Building a Common Language
In this video (below), you can almost see Patxi and I creating a new language, letter by letter, so we can better communicate our intentions to each other. I am asking him to try to keep his haunches into the small circle he makes around me (he has a habit of swinging his hips out because of lack of balance and sometimes as an avoidance mechanism--I believe he was trained harshly before he came into my life).
As you know, it's not too hard to get the nose where you want it, but the hind legs, the barrel, the butt? Can be tricky with a guy like this who, when I met him would take flight at the sight of a stick or flag (even a finger) pointed at his hindquarters. Now he knows that I use this tool (today it was a "carrot-stick"...happened to be handy) to help him understand me--it is our little wand of language creation--sometimes it says "go there", sometimes it is used to say "come here", and other times it says "feel this part of your body" or "I'm trying to talk to this part of your body". If you watch closely, you'll "hear" all of this, just as Patxi does!
Like most horses, Patxi is better at one side than the other, but it's not a final, perfect result I am aiming for. My intention was to see if he would engage in figuring things out with me, and this he did do to perfection!
Yes, what stands out to me in this video (and really moves me) is how hard he is trying to listen, understand, and work with me. Patxi! You are light-years away from the reactive, scared, nicely stubborn, evasive, over-obedient boy I dreamt up and found over 8 years ago in Chico, California.
I love you, Patxi. I am so glad that, through study and dedication, I am able to know better and be better for you and to see you feel better and do better as we partner up together and take loving steps toward our golden years.