The Difficult Decision:
I made a difficult decision recently.
I decided to offer Uno, who I consider my equine soul mate, to a dear friend and barn mate for a care lease while her horse is recovering from surgery. This decision has been a huge test in my understanding of using my body compass. Your body compass is a term used by Martha Beck to refer to listening to physical sensations in your body to inform decisions.
No matter how good it feels to my body compass to know that Uno will be well taken care of at a show barn, he’ll be learning and growing with a friend, I’ll still get to ride him once a week AND I will have more time for coaching without feeling like I’m sacrificing his fitness, I still feel deep sadness at not having him at home, as well as a darker, ickier feeling. I cannot express how much I love getting to see him three or more times a day right in my backyard.
The Relationship between Your Body and Icky Energy:
The biggest challenge to allowing my body to guide me has been the icky energy I have around wanting “control” over Uno’s care. When I bought Uno as a four year old he was already astonishingly saddle sour and girth sore, to the point that I considered him dangerous to people unaware of his behavior. Furthermore, he had already dulled himself immensely to people and their aids to the point that I (and others) labeled him as “lazy.” Over the last two and a half years, I have gotten to know Uno better than I have ever known an equine partner. I feel that we have played together past the boundaries of your usual human-equine relationship. With me, he is no longer saddle sour and girth sore. He is still laid back, but far from lazy on the ground and under saddle. I am protective of his progress.
Dissolving the Icky Energy:
I decided to play with this “icky energy.” I sat outside in the quiet, gazing at Uno, Shapparel, Cassie and Sunny. The “icky energy” felt like a muddy bog in my stomach. I played with that bog until it was a green meadow. Then I asked myself “why is it uncomfortable to not have Uno at home?” The immediate answer: “Because I cannot be in control and assure his happiness.” Big sigh and big UGH! One of my deepest rooted beliefs is the thought that I need to control something for it to be ok. Of course, that is not true. Many times things have turned out better because I was NOT in control. Plus, control is an illusion. I have no control over Uno’s happiness. Uno’s happiness is his business and, as a horse, that is his first priority! Furthermore, I realized that, similar to a parent, my protective tendencies were keeping him from growing even more than he already has. He is in a safe place where he will be well cared for with a friend that has been VERY willing to learn about Uno as a being and willing to explore interacting with him in unconventional ways.
I am grateful for this opportunity to have the time to take care of myself more, focus on my business, and develop my relationships with Shapparel, Cassie and Sunny so that we can play our way into the profound understanding Uno and I share. Uno will return home in due time with more experience under his belt (well, girth) and I will have more experience under mine too. I certainly feel the sadness still, and that’s ok. I am simply grieving losing the identity of “Uno’s caretaker,” and keeping my heart and body open to whatever my next identity is in my relationship with Uno.