Here’s a picture of my handsome horse. In March of last year we officially set out on our journey of happily ever after, together. He was quick to help me understand that he prefers life on his own terms and most importantly, being in charge.
Life on his terms rolls along at a pretty languid pace, involving a lot of eating and napping and alone time. Basically anything outside of these terms led to an argument. Arguments which he won every time given that he out-powered me by quite a lot.
Could I truly change who he was? Nope. But maybe I could meet him where he was and where he was, was a young and very smart horse. Was he also lazy and a master manipulator? Maybe, but labels are for jars.
As they say in the business world, you have to be flexible to be effective. I surrendered. I asked for guidance and it came fast, as it always does. I found a quote by horse trainer, Clinton Anderson, on my precious Pinterest, ‘Frustration begins when your knowledge ends”.
Luckily I had no problem admitting I was at a standstill in my riding. I called my riding coach who has great no nonsense advice and recognized our struggle. I also dove into research and started an empowering program of NLP (NeuroLinguisticProgramming) and anchoring.
Meeting people and things where they are is about giving others what they need, when they need it. My horse needed a leader which I couldn’t be without more knowledge and experience.
Once I asked for help and stepped up to be the rider he needed, I learned that he actually loved to work and feel successful. I learned what motivated him and that he loved Natural Horsemanship games and learning tricks! The more trust we built, the harder he tried at the more difficult things I asked of him like roundness and througheness and impulsion.
And as they often do, my animals teach me about people as well.
I recently had a light bulb moment as I thought about friends and frustrations: people, too, are where they are, and this is despite our desire for them to be different. It’s despite our wanting them to be more evolved, more fun, more intelligent, more compassionate, less intimidating, more reliable and so on.