Monday, February 12, 2007

A Dangerous Position

Trust is the cornerstone of any good relationship, be it husband/wife or parent/child. For a partnership to work, you need trust.

And so it is with horses, also. The question is, at what point do you begin to trust a wild animal?

This may seem an odd thought process to some of you, but I've spent a lot of time thinking about God and his relationship with us while working with these horses. Who reaches out first? Who gains who's trust? For God to have a relationship with me, first he had to prove himself trustworthy. Once the trust was won and I began to feel confident in our relationship, he then began to ask things of me. Not huge things. Small stuff. It wasn't an instant transformation into Little Miss Goodie Two Shoes (and here's where you can trust me...I'm no where near that point as of yet, lol!) But there's a process that God follows; gain trust, then obedience. Like the hymn, Trust and Obey. Trust comes first, obedience...a willing obedience, not one driven out of fear...follows.

Which led me to a decision to put myself in a position that could have been quite dangerous; one where I gave Sunny the upper hand, or at least the opportunity to pound me into the ground if that had been her choice.

Sunny hasn't been totally frightened of coming up close to eat when the grain has been down at my feet, but she's not wanted to touch the grain scoop as long as it's been in my hand. Today I decided to try a new tactic. I went into the barn where I normally left the grain, and I knelt down on the ground. Being small, I was of little threat, and she could easily smash me if she felt threatened. Sunny wasn't frightened of the dog, so I didn't think she'd be frightened of me, and I was right. She was a bit hesitant, but she stepped forward and began eating the grain while I held the scoop in my hand.

Tait show Sunny how it's done!

Of course, this isn't the road I'd take with just any horse...they're all different and not all will respond the same. Older horses may take more time than younger ones to gain trust. Quiet Storm can be quite a pill when it comes to her feed, so I wouldn't (and didn't) take this approach with her. Sunny hadn't shown any aggression towards me in any capicty, so in a way, she'd earned my trust before I ever tried this.

Another major step today was switching her long, twenty foot rope out for the shorter six foot lead. I'm not sure if that was the wisest idea...but I hated to see her dragging that long one behind her any longer. Plus, Tait assures me she'll help catch Sunny when I need her!

"Okay, mom, here she is. Can I go play, now?"


RoseMary said...

What a great post, Tracey. I appreciate the way you correlated trust with training this horse. Trust and Obey--something we have to learn and re-learn, sometimes, and certainly the way that your wild horses or any animal has to begin to relate to us. Sounds as if it is all going well. I'm so glad you have this blog!

Ellen said...

you reached out first by bringing her home...
have you leaned into her side? trusting her to hold you up?