Our trip off island with Shaman to the Robin Gates Clinic, in our trailer was calm and uneventful. He loaded in about one minute, looking confident and relaxed and off we went to the ferry. Sometimes it's best to pay attention to the flow of things and the road blocks as well! I certainly had had some things standing in my way of taking Rascal and Black Elk.
When we unloaded Shaman at the farm, he was well behaved and contained himself, until he saw the terrifying red and green horses in the adjoining pen! Having always lived 'au natural' he had never seen a horse in a blanket. Off he blasted - fortunately I had long since learned to release a rope easily, so he raced around, snorted and eventually realized, oh, they are just horses!
I could write in depth about the clinic, but it's really something that should be experienced, and it's hard to tell about. Robin's message was: I Am Just Telling You What You Already Know. It's about connection, not force, it's about meeting the horse where the horse is, not demanding he meet you where you want to be, it's about listening to the horse, it's about being loving and compassionate, it's truly about making your relationship with the horse the most important part of being with the horse. It's about just being with the horse!
It's NOT about performance, or dominance or tricks. It's heart opening and fosters self realization. It's spiritual - connecting your spirit with the horse and with yourself. It's magic!
In the video you will see Robin meet Shaman where he was that day. Where he was emotionally - and spiritually. She became like him: you could almost hear him say ' you are just like me!' and then he joined her, and in finding a leader, relaxed. It truly was amazing.
People at the clinic were surprised at how nice a mustang can be; a woman with a very elegant (and expensive) warmblood said she'd be looking at the BLM next time she was horse hunting. A vet said it was such a pleasure to see a horse move so correctly and without any pain. Many commented on his correct conformation, perfect feet, sweet disposition and respect. I felt like a representative sent from the BLM!
This video was on the first day and he was frightened by all the eyes on him. Quite a new experience, except for when he was in the corrals at the BLM in Burns, Oregon. The next day, I made sure I was in the arena with him, as people wandered in, we met each person and I had many offer him a treat, soon he was no longer worried about all those new folks.
I was the last one at the clinic, waiting for my husband to come with the truck. He had been overloaded on the ferry and was running late. I loaded Shaman easily, took off his halter and then in backing out of the trailer he came out with me. Brilliant! Now it was dusk and he was free.
He ran over to see a horse in a pasture down by the driveway. I have to admit, I was thinking Oh boy.... now what! Would he listen to me in this place that was still so new, would he come to me as he does so happily at home, would he be frightened and run? But, all went well, and I walked over to him quietly, waited a moment for him to offer his head and slipped the rope over his neck and put on the halter. Little did I know that I had an audience who were also holding their breath for me! Again, we loaded, this time I was careful to keep him in the trailer!