What does waiting look like for you? Do you know? Until recently, I hadn’t thought too much about the details of how I wait when my introvert mare, Jesse, has that need. I made sure to take the pressure off, but didn’t worry about it much past that. I’d watch for the signs that she was ready to move on and get back to it. I’ve come to realize that HOW I wait matters. Through coaching from Kristi Smith, 4 Star Parelli Instructor, using the educational resources available through Parelli, a progressive goal, and consistent reflections on self, I have discovered that as an extrovert, my waiting hasn’t been what my horse, who is an introvert, needs. Interesting. What I had done was congratulate myself on understanding that she needed me to wait and given myself permission to move my feet in other ways. I’d go work on a chore, go check the water, go get the next obstacle or tool I’d need, or check my iPhone for emails, Facebook updates, etc. Something to busy myself physically while she processed. I’ve been experimenting with changing how I wait and it really has made a big difference in my relationship with my horse. I asked Kristi about what I’m doing and she reminded me that horsenality is not an excuse and that I have to find a way to do what my horse needs. As I began to focus on waiting = stopping completely and being there with Jesse, I created a mantra to help me…”be the LBI”…or RBI depending on the situation 🙂 Mantras really help me focus. So, I’ve been noticing my instinct to start moving away from or all around her in those moments when Jesse needs me to wait and not put pressure on …but I stop and stand and use my mantra. After a couple sessions I realized this is entertwined with connecting to Jesse’s energy. I saw that it is another way to mirror my horse / match her energy. I now focus on a mantra that reminds me to be there with her; really connect and feel her energy. Did you see the movie “Avatar”? Those moments now make me feel and say to my horse, “I see you”, and I really do. But there’s an even greater gift. Yet again, my horse is providing the treasure of self awareness and growth. Because I am committed to meeting her needs and am focusing on waiting without pressure and on being with her, I am finding this time is wonderful for me to relax my mind. It may not quite be meditation, but it helps me chill out and take moments I haven’t found the ability to do, as an extrovert, until now. I now see honoring Jesse’s introvert needs as an opportunity for moments to relax and find quiet for my very active mind. In the last two weeks my horse has rolled near me more than she has in 9 years. Each time it happens I am so honored and humbled. There is such beauty in this journey, especially in how the little things we change about ourselves can make the biggest difference for our horse.