“My Horse should know I love her”

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Well, I have my computer back and I can’t believe how dependent I am on that hunk of metal. Hahaha. I felt like I had lost a few fingers there, not being able to look at emails, Facebook, my student’s progress in their online courses, answer questions, write a blog, and continue working on my book.

I was very thankful that my business partner and friend, Mark, was able to back me up in all of those areas and especially on the blog last week. I really enjoyed his story and I hope you did too. I’m trying to get him to write more often. We will see.

Anyway, while I was essentially forced into a week of vacation, I got to hang out with Apollo more often.

Being with him and just hanging out, taking walks through the trails, and exploring did us both some good. It really calmed my mind, relaxed my body, and allowed me to accept being on this forced vacation.

It was a “staycation” as they say. I stayed in my hometown and enjoyed being with all my animals and I tried to just relax.

I also worked on my pond and expanded it as we had an increase in the koi population over the winter. I found out, the hard way, that keeping the pond at 70 degrees to keep the koi alive over the winter also encouraged breeding. And since the natural predators like snakes and frogs were hibernating, the koi multiplied. They went from 4 koi to 12 so I had to expand the pond to allow more space for all the babies.

While I was outside, I also noticed these things burrowing out of the ground, climbing on the trees, and making a lot of noise.

I’m not sure if you know about the 17-year Brood X Cicadas, but these big flying bugs are all emerging now and congregating in mass. They are saying the numbers are in the BILLIONS just here in Maryland. That’s a lot of bugs!

Just imagine a bug that is about 2-4 inches long, makes a constant loud noise, has red eyes, and flies around close to the ground. It sounds like the start of a horror movie.

The good thing is that these huge bugs are harmless to people and animals. Through research I found out that they are actually good for the environment.

They naturally prune trees and bushes, they aerate yards, they are a great source of protein for any animal that eats them…birds, frogs, fish, squirrels, and even dogs. Plus, once they die off, their bodies are an important source of nitrogen for the growing trees. And they don’t bite, sting, or do anything harmful to humans.

They must taste good too, because the birds, frogs, squirrels, and my dogs are going nuts over them as if they were candy. They say they are also safe for human consumption and that they taste like asparagus, but I’m not going to try them.

This is a unique, natural phenomenon that happens nowhere else on earth but here in the Eastern half of the United States. It really is incredible to watch and listen to.

When I first heard the sounds of the Cicada, I instantly felt an abundance of joy and happiness. It was instinctual and automatic. It was strange to feel an automatic happiness when I heard them, and I had to really think about why I felt that way.

After a while it came to me… their sounds reminded me of the best summer I ever had as a child. There was an emotional tie for me between their sound and a very wonderful summer when I was a child.

I can remember that summer so clearly – my dad teaching me how to ride a bike, getting my first horse, being able to do things on my own for the first time, putting in a new pool at home, and so many other joyous moments. I was only 5 years old. This all happened the same summer that the cicadas came out and it was the first time I had ever encountered this phenomenon.

So, I can see why my memory put them together. The first time I ever saw or heard cicadas in my lifetime and all these other wonderful firsts in my life.

I didn’t realize that my memories were attached to this event and that hearing the sounds of the cicada and seeing them would bring back such amazing emotions of pure joy and happiness.

It was interesting to me how our emotions can be so strong and automatic at the same time.

With the cicadas emerging from their 17-year slumber, I couldn’t be outside enough. The sounds brought back a flood of amazing feelings and memories. I even slept better listening to their sounds.

I know that anyone else who is experiencing this phenomenon probably thinks I’m crazy for feeling this way. I have heard so many people say that they are too loud, there are too many of them, it’s scary to see them in such mass, and that they are just “pests”. But I am thrilled to be here in Maryland for this.

This is only the second time that I have been here in Maryland to be a part of this phenomenon. I moved to California before the second 17-year emergence happened. This is the third time it has happened in my lifetime.

The cicada only last about 5 weeks and then they are gone for another 17-years. And because of the cicada, this summer feels like it will be the second happiest summer of my lifetime.

Luckily, the horses don’t seem to be afraid of them and don’t mind them flying around. These bugs actually started an interesting conversation with one of the horse owners at the boarding facility.

It started out about cicadas but ended up being about past trauma and fear memories in horses.

Here’s how that went…

We started talking about how she “hated” the cicadas because they scared her, and she didn’t like bugs. I tried to tell her the benefits of the cicada and that logically they were nothing to be frightened about.

I was trying to help, but it didn’t make a dent.

Her memories of the cicada were very different than mine. She remembered them as intrusive and when they showed up it stopped her from playing outside, they kept her from being with her friends over the summer, and she had to stay inside with her family who she didn’t get along with.

Most of her memories were bad because she had some trauma that occurred that summer with her family. So, those traumas then became attached to the memory of the cicada.

This then got us talking about how our emotional memories carry forward over the years and have an impact on our behaviors consciously and subconsciously. Her memories were full of dislike and anxiety about what she couldn’t do when the cicadas were around and mine were full of the happiness and adventures that had happened at the same time.

Both emotional memories were automatically brought up with the sounds and sights of the cicada. But both were not necessarily good or bad because of the cicadas exactly. The good or bad outcomes weren’t specifically caused by the cicada, they just happened at the same time as the cicada had emerged.

So, it is interesting that there was such a strong emotion brought out in both of us by the sounds and sight of the cicada, when the cicadas weren’t the real reason that we had those emotions in the first place. Do you see where I’m going here?

Horses and their past traumas or fear memories.

Many of the horse owners I’ve talked to that have a horse that is anxious, nervous, and spooks often refer to their horse as having past traumas or current issues due to their past treatment.

And they are usually correct in thinking this. And knowing what the issue is or not, there is always a way to help your horse get through these emotions. There is also a specific process that needs to be taken when training or working with a horse that is anxious, nervous, spooky, and unpredictable or unreliable.

But I want to bring this added part up for you to think about when you are trying to figure out what your horse is afraid of or why he is spooking when he does…

…Trauma memories are 100% EMOTIONAL and 0% logical

So that means that sometimes you can figure out specifics like … your horse is afraid of the halter because someone abused him while being haltered. Or maybe your horse is afraid of the lunge line because a past trainer abused your horse with it.

But sometimes, it has nothing to do with what caused the issue and has everything to do with the feelings they associate with the trauma and whatever else occurred at that same time. Therefore, making no logical sense to us. Just like me instantly feeling joy when I heard the cicada. That was emotional, not logical.

Lucky for us, the process to help your horse is the same whether you know the cause or not. It is good to be able to pinpoint the root cause and fix that, as it is quicker and easier to understand. However, it is not always that easy and sometimes not the only cause. Sometimes you just need to work on the emotional aspect of the issue.

One thing this lady said to me that struck a chord was, “My horse should know that I love her and would never hurt her and therefore she should get over whatever is making her nervous”.

That’s thinking logical.

She said this because logically she expects her horse to just get over his issues because she should know that she loves her and that she has never hurt her in the past. “Doesn’t she know that there’s nothing to be afraid of?”, was her next statement.

Trauma and fear memories are emotional not logical. Just as the way she and I reacted so differently to the 17-year cicadas emerging. Even though they didn’t directly cause the suffering she went through or the happiness I had during the summer the cicada first emerged when we were young…the current cicada event was bringing up feelings in both of us from when we were young.

So, if you are frustrated about not being able to fix a long-time issue with your horse because you can’t figure out the root cause or you have tried and tried repeatedly to figure out why your horse is anxious or nervous, don’t give up.

But do look at it from a new perspective.

Maybe it’s just emotional and you have to go slower and work on the emotion, not the actual issue that you see. Maybe it’s time to bring in help. Someone who can show you in an easy to follow, easy to understand, step-by stop proven process that can help your horse be the strong, confident, trusting horse you know he or she can be.

Sometimes there isn’t an easy answer to why your horse is acting the way he or she is, but there is always a simple solution that will help both of you work together to resolve the issues.

If you’re interested in learning more about this process, please give me a call and we can discuss what’s going on with you and your horse and I will try to help. If I can’t help you, I have a few resources where I can direct you that may help depending on the issues.

This is a complimentary call as I really am interested in helping as many horses and loving horse owners as I can be the perfect combination together and have forever homes.

There is nothing better than being with a horse you trust and feel confident about, that only has your best interest at heart and is safe to be around. Whether that’s on trails or just at liberty, it’s a great feeling and I want to help you get there.

Here’s the link to schedule a call. I’m here if you or your horse needs me.

https://teddiezieglerhorsemanship.com/book-call-int/

If you have a friend that could use this, please pass it along and I will extend the complimentary call to them as well.

Ps… here is a recording of what my backyard sounds like all day long.

 

 

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  • It's interesting the different perspectives that the cicada singing brings based on someone's experience. It reminds me of the butterfly story. Many of us think the butterfly is beautiful as it flitters around but those who own farms or grow veges hate them as they eat their cabbages, etc.

    I was aware that my current horse (who I have now owned for five and a half years) was the most spookiest horse out on my rides that I have ever owned. When discussing this was someone she said she reckoned that my subconcious fear of falling off again ( I got dumped in the first Spring I had her after a summer drought) was feeding her anxiety. She had been very looky even when in the first 9 months I had her, but I realised was probably still truth in what she said. I also ride mainly bareback, so one is a little more vulnerable if there is an incident. I have had a lot of near fall off's due to her shying at something. I was reminded that before I got dumped in the paddock there would been a lot of little warning signs that I had not heeded.

    Doing Teddies courses have helped as I have learned to listen to my horse. I don't get on if she seems all over the place. A few times lately I did happen to jump on against my better judgement and there were incidents because of it.

    My focus has been a lot less on riding and more on hanging out and connecting and it has been a wonderful journey. The last time I floated her out a beach half an hour's drive away, she took me for a walk down the beach. I did try getting on at one point but she didn't want me to so I didn't. We kept on walking. I have experimented lately with taking her off the lead down our local beach and park quiet and seeing if she stays near by. She does. Recently I picked up her deposit of pooh on the beach. She didn't want to come with me to the side of the beach where I could deposit it into the trees/bushes, so I flung the leadrope around her neck and said, ok. You stay there and I will go and dispose of your pooh. I had no idea whether she would continue walking down the beach or take off. As I moved to the side I watched her take two steps, then stop. She waited for me to come back. I was out of sight for a short time. I was stoked.

    I am trying to work out why she doesn't want to get back on the float when we are heading back from somewhere which has been an ongoing issue, unless she is really hungry as I always put food on the float. (Take the easy option as Teddie would say :)). I have an old 1975, one and a half float. Tomorrow I hope to borrow a friend's one to take her to a beach which is a double float. I am going to see if there is any difference in her behaviour. My friend's float is up for sale at the end of the year so it could work out quite nicely. We shall see. 🙂

    That has been really fun.

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