A couple of days after the event that inspired the post about “The Most Beautiful and Talented Dressage Pony”, I was out on a trail-walk with Hope a fair ways away from the house. We were enjoying our walk until she heard a sound at one of the nearby construction sites. She began to get panicked–explosive–rather quickly. Rather than get small, and try to hush her, soothe her, and quickly shuffle back towards a comfort zone, I grounded myself, found my center, and viewed in my head the most dignified, calm, loving, full, un-phased version of Hope I could. I asked her to join with me and to join in her body.
I asked her to do some lateral exercises and experimented with asking her to move various parts of her body in different ways, in different amounts, at different angles. These exercises helped her to find awareness of herself and her body. I asked her to find her body–verbally repeating it out loud so that everything I did was from that intention. At one point, I began doing the massage technique called “Tapotement” (softly patting her with the palms of my hand in a soothing but wakeful rhythm) to help her find her body and her center, all over her barrel, her shoulders, and her hind end on both sides. All the while I continued to picture that special mare, ask her to find her body, to stay with me, and to bring her attention back to us.
Hope calmed, found her body, her feet, and found her place. She still needed reminders, but she was able to stay with me. She lowered her head and walked inside of her body, consciously with me. This is a big step for her, and a big step for me. I now understand what she needs as well as how to help her get there.