Learning “Horse” From A Horse

I’m beginning to recognize that look from my horse, Chaco.  That look that says, “Can we go over there?”

Recently, I took him and his pasture mate for a walk and they both moved out well.  About 100 feet into our walk down the road, Chaco casually came to a stop.

Back in the days when I learned how to train horses, I would want the horse to keep moving.  But these days, I’m curious about what they would like to do.  So when Chaco stopped I turned around to see what he wanted.  With a relaxed head and soft eyes, he just looked at me, and then turned his head 90 degrees to the left and looked in that direction for several seconds before looking back at me again.

“Oh, you want to go over there,” I said out loud.

I looked around and thought to myself, “Is there any point to walking all the way down the road except that it was my original idea?”

We were out on a walk, and that was my primary goal.  Where we actually went wasn’t so important.  So I switched gears, and honored Chaco’s request.

“Ok.  Let’s go,” I said to him.

I put the lead rope over his back so he was free to make his own choices, and I walked by myself in the direction he indicated encouraging him to go where he wanted.  I was also curious to see what he would do, and if in fact I had read his request correctly.

He waited a moment and watched me walk past him.  And then, sure enough, he decided to make a left turn to the shoulder and start browsing the array of plants.

It was a quiet and peaceful evening.  No cars were around, both horses were “loose” on the shoulder of the road happily munching away with their lead ropes over their backs.  What more could I want?

I’m getting better at understanding what Chaco is saying to me when he initiates with his own idea.  It is that conversation that fascinates me, and I’m sure he will continue to teach me his language.  I never dreamed that I’d be learning “horse” from a horse, but I have the best teacher, and I’m not about to pass this opportunity up.

Chaco communicating his request.

Chaco communicating his request.

Chaco browsing the plants.

Chaco browsing the plants.

 

Comments

    • And it’s so wonderful to have a horse who asks questions! The two together (listening and asking) make a delightful conversation.

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