Do you wrap your horse in bubble-wrap?

My bubble wrap got burst one by one… here is the story.

 Yesterday Acute & I found each other in the round pen once again working, building trust, rounding-up, moving the haunches, you know the routine, the ground work- collected. This is the same round pen a year ago that she walked steadily going to the left. Something seemed “off” it was if she was on the walker and just going through the motions. The going to the right is a hit and miss depending on the day, some days easy and then some days the mind process is reeling except back to the left she decides is the routine. After a few falls and mentoring, I’ve learned enough about my skills to entrust my gut and find that I am working on my personal fear factor of “what if she rears” so our ground work continues for the upcoming ride, whenever that time comes. I respect how much power she has in muscle, I’ve watched her races, studied her individuality and logically understand the factor that she could kill me if I am out of connection and there still creeps in moments that she comes up with a new soccer maneuver that puts my head back into the play book.

I’ve had to learn to let go of time expectations and go with the moment.


Yesterday was one of those days, going to the right was just blocked. Then after calculated contemplation in my head, “maybe just allow her to go, no line, nothing and see what unfolds” then I noticed my panic, of the “what if’s… what if she falls, what if she attempts to launch the panel & misses, what if it is the wrong timing” and the ping pong ball started across the table. The two of us just stood there in the center of 60m panels and I stopped in silence, closed my eyes and un-hooked the lunge line. She walked up to a panel & looked over her right shoulder to me in the center, I pointed to the right and she moved in a walk. Within blinks of my eyes she decided to run, like really run, like there was no stopping her, except she wasn’t in flight, she was well aware of our space and I just found myself watching, not stopping her, not putting her into a bubble, just allowing our space, my heart began panicking and I began that second guessing myself on time again. The question of “well great, did I just set us back a few paces?” crept in and in that heart racing moment; I just returned to breathing. Deep inside to find a center stillness, it was if time stood still, entrusting that she knew where I was. I listened to every pounding step around me without asking anything and I just raised my hand up, she stopped and came to the center. It was our routine, she knew where she was the whole time and thank God she knew I was in the middle.

Acute needed that run, wide open; I needed that to just allow and we just came together in a bond that was solidified- my husband was in awe and so was a small part of me of “today worked” we got somewhere. I realized the one simple thing in that moment, she took my identity and ran, we both slept like rocks. This morning I woke up so concerned of her having filling, heat, being unsound and reality was, she was out like a light at 7am, covered in shavings and nickered like, “Good morning Mama, I feel excellent” I checked her out, no heat, no lameness, nothing- she joined right up, gave her breakfast in which she had no interest and just seemed to be checking me over the same way.

For the past year, I’ve placed Acute in this bubble wrap, like really 1,000 pounds, in plastic padding of lots of what if’s. My identity of the need to protect vs allowing, the reason of her retiring from the track was for her, except reality it was for me.  The intent of adding to my barn was never there prior to our paths crossing, when my body broke out in hives after the first time we worked together I contemplated on why would I go back to her stall, the drive of an hour and half heading home was excruciating pain emotionally and physically; fortunately I dropped an ego of why and we came back together 8 more times before she was home.

What I learned in this experience is that the more I held onto these thoughts of “what if’s” the more I stopped our progress. Tomorrow may be a whole new box that happens to open, today though- we got to another step.

So as you go connect with your horse, ask yourself is there a “what if” that stops your progress?

All the Best to you and your horses in Health,

Lisa @ Bonito Cheval