Before I turn my small herd of ranch geldings back out into the pasture, I spray their tender bellies, necks and foreheads with fly spray. I’ve been doing this for years and some of them actually stand so still…I know they appreciate the slight relief it gives from those pesky “moscas” (flies)
Tom, who usually rebels against most things, even stood calmly so when Preacher, who is usually willing, decided he wasn’t going to cooperate…I was a little annoyed.
That inner voice told me to take it easy and be generous with my time. Preacher didn’t offer resistance other days. But when I sprayed his forehead and he started throwing his head around and whacked me on the top of my head…my “generousity” flew out the window.
I knew better than to put myself in this getting whacked, position and yet, here I was. I was mad at myself and a little bit frustrated with him as well. I slapped him on the side of his neck with the end of the lead rope, which is like whipping myself with a wet noodle…but it sent him over the edge and then I had a whole new problem. One that I had just created.
He went from a horse that was annoyed to a horse that was wide-eyed and had just lost trust in me. He knew I had lost my temper.
We do that with people too don’t we? Maybe not too proud of how we handle a situation so we gloss over the truth a little when retelling the story and then get caught in what we thought was a little white lie. Only now…we have a whole new problem. The person we were talking to doesn’t trust us anymore. They don’t say that but people know the truth when they hear it. You can tell what they are thinking. Maybe you have caught someone “embellishing” on the truth. It doesn’t wreck your relationship but you might think to yourself…how much of what this person says, is the truth?
Back to Preacher. I have learned through the years, it is best to re-establish trust right away, while the incident is fresh. So I recreated the head tossing scenario but with a calm mind and peaceful energy. Horses read your energy and intention to determine how to react. I went to get my spray bottle I filled with water for just this kind of training and proceeded to spray him everywhere. Under his chin, his ears, all of the sensitive places…all the while talking to him and watching as his eyes went soft again and he lowered his head and started licking his lips.
In horse language, that means…Okay, I get it. You aren’t going to eat me.
The water bottle spray was the equivalent to telling the person you just “embellished” to…well, maybe it wasn’t quite like that…actually what really happened was…
Horses are an excellent integrity monitor.