Up to my neck in freelance design work— yay. Working way too many hours— boo. It’s not forever and ever, and I expect it to end next Monday [famous last words…], but it does give me pause to think about boundaries.

I am aware that my cynicism is wilting under the heat of an equine sun, a fiery star of analogy and awareness. Part of me wants to stay detached, because… well, ‘insert deep thought’ here. If I am detached, in the sense that am I only observing and judging, then I will not change. But I am surely changing whether I like or not. Hey, what’s not to like? The kind of personal discoveries I’m making, on the hoof, as it were, are permeating every area of my life, and boy, can you learn a lot about boundaries from horses.

I once went up to Charlie during feeding time. I decided that I wanted to hang with him, and touched him, so lightly, on the shoulder. He jumped to the side and whipped his head around, ears pinned back, and he snarled at me. Charlie! The gentleman of the yard! Got the message though, and in fairness, we all know it’s impolite to talk with one’s mouth full. I immediately wanted to make it up to him, and tried, but he let me know, in no uncertain terms, that I needed to bugger off. I buggered. And realised that just because the horses are around does not mean they are available.

My own, fiercest boundary has to do with my lesson time. I did not give up my rides this week, nor will I ever, in advancing the state of completion of my nixers. In fact, it is likely that I wouldn’t even have the will to advance their states of completion if I didn’t get my twice weekly endorphin infusion [forget the will to finish: the will to live is in danger, due to the footling about of clients]. This goes for everything, not only extracurricular revenue generators. Well, I went back to the States for my beloved brother’s wedding; missed two lessons there. But I made up for them by going to a stable in Jerz for two sessions.

So if I’m to keep going down this road, then I suppose my next lesson regards the whole leadership thing, making sure that the horse respects me. I’m feeling that I have not been signifying in the Rebel respect sweepstakes lately. Hopefully, without berating myself too much— a very handy way of avoiding a problem, if you ask me, self-castigation taking up the energy better employed in self-investigation— I can work out what I need to do differently.

In the latest issue of Horse & Rider [UK], Linda Parelli is quoted in a feature article saying that if a horse is bucking and rearing, he doesn’t want to be with you, that it’s feedback. Ouch. The conflict between doing what I’m told [get after him!] and falling into what I feel [I’m crap] is a thorny one. The tendency to make it all my fault is overpowering. I suppose I’ll just have to wait and see, and maybe take that holiday from trying too hard. I like to think that the fact that horses have much bigger hearts than we do is symbolic as well as physical. I’ll respect the boundary as I must— but I won’t give up the chance to mend the fence.

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