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The Project:

One Mustang directly off the range, One trainer, No tools, Just body language

The Goal:

To discover how far Equestrian Art can be developed solely using body language.

 

The Waiting Game 

In life, change is the one thing you can always count on. No matter what a moment feels like, it is momentary. Without fail, given time, all things change. Myrnah and I find ourselves this week in the waiting game.

 

Two weeks ago we were reveling in breakthroughs of speed, developing forward and playing with comfort in movement. One week ago everything seemed to slow down abruptly. I wasn’t sure if it was Myrnah or me slowing us down. Her belly keeps getting bigger making her movements increasingly ponderous and all last week I found myself fighting a flu bug. By mutual consent our week’s work consisted of more time spent relaxing together than anything else, Myrnah grazing and me quietly still with my eyes closed. That is why the blog last week was about Cameron and Antheia, with Myrnah and I existing simply as inspiration.

 

This week everything has slowed yet another notch. Myrnah’s belly has gone from a high, toned, fit look, wide yet still athletic, and progressed into the next stage with the baby hanging lower each day. She seems to have entered that stage of pregnancy where you think the belly can’t possibly get any bigger; this baby has to be coming soon! Yet you know from seeing other pregnancies, there is still a ways to go- that foal will just keep on growing until it is ready, and, comfortable or not, Myrnah will continue to carry it as it seems to get impossibly big. It is a waiting game now.

Being a trainer with a plan and a mother who remembers longing for distraction in those last weeks of pregnancy, practice of skills continues for Myrnah and me, just slowed to a snail’s pace. We still spend hours together every day, walking side by side, practicing her turns and her responsiveness to fingertip pressure on the sides of her neck.

 

I still ride a little, though less and less as Myrnah makes it clear it isn’t comfortable for her any more. Sometimes as I swing a leg over her back she stands solid and calm, so we walk for a bit, making progress in small parts of our training like traveling farther and farther from the barn up the hill towards the trails, opening a gate while mounted, walking into the trailer while I am riding- distracting, fun, quiet activities. More often however, Myrnah’s neck and back tighten and I jump directly off. If I stay sitting on her when I feel that tight resistance, it is followed by a staggering awkward step off to the side confirming for me that Myrnah needs to be babied a little more in these last days of carrying the new baby.

 

I want to do more and Myrnah is restless, like she wants to do more too, yet the changes keep coming with more and more signals for us to slow down and be patient. Myrnah seems unusually spacy and unfocused. Getting her attention for a task requires increasing amounts of effort and persistence on my part. She has gotten jumpy and easily surprised, occasionally leaping to the side, eyes wide, heart pounding a million beats a minute, her entire body tensed for flight. I look for what could have caused the fright and can see nothing; so we stand together breathing deep until it passes and she can go back to grazing and walking with me.

I think perhaps sometimes the startle is in response to something internal for Myrnah. Sometimes I can see that baby goes quickly from so still to dramatic movements that rock Myrnah’s entire frame, forcing her to step her feet wide and brace against the earthquake in her belly, as if this baby also grows tired of the waiting game. Nonetheless, wait we must- Myrnah, the baby and I.

 

Myrnah is a wonderful combination of social and comfortable alone. Her days are spent out in the large pasture with the herd. Grazing nose to nose with the big gelding Ram, or bossing around the other mares, Myrnah seems at ease with the group. She is surprisingly dominant when horses are grumpy, as though she agrees with me that horses just need to move their feet to find their way from grumpy to happy. Her bossiness seems more like a public service than a personal agenda. She isn’t aggressive, just friendly with everyone. If they choose to be less than friendly with her, well then obviously they must need a little movement to feel better.

 

Every night she comes into the sheds and grass paddocks behind the barn- a special feed of hay and the beautiful lush green foaling paddocks all to herself. I am impressed she doesn’t seem to mind being alone at all. Each morning when I arrive she is standing quietly sleeping or grazing. A walk to the trailer for snack, a grooming, an hour of playing with me on small development tasks, and then I put her back out in the big pasture with the herd.

 

Maybe tomorrow I will arrive to find two where there once was one. I think though, we still have a ways to go. This waiting game must be played; change comes when it does, and this baby has a timing all its own.

 

Elsa Sinclair

EquineClarity.com

4 Comments

  1. such sweet and lovely pictures!

  2. Horses do this … teach us patience in the waiting, among other things. … Happy to have stumbled across your blog. My own musings about being a horse mom can be found at http://www.shakespearesgal.wordpress.com. … I look forward to following your progress. Be well, Dorothy 🙂

  3. Well. You just answered a whole flock of questions! And the line., “…she agrees with me that horses just need to move their feet to find their way from grumpy to happy.” That is SO you!
    Waiting ….M 😉

  4. It’s getting more and more exciting by the day now Elsa, with the baby coming! Myrnah’s belly is HUGE! How is her udder developing?

    What you wrote about Myrnah being unusually ufocused and distracted struck me, because I have been amazed at seeing all of my seven horses acting like that last week for several days. I even caught myself wondering if it would be a ‘collective horse spirit’ thing, and now you wrote about exactly the same behaviour of Myrnah, I do so even more. We just don’t know what takes place between heaven and earth, do we…?

    I find the dynamics in your process with Myrnah and the way you cope with them absolutely wonderful. I think there is so much value in this phase of waiting and pausing and not moving as much as you have. It’s all a flow with up and down movements and each of these movements is just as important a part of the process as the other.

    I’ll be thinking of you, Myrnah and that lovely baby inside her belly :-)!

    Marja


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