THROWBACK THURSDAY: June 21, 2017
Today I sold my round pen…
I had a response to this, an emotional attachment to it, and I’ve decided to explore that…
As a trainer, it was a goal to have a nice big round pen I could start colts in, work problem horses in, and do liberty training in. So when I finally saved enough money to buy a nice one, it was useful, but also symbolic. It symbolized my ability to work hard, it symbolized how my love and respect for my clients and theirs for me had in turn created the ability for me to thrive financially; it also symbolized what I thought my identity was. And maybe a bit of a Horcrux for my ego…
But then I met a group of rescues in 2 years ago that set me on a completely different path, and my perspective shifted completely.
Here was a group of untouched horses that were too emaciated and lethargic to train even with the gentle methods I was used to using, but who needed to be tamed and halter-broken in order to have their severe external and internal parasite infestations addressed. What to do?
I had just bought a friend a DVD that had an unexpected segment with clicker training, so I thought: what the heck, can’t hurt to try…
So this group was trained out in the pasture, from first touch, to haltering and leading; no enclosure required.
Yes, it worked great to tame them and get them doctored, but I was also experiencing something extraordinary… I was getting liberty behaviors and rapport that had taken me years to get with even my best mare.
They would continue to hang out with me even after I took the halter off and the gate was open; in fact, that’s how we spent much of our sessions: gate open, halter off, the herd grazing in another pasture while we worked on the life skills they would need to be rehomed.
I was experiencing great joy with training; not just the happiness that comes with recognition, or even private successes and goal achievements, but the unburdened joy of really connecting with the horses I was working with. Every time their faces would light up when they saw me, it was my heart that would light up.
One day, I looked over at my round pen, and I saw how tall the weeds had grown, and I felt at peace.
I have found my new path, and it is time for someone else to use my round pen to help them on theirs, wherever and whatever that may be.
Today, I sold my round pen, and it was symbolic: the end of an era.
It symbolizes my transition into work that resonates with my authentic self, as I leave what I thought I needed to be behind, as I leave false power, false freedom, and external validation behind and return to my authentic way of being with horses.
My heart feels like that empty pasture, now: open and unrestrained, but ready for the next adventure in connection.
Hazrat Inayat Khan says the soul is covered by a thousand veils; each layer I shed that is not my true path, I get closer.
Tune in next week for my next Ego Horcrux…
Keep riding the spiral path,