I have found that when interacting with horses, the less serious you are, and the more you maintain a sense of humor, the better things go.
I used to be quite serious, in my life and in my interactions with my horses. However, about seven years ago, I decided to lighten up, try to see the humorous side of things, both in my life and my interactions with my horses. It didn’t happen overnight, but I gradually became better and better at it. I enjoyed life more, and my horses seemed to enjoy it when I laughed. They appeared to take it as a sign that all is well. They especially loved to hear me laugh when they had done something a little naughty, that was also funny to me. I think they were relieved to hear me laugh, when they knew they’d been naughty and should have been scolded.
The area I live in has a tendency to be windy. Fortunately, we don’t get a whole lot of days of really bad wind, but it does happen now and then.
One day about four and a half years ago on one of those bad days when the wind was blowing really hard, I decided to put Sweetie on the lunge line for a little bit of walk, trot, and canter before I turned her out onto the thirty acre pasture. This was a short time before I discovered and developed The BIG Eraser and The Triple R, back when she was still an extremely hot and fearful crazy woman. She was particularly high that day, and I didn’t want her tearing around the pasture like a bat out of hell and possibly injuring herself, so I wanted to just take the edge off a little first.
The indoor arena is quite loud and scary when the wind is that bad, and not at all conducive to calming a horse down, so I took her to the outdoor arena. I had her walk quite a bit both directions, and then trot both directions until she was relaxed enough to give me a nice, quiet canter.
I was holding the lunge line near the end (obviously not very tightly, LOL!) and she was cantering a 20 meter circle to the left, when suddenly the wind ripped the lunge line out of my hand! Oh no! The wind then proceeded to whip the lunge line up and down like a snake as it dragged alongside and behind her. She immediately sped up and started running like there was a banshee on her tail. The faster she went, the more it whipped, and the more it whipped, the faster she went. Around and around she went, paying no head to my attempts to get her to slow down and stop. There is no fence around my outdoor arena, but amazingly, she stayed not only inside the arena, but pretty much on the circle, although it grew into a bigger and bigger egg as she sped around faster and faster.
All of a sudden, the picture of her tearing around, and the lunge line writhing like a 30 foot snake out to get her made me burst out laughing. To my utter amazement, within three strides she stopped dead in her tracks. It was quite an athletic feat, really. She even stopped completely squared up, and even though she was still obviously quite petrified, she did not move a muscle as I laughed my way over to her.
Yes, there is great power in laughter. 🙂
The photos are more recent, showing the new and improved Sweetie, calm, relaxed and peaceful.