With husband at home, I’ve had more time to visit and work with Z. We’ve begun with baby steps on getting her to open her mouth in order to, eventually be bridled (another post about that is forthcoming), we got her feet done, and I’m working on teaching her how to turn and change directions to the inside while being lunged with a line. The last has always kinda defeated me so I’m taking it slowly at a walk to develop the “dancing” steps needed.
Today, I also did some Masterson Method (MM) with her and it gave me further insight into Z’s mental process and personality. As I’ve written many times before she is a dominant aggressive horse with other horses. She tries to take the lead in human-horse interactions. However, there is a cost to that behavior – it means she can never appear weak, she cannot give in, and she must hold her body in a state of readiness to defend her position at all times.
Nowhere is this more clear then when I was doing MM bodywork on her. MM work is done very slowly and requires a lot of focus both by the horse and human. You almost enter a Zen state of mind and when we finished I myself felt very quiet both inside and out.
During Z’s work I can feel the internal release of her body, but externally she shows little in the way of releases. For example, her eye will soften, her head drop and she will give a gentle exhale but she won’t give the big signs of head shaking, yawning or deep exhales/snorts.
While I was doing the hind end you could tell she wanted to release but simply couldn’t relax that far. This really gave me insight into how she holds herself in a state of tension and as I’ve written before this has been a big issue when under saddle. During our liberty work she is relaxed, listening and playful but put a saddle on her and her whole body starts to tighten. I’ve recently posted about that when Rugby Guy was riding her she shortened her step and it took relaxing them both to get the desired stepping out that I wanted.
What today has taught me is she needs it taken slowly, needs time to relax, will hold tension and be slow to let it go because this is her very nature. I can be more understanding of this because in some ways I am the same. I don’t like people getting into my vulnerable areas and I seldom let my own defenses down. From this knowledge, I can give her more consideration and taking it slowly is now put into perspective as to why it’s needed with her.