to know this special girl. We took advantage of the hot summer months to just get to know one another better. As RBI’s, we both need a LOT of undemanding time to get to know new friends and form deeper bonds and relationships. Up to this point, all I had been doing with Ember was asking, asking, asking….. (Oh, if only I could go back and do some things over again. But since I can’t, I will learn from past experiences and move forward)
Our undemanding time spent together consisted of just hanging out. Sometimes I would touch her, sometimes not. It was very important for her to know that I was not asking anything of her. Sometimes I would just lay my arm across her back. If she started to walk off, I stayed with her, with my arm still on her back, asking nothing. Just being in her presence.
While spending this precious time together, I had many opportunities to show Ember that I would do all that I could to protect her and the space surrounding her. Image was not very happy when I spent this kind of time with Ember. He had a tendency to come to Ember’s side that was opposite from me and try to nip her back legs to get her to move away so he could have me all to himself….. As flattering as it was that Image wanted me all to himself, I did not allow that to happen. I stayed true to what my purpose was: spending this quality time with my girl. It became very important for Ember to see me defending her space. As the summer days wore on, I could start to see Ember coming a little closer, staying a little longer. She and I were starting to connect on a level that truly warms my heart.
As the temperatures started to cool down, we started to play our games again. I could see a different Ember facing me. And I am pretty sure she started to see a leader facing her as well. I could see her asking questions, really wanting to try to do as I was asking. As an RBI, Ember needs a solid leader. She doesn’t want to be the leader, but needs someone she can trust and rely on.
In the quiet of a moment, Ember and I bonded in a way I had only dreamed about. I had never thought it was possible to connect with this sweet girl in the way that we did over the summer months.
But our story does not end there. It is just the beginning of an amazing partnership to come…..