I have realised over the last week just how much Fox has taught me.
Fox has taught me patience, the importance of awareness and openness in communication with horses. Commitment, focus, the importance of goals but at the same time, the knowledge that things sometimes don't happen quite the way you want them too or as quickly as you want them to and being ok with that. He's taught me more practical things, especially this last week about physiology, anatomy and function. He's propelled me on a learning journey probably unmatched by anything I have done before. And most importantly that I have SO much more to learn (especially about feet, I never want to go through a bad farrier again!)
He's been a hard, demanding teacher at times but sometimes that's what it takes to wake up someone stuck and content in their old ways. He has slowly grown to trust me and this has been a huge reward all by itself.
This last week, with nothing to do with him but cold hose and rub him with tennis balls has actually been rather nice. The pressure is gone. It's just you and your horse, hanging out not demanding anything of each other. Fox will stand patiently while I hose his leg, something he never used to do. He stretches and yawns as I massage him with a tennis ball. In some ways it's far more enriching than what we used to do. It takes up far more energy and requires much more of a focused approach. It's a carefully thought out routine of handgrazing, massage, cold hosing, booting and administering of various potions and powders.
I do miss riding though. I know Fox is going to be a far better horse after this process is finished. But I miss it. My dad suggested maybe finding another horse to ride while Fox is out. I'm still toying with the idea but am leaning towards the conclusion that another horse would either take valuable time away from Fox or would be neglected while I focus on getting Fox better. It's a tricky one. Maybe I can find someone that will let me ride now and again.
Back on track now. There is a somewhat common view that every horse has something different to teach its person. Anyone out there had the benefit of an equine teacher? What did it teach you?