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Of Horses and Women

I rode two mares today who are both processing through their trauma.


The first mare, has been forced into frame, despite her attempts to tell the humans that she was in pain.


If she voiced her concerns, she was met with a draw rein and more circles.


She was not allowed an opinion.


That discomfort started with a head toss and ended in a rearing fit that trashed her rider.


The second mare, had not been conditioned adequately for her job, and therefore had begun having discomfort.


If she voiced her concerns, she was met with a crop or a spur.


She was not allowed an opinion.


That discomfort started with a head toss and a tail swish and ended with a series of bucking fits that trashed her rider.


We can take this 1 of 2 ways:


1.) The horse could do better and learn to not behave so aggressively, regardless on the blatant lack of listening.


2.) The rider could do better and learn to pick up on all the small ways the horse kindly tries to voice her concerns over the well-being of her body.


As someone who’s trauma informed both in women and horses, I always side with #2.


So how do we process this?


We let them have their fucking standards and opinions.


We do what we can to help them, the ones who have been abused (intentionally or not) to feel safe.


When I was riding the first mare, it was in the middle of a hellish windstorm.


The arena door was moving and making awful sounds and it genuinely sounded like the roof was going to fall off.


Her immediate response was to fight, just in case I was going to try to cram her in a frame for my safety.


She was waiting for me “control her” and tell her that “I’m scarier than anything out there and she must listen to me”.


And honestly, I was pretty worried about it too and wanted to do just that, for my own safety.


But it wasn’t about me.


Her owner hired me to ride her and show her that I’m not going to do what’s been done to her.


So I took a breath, felt into my seat and let her go around on a loose rein.


Only when she was calm and not worried about the monsters outside, did I make any attempt at contact.


The moment she got worried again, I dropped it and showed her good faith.


By the end of the ride, she had licked and chewed and released her stress and realized that my wanting contact was to help her move better and be more comfortable, not because I wanted to control her.


She was allowed to voice her concerns.


My priority was to help her feel safe, and when she did, she softened beautifully.


She had a good ride.


Her standard?


To be ridden with consent and a mutual conversation, not to be controlled.


The second mare was going along wonderfully until I asked her to canter, which is when her body historically becomes most uncomfortable.


She lept into a huge bucking moment, and everything inside of me wanted to revert to past-trainer-me and land my split rein on her ass.


But I didn’t.


Because at this point, this is the ONLY way that she knows to express her concerns.


And I’m not going to punish her for having an opinion.


So I rode her through it and let her come back to a trot when she was ready.


I did the work to get her comfortable and happy and then asked for the canter again.


She refused.


Again, I fought every ounce of training I have that says I’m letting her “get away with it”, and I let her just trot.


Rinse - Repeat.


Suddenly, she became willing to pick up one stride of the canter, to feel it out.


No buck!


I let that be enough and repeated the process and eventually we got a beautiful transition and halfway around the arena with her collected and happy and forward.


And when she couldn’t hold it anymore, I let her walk out and then I got off.


She was allowed to voice her concerns.


My priority was to help her feel safe, and when she did, she softened beautifully.


She had a good ride.


Her standard?


She needs to feel safe and comfortable in her body before doing anything more.


How does this translate to women in trauma?


Exactly as it’s said.


You are entitled to voice your concerns and the standards of which you have set should be respected.


Period.


If they haven’t been, you will get louder and become more “crazy”.


(And that is actually a normal response).


How many times are women called crazy?


About as many times as mares are called aggressive and sent away, probably.


What got them there?


Consistent disrespect is the common theme.


You should not dim your light because its truth shines too brightly.


You should not make yourself feel “less” because it’s the kind thing to do.


You should not soften until you are safe.


And you definitely should not make it easier for the people around you to respect your boundaries.


Either they do, or they don’t.


You are allowed to voice your concerns.


You deserve to feel safe before you are required to soften.


You are worthy of having your standards met.




1 ความคิดเห็น


sandykelmarkansas
07 มี.ค.

Well, you just got me! I will follow you anywhere!

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