Max and Terri on a date
You may think of dating as that nerve racking thing you did many years ago. Well it hasn’t changed much as I am sure the younger crowd will attest. The mere thought of it and I can still feel the butterflys, the excitement, but also the anxiety. So now we have to go on dates with our horses??? Whose idea is this? Well, as usual around our barn, it is the horse’s idea.
It starts out innocent enough; kind of like junior high dating. It’s a group activity. We go out to the pasture and the herd and hang out with the gang. No 7-11, but a lot of the same activities. There is the same high social order and it does not take long to see the cliques. The jocks hang out together, the computer nerds are doing their thing and the cool ones are keeping up there image. Occasionally you see the odd pair sneak off to be in private. We presently have Scoobey and Rena (the new beautiful grey girl) in a serious romantic connection. They still bring along a couple of friends, Ulysses and Star to make it look ligit.
You are hanging out with the crowd, trying to fit in, but you have your eyes set one individual. Will he notice you? Will he actually leave his friends and come say Hi. You think about going over but are not sure if it might come off as needy. You saunter by and see if you feel any vibe. He doesn’t notice you. You go and play with another - flirty and fun. It works and you draw him out to you. It is certainly no time to get demanding (by putting on a halter) – no time to suggest he meet your family (going to the stable) – no, it is time to be coy, to be cool. The dance has begun.
After a few of these dates, it is time to get more exclusive. You wait for him to suggest it and you reluctantly go off alone with him. It is only time now until he will be ready to meet the family.
We started noticing the dating thing a short time ago and then during our ladies camp where the women had 5 days to just be with their horses, it really became evident. The first couple of days were all excitement and group activities and then by the end of the week there was some exclusive moments being set up. As facilitator of this relationship week, I noticed that once the one on one dating started I was not even allowed to come near. I approached Terri and her big part Friesen boy Max, to see how it was going and he immediately led her away before we could even start to talk. She understood completely what was happening and as they went off told me not to take it personally. He took her down into a tall grassy area and ate quietly beside her. She eventionaly layed out in the grass and …… well who knows where it went. This was Max who just 2 days earlier could not be separated from his buddies. She had come to camp because she felt his herd bound behaviour was bordering on dangerous. The next week after camp she emailed us with this great note that I will share with you:
I took Max down to the Sheep River yesterday. I asked him before we left if he felt like an adventure out in the beauty of nature.... he was waiting at the fence, loaded beautifully and we had an amazing day! Today I decided to take him for a walk around the yard and let him hand graze (and to show him that not
all days are long ones climbing hills and crossing creeks in the mountains)
obviously home must seem pretty boring ..... the first place he was headed
was up the drive way and down the road..... leaving Cal and Dewey like frantic lunatics and he was such a cool boy, venturing out on his own. He is getting so much more confident!
It was awesome... I could hardly keep up with him! Thanks so much!
Talk soon. Terri
This is Terri and Max, out on their mountain adventure. The girls from the ladies retreat will have a hard time believing this. Even for me it is hard to believe. The change happened after a week of working on relationship where Terri did not get on her horse, just went on dates and spent a morning lying together in the arena. We do not know what effect that has. For me having spent a lifetime teaching, it is even harder. My old programming says I should be able to explain this - that A and B will always reach a predictable C but not so these days. We have to be willing to go along on the adventure, not knowing what the outcome will be. What we are seeing though is that the horses are willing participants once we see the them in a new light.
Max takes on the world