Second week of Carolyn Resnick’s Chair Challenge! I’m taking an online class with Carolyn Resnick called the Chair Challenge. I have used her methods before a bit with the herd, and love learning more from her. She’s my favorite conscious horsemanship teacher. When the special offer showed up in my Inbox to do the Chair Challenge, I jumped at the opportunity. Carolyn talks more about the importance of sitting with horses here. I suggest reading about the weeks in order, starting with week 1.
Explored their territory from my chair.
Using only the senses I can use while sitting, I tuned in to everything around me while sitting with them. In my daily chores, I often get so focused on what I’m doing that I forget about “being”. I had forgotten how many sounds and smells there are, the breeze, the birds, the animals, the crunch of the gravel when I move my feet. I found myself feeling more connected with my surroundings. Later, when I was working, I slowed down and appreciated more.
Today I got to read a book. I planned to read my new purchase about raising and training foals, as Malenna is pregnant. I ended up catching up on Facebook posts. I’m curious to experiment and see if they prefer when I read a printed book versus play with an electronic device… I’ll test that out next week.
Putting myself in my horse’s shoes. Well, in their case, bare hooves. Today I walked around their areas before sitting, really looking, listening, smelling and feeling to understand how they see their environment. I can honestly say that their environment is richer than mine in the house. So much to smell and taste and hear, and always changing. I feel a greater sense of peace and connection, and this feeling is carrying over beyond the daily time with the horses. The horses are becoming more responsive to me, moving away with a lighter suggestion, talking to me more, and kinder with each other. And breakthrough! Malenna came over and sniffed me, then relaxed peacefully next to me. Being so tiny, she appears to be used to being pushed around, so when she’s given a choice about being touched, she just walks away. This is the first step in her learning to be friends with humans. I’m so thrilled!
Today was sitting, then exploring how your horse would like to be approached. This is actually something we have all worked on together before. T especially has been my biggest teacher about proper approach etiquette. He actually used his energy to push me back out of his space to show me the edges of his energy bubble. This was a good refresher today, and also, Carolyn offered the very important detail to approach from head-on, catching both eyes. Being off to the side, even a little, becomes a cue to move. I find I easily lapse back into incorrect approach, especially with the pony Malenna.
Regarding goats and chairs
It’s kidding season, so I’m spending a lot more time in the goat pens, just sitting. I’m having similar experiences with the goats. They are friendlier, more interested in me, the kids are bolder. I feel centered and peaceful with the goats, too. I did find that the chair puts me up taller than the goats, and while the kids see that as a climbing dare, the adults prefer that I sit closer to the ground.
In general, I’m finding that my entire day is more centered and calmer when I make the time to sit with the horses, meditate, focus on gratitude and appreciation for all the sounds and sights and smells of my surroundings. I find that my mind snaps into clarity and quiet much faster and easier. I am also making time to share territory with my goat herd, and getting similar reactions from them.