No Dancer is not a reindeer, Dancer is a horse. A very big mare who up until Monday didn’t want much to do with me.
I first met dancer about 2 years ago when I was called by her person Pat Taylor to trim Sissy, Dancer’s pasture mate. Sissy had foundered and Pat had been referred to my by her Vet. When she called she only mentioned Sissy. When I arrived, I saw that in fact, she had 2 horses and wondered why she had not asked me to trim both. I soon found out.
I arrived and was introduced to the horses. As usual I said hello to them and I always ask the horse permission to pet them and trim them. Sissy was a sweatheart and welcomed me. However, as I tried to approach Dancer she pinned her ears and backed away. And I was quite surprised. I usually get on very well with horses. Most clients tell me how surprised they are the first I trim their horses because I am calm and gentle and their horses respond very well to me. And I do feel very connected and comfortable with horses. I think of it as if “I speak horse”.
I wasn’t too concerned about Dancer’s behavior and thought to myself, oh I she will come around.
For over two years I have been trimming Sissy and the most I had been able to manage with Dancer was a gentle stroke on her nose occasionally. One day when I was feeling very confident I tried to pick up one of her feet. Bad idea. She almost tore the barn down to get away from me. Pat was never sure what had happened to her but she reacted like this to everyone but Pat, and especially didn’t want anything to do with farriers.
So, I gave up. Pat was doing her best to trim Dancer but she is 63 and the most she was able to do was nipper the outside edges to keep the flare down. Which was certainly better than nothing.
Each time I went to trim Sissy I always talked to Dancer and suggested that it would be really great for her if she would let me trim her feet. Over the last couple of years she had warmed up and would even stand close to me as I was trimming Sissy, but any move toward her would send her backing up with ears pinned.
Untill this last Monday. I hadn’t been out to trim for a couple of months and Sissy was way over due. She had had a couple of abcesses and we had to let those heal before I could trim her comfortably. As I was trimming her I realized that Dancer was right beside me and the next thing I know she is nuzzling my back and neck! I can’t tell you how shocked I was and when I alerted Pat, she too, was shocked. She kept saying I can’t believe this. This went on the whole time I trimmed Sissy. She was very gentle and followed me wherever I went. I asked her not to hurt me as she was very close to me and this is a big mare. Probably 16.2 hands and easily 1200 lbs.
This was such a special thing for me because it was so sincere on her part. And I was extremely grateful for her acceptance of me and there was no doubt that we had crossed a threshold in our relationship. I asked her if she had missed me and got more nuzzling.
The next thing that happened was even more remarkable. She let me trim her feet! All four. And while I was doing it she stood perfectly still with her eyes batting in relaxation. At one point Pat said “I think she’s going to sleep”.
It was one of the most profound experiences I have ever had with a horse. It was one of total surrender and trust. And, love between a Human Being and a Horse Being.
It was magical and special and I was overcome with gratitude. I thanked her when I was finished, and to that, I got another gentle nuzzle.
Then as I was leaving, Pat and I stopped in the barn to chat for a moment and here comes Dancer walking right up beside me. It was as if she wanted to say goodbye and thankyou. The sun was streaming in and it was such a beautiful moment. I wanted to and capture it, so I took this photo. She was perfectly still as I took the photo and I think you can see the love and total acceptance in her expression.
I am so grateful to do what I do. I never take for granted to magical connection that I have with animals. It is a blessing and a gift. It is a constant reminder for me of the connection of all living things.
I have come so far in my understanding of horses and what’s possible in the horse/human relationship. One person who really radically changed this for me is Michael Bevilaqua.
Another book that radically changed the way I think was written by Linda Kohanov
I hope you have a beautiful and happy Holiday season and that this story touches you in some way. I love to hear your stories and feedback.
To your pets,