Horsey Therapist

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Aikido partner at home

I have an Aikido partner here at home. An unusual one. A four legged one. No, not one of the horses. Rather, one of the sheep. Imagine doing push hands with a four horned ram.

Fortunately and surprisingly, I am physically stronger than him. He has dangerous ramming power at speed so I need to take care to engage with him when he is close, not when he is approaching from ten yards away. The impact of that I'm not ready for. I'd like to think that one day I could successfully redirect all that energy and come out unhurt. It is not out of the question, just premature to think I could do that.

But a close encounter with this attacking ram I can handle. And I seek to get smoother, softer with this. The other day when I found myself being attacked -- ram attempting to ram me -- I grabbed two of his four horns and did a mix of redirecting him and bracing myself. I was very relieved that I was able to prevent him from hurting me. I have given it quite some thought, imagining how I might be more successful with redirecting that energy, and less reacting with bracing and brute strength.

Part of me likes having the brute strength so I will have to employ extra awareness and clear intention to break that habit. *g*

Last evening I had a different approach to dealing with this ram who started to show signs of preparing to attack me. I had hay in my arms (the usual scenario) and was headed for the hay box where Sofia and Bo would be eating. I wanted to position myself so Sofia and Bo were between me and the ram -- he does not attack them. Sofia moved off leaving me unprotected. Bo was still near by and I asked him with words and nodding of my head to move there, in the space between me and the ram. HE DID!

He doesn't know that he just earned a higher level of appreciation by his responsiveness. Or maybe he does. He's a dear pony, unruly at times when he gets lost in his own thoughts about what horses should be where, but otherwise so eager to try -- oh gosh, he falls in the Good Student category... one who really tries hard to get the right answer.


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