Day 9: taking it easy, zebras and hot springs

It’s super late so this will be another short post to say that today was a good day. I’m loving our little group of women & the ways we’ve become so connected over these two weeks, and I know I’m going to miss everyone who has been a part of this amazing experience. It’s a remarkable thing when a group of strangers can come together to create a space this warm and supportive and inspired in such a short span of time. I suspect that we will be keeping in touch <3.

Today my training with Lulu continued to be exactly what the doctor ordered for me: soft & slow, quiet & calm. We haven’t made any great leaps forward — in fact, I’ve taken a few small steps back just because I wasn’t sure that she was ready to advance in any of the behaviours we’ve been working on, and I’m glad that I listened to that little voice urging me to take it easy today. I’m learning how to see the subtle signs showing that she’s not quite ready to move on to more advanced/scary things, and it feels good to think that I’m building her trust in humans by respecting her boundaries. I would love to have months to work with Lulu to see her come out of her shell, but I’m reminding myself to be grateful even for this small glimpse into her world and the opportunity to share this time and space with her.

Since I was taking it so easy today, I had a bit of extra time to observe the other horses, especially Mirror, who is looking 100% better with a more confident and knowledgeable trainer. It’s amazing to see that much of a change — from the scattered, nippy mess that I was creating with her, to this really beautiful and calm relationship she has with someone else. It’s a good lesson in non-attachment: sometimes success is knowing when to stop and step aside to let someone else take over. Although in the moment it was really hard, I’m so happy with how things turned out for all of us (and I think the feeling is mutual, which makes it extra nice).

Our day ended with two amazing things. First, an observation session in which Maddy kind of spontaneously worked her two zebras first, and then as she was getting them out of the arena (they did NOT want the training session to end), two other horses broke into the arena, so we saw her work with each of them in turn before she got them out (again, these animals just want to be with her 100% of the time, it is so mind blowingly amazing), and then she ended the session working with a fifth animal, which is the one she was planning on working in the first place. It’s hard to put into words the experience of watching Maddy work with her animals. The connections she has with them seem absolutely magical, but after seeing the time and thoughtfulness she puts into her work with them I can say that it’s not just magic — rather, it is the result of serious dedication and discipline mixed with love and pure passion. So much respect for that incredible young woman.

Maddy working on the Spanish walk with Finn the retired racehorse (photo by Emilee)
Practicing the lay down with the zebras (photo by Emilee)

As if all this wasn’t fantastic enough, we topped off this great day with a visit to the local clothing optional hot springs, so I got to strip down and float around in hot mineralized water, which was just about the best thing ever. And now that I’m all charged up and mellowed out, I’m looking forward to an amazing sleep & a heart-full last day in this magical place with these magical creatures (both human and equine) <3.

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