Right at the beginning of my journey with my horse George, I still was very much afraid of him. So I would prepare his food and watch him in the paddock and when he was the furthest away, I would quickly sneak in, put his food down and leave again.
After a while I discovered that he was not really interested in me but only in his food, so I decided to hang around in the paddock. There was a tree close by which helped me feel at little more secure as I could possibly duck behind it if I needed to.
My fear was still there but my curiosity drove me to discover more.
More and more I built up the courage to wait for him to come closer while I still was standing next to the bucket and I was filled with joy to discover that I was able to hang around.
So now I wanted to touch him and I wanted him to stay with me as I was longing for nothing less than finding a connection with him. I slowly approached him or was waiting for him only to find that he swiftly would move away, flinging his ears back. Nothing would entice him to stay with me.
I felt very sad about this, so I reverted to just put food down for him and leave the paddock. What was going on? I was only just nice to him, I never hit him or scared him, I wanted the best for him.
Nothing prepared me for the discovery I had to make. I realised that whenever I entered that paddock, something in me put me on guard (I was still very afraid and I prepared myself for the worst to happen). I defended myself and he showed me that by not coming close to me, he actually found my energy utterly aggressive and untrustworthy.
My next step in our relationship was to be in the moment, trusting my feelings and flow with them rather than be prepared for the worst outcome, trying to keep my fears in check. George was very much able to deal with me letting my guards down and telling him that I feel vulnerable and scared. I did not need to hide this any longer behind a pretense.
“You can never rely on a horse that is educated by fear. There will always be something that he fears more than you. But, when he trusts you, he will ask you what to do when he is afraid.” Antoine de Pluvinel