Horses as Teachers—Rayn and boundaries

Dec 31, 2019

My horses (and donkey, goats, dogs) are always teaching me lessons. Right now Rayn, Wynter, and Sweetness the mini donkey are on another "boundaries" kick. When I was sitting and writing during my morning neurofeedback session, I asked if anyone had anything they wanted to say. Rayn spoke up. Of course. She's quite wordy :-) She wanted me to write this for her, something she remembered from 2012:

She had no boundaries when I first met her. None in any way, shape, or form. But she could hear me and we had her way of training that was fun so I started with that. Creating a bond with her was easy as she was so wide open and needing love. When I think of those early days together, I see her with a huge smile. From the beginning, I asked her not to ride, that our relationship would blossom if she didn't. We spent most of our time playing and just a little riding and I figured it was a start. She would say to me, "I hear you about riding, but I don't understand it—owning a horse and not riding seems so weird." but I could feel her working it out. She boarded me at a jumping barn and when we didn't ride, people would ask why not? "We're just playing today." she'd tell them, not yet realizing that "just playing" was one of the most important things we did together. How else could I teach her?

Back to boundaries though. As I said, hers were non existent and she didn't have a clue about mine. One day, I decided to start the lessons in a way I thought she might get. I call it, "The Dance." When she came out to the big pasture to visit me, I didn't come right to her as I usually did. I picked up my head and looked at her, acknowledging her entrance into the pasture and went back to eating. She stopped in confusion. She called to me. I stayed where I was. I could feel her asking, "Are you okay?" I took a few steps toward her, "Yes." She walked toward me and I turned around and ate the grass behind me. I could feel her stop again. I turned to look at her and flipped my ears toward her. She smiled at me and took a step forward, so did I and then went back to eating. She laughed out loud but waited for me to initiate. We stood there for awhile, 50 yards away, me eating and keeping an eye on her, her watching me for an invitation to join me. I rewarded her patience and new understanding of my boundaries by walking to her. Her heart is sweet and open and she immediately started talking and touching me but that's okay, she's just a baby in all of this.

I found these photos of Rayn from 2012, look how dark she was! I always forget how much her color has changed. Beautiful.

Love to all from the Mother Ranch,


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