Lessons From The Paddock
The other month I had to move my horses.
I have to admit I was pretty anxious about it. My last experience having my old horse trucked, when I was 18 years old, had been... well traumatising. For both of us.
So moving two horses, one of which has had float trauma, was nerve wracking. I didn't know how they were going to be on the day or how they would settle in to their new home. New situations and the unknown can be scary, no matter how big or small they are. So i thought I would share what I learnt after this recent experience.
Step 1: Support yourself
Not wanting to relive my last experience, I made sure to choose my transport company carefully. Through word of mouth and seeing them help out a local rescue group, I felt more confident that my horses would be handled in a way that aligned with my own values.
Step 2: Give yourself space
I picked a day were I didn't have anything else I had to worry about and I could focus on the horses. I got to the paddock early and spent some quiet time with them. Grooming and scratching, just making sure they were relaxed as possible. Which helped me to calm down. My being calm supported the horses, so even though the situation was a little scary I was still a safe point for them.
Step 3: Find some one who will support you or aligns with your values
After the first experience of having my horse moved, I didn’t want to hire a random company. I wanted to work with someone who was going to be considerate of my horse and take their time. Rather than just forcing the horses on any which way. I asked for recommendations and did some research until I felt comfortable with my choice. It made such a difference having someone who took their time and was patient when one of them wasn’t so sure about loading on to the truck. It made the whole trip much less stressful for the me and the horses. Working with someone who’s values were similar to mine meant I wasn’t cringing or feeling even more stressed out
When we got to the other end I was expecting my horses to run around and act a bit crazy (which is what sometimes happens when they are put somewhere new), but to my surprised they were much more interested in eating the long green grass in their new paddock. They seemed… well calm. Despite the strange trip in the truck.
The next day I went out to check how they were, expecting them to still be a little unsettled, but no. Two completely calm and happy horses. Which made me realise something. Just because I was nervous/stressed and let’s be honest expecting the worst, didn’t mean the horses were. Because unlike me, horses live in the moment. They were no longer concerned about the events of yesterday. Which is what often happens. We worry or notice something and think that others will notice or worry. When in fact the reality is very different. We spend days stressing about a situation, only to find that it’s not anywhere near the disaster we were imagining.
So my lesson was to feel in to what I needed to support myself - space and working with the right person for example and to realise that my fears were not reality.