He Screams With His Ears

05 Oct

What I am feeling is “okay”.

It took a good reminder to convince me that it is okay to feel what I feel about my horse.  Some people don’t understand. It’s okay.  For me, it’s about being safe and having confidence.

With that, I started Parelli Level 2 this evening.  I had started it a couple of years ago after Level 1 but was not able to really focus on it or make any commitments that would have a positive result.   It was so good to listen to Linda and her counterpart, Dr. Stephanie Burns, and better understand where I am in my comfort zone—and in the not-so-comfortable zone. 

One evening while riding Carter in the south pasture along with my sister-in-law on her mare, I was feeling great and Carter was responding well.  My confidence level was much higher and I could tell Carter was enjoying himself.  C sat on her horse while I rode up next to her and we sat in their backs and talked about it all.  I noticed something changed in Carter.  He seemed flexible, but his ears were positioned differently.  C said, “he’s just listening to you, that’s all.” 

But I know where his ears are when he is listening to me.  This was different.  I went to move him forward and he did not step.  A bit more of a squeeze and I felt the tension below me.  I took a very deep breath myself and as I exhaled I totally relaxed as if like jello on his back.  His ears remained as they were.  C told me to give him more nudge.  But I didn’t.  I knew.  Something was very different.  He had lost all confidence. 

I was not going to let that get to me.  But I was not going to be unsafe about it.  We were going to finish that evening on a good note.  I got off.

Carter is an Arabian and he is a bit jumpier than most warm bloods.  I have relied on ear position and tension in his stride to determine his nervousness.  Perhaps I watch his ears too often.  Everyone tells me this.  I have more to learn.  But I am glad I paid attention.  For Carter screams with his ears.  I can read him like a book!

We played at liberty all the way back to the gate.  I loved every minute of it and once I got him moving again and focused on something other than the dark dragons behind the trees, I could tell he was having fun.  We have a lot to learn about liberty but the ground games I played with him were very simple.

C asked if I was going to get back on.  By this time, I did not feel safe to get back in the saddle and for once I was glad to say it.  Would you get on a horse when you don’t feel safe?  Of course not!   And I am not going to fake it either and be a big gal and prove to everyone on the porch that I have control of my horse and I can ride well. 


I will get there when I’m good and ready.  And I will get there when Carter is ready. 

I just watched the first video of Parelli Level 2 with Pat, Linda and Dr. Stephanie and it confirmed to me that I need to pay attention to how I learn and that what I am feeling right now is a-okay!

Time to set some goals.


Posted by on October 5, 2010 in My horses, Photography


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

7 responses to “He Screams With His Ears

  1. wildstorm

    October 5, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    Did I mention how overweight my horse still is?

  2. Bobby

    October 6, 2010 at 8:53 am

    I love reading about connections.

    This is a great post on many levels. This makes me smile an awful lot.

    I needed that…

    Thank you,


  3. Pastor Larry

    October 6, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Over weight? Perhaps you need to ride him more 🙂
    Love the picture.

  4. Kathy

    October 6, 2010 at 10:25 am

    This is so wonderful. Horses aren’t like cars….and you need that connection, for sure. Good for you for paying attention to your beautiful partner!

  5. Sunny

    October 7, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Anita, this is so interesting ~ you are really deeply connected, you and Carter. I was ‘hooked’ by your post. Wishing you a nice day , what there is left of it.

    I’m waiting for my new ‘visiting’ nurse to get here.
    2:30pm was the appointment she set. but maybe traffic held her up ~~

  6. doanli

    October 8, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Hoping Carter gets his patience back.

    Amazing about how you can tell what a horse is feeling by looking at his ears!


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