Licked on the head by a Cow.

Winter is finally leaving…..

I’m so happy the snow is melting and although we are having to deal with the mud…I can’t care this year, not in the least. It makes me smile- today I went out with my rubber boots and I was actually jumping puddle to puddle to get to the pasture on purpose like a little kid because it means more to me this year than ever before…spring is on the way!!! 

I took Kiko on the first mock trail ride of the year, the driveway to the ranch is quite long, maybe 1/4 of a mile so we rode down it, just he and I alone and our rapport and respect has never been greater. He would still let me know when he was startled or aware of something and when he wanted to go back to the barn at top speed but unlike the past years he wouldn’t move, it was like he knew that I knew what he wanted and I accepted it and said “that’s okay buddy, I got ya!” and I would ask for more and get even more than I asked for because my awareness of him has increased. 

I don’t really know what changed in me but I do know there is a noticeable change…even in my eyes. I can see that I’m different and I can’t say if it’s only because of the Western Dressage clinic Jack Lieser hosted last year which very clearly improved our communication or if it’s also because of his injury and how we handled that together. I see now that I used a lot more energy and intention when he was injured in sheer desperation of trying to read him and how he felt. I hadn’t done that before because logically I didn’t know if it made sense, but like I said I was desperate so I was trying everything and something shifted in us for the better. 

Whatever it is, I’m so glad I’m at the spot I am now, I realize I may be a softee, I may not be even a “good” horsewoman or even a good enough leader for a horse but the one thing I do have is a really great relationship with my horse….and I’ve started to realize that’s all that really matters to me. I want to get better, I want to be “Great” someday but even though I’m not there, I LOVE what my horse and I have today. So being good or even great is a dream but my reality is fuckin fantastic and I’d be a moron not to see that. 

Today he was laying in the pasture sunbathing, I walked up to him and pet him on the head like we had done this a million times. We had not, this is the first time I’ve approached him laying down and he did not get up. I just felt with my senses and was able to rub him around his shoulders and back and butt, he didn’t care, he was enjoying it! I sat down next to his shoulder finally and slung my arm over his back and we just sat there together in the pasture soaking up the sun enjoying the weather together. 

I think sometimes that time with them in their environment can be even more important to them for bonding than riding can. 

I say that because I had all the other horses in the pasture except for Blue who’s used to my hanging out for hours with them just being another “horse” the other horses though, I counted 6 of them that NEEDED to sniff noses with me because they could not figure out what I was doing just being there, hanging out for so long walking around. 

I’m not sure how many people have read my previous blogs but since horses communicate with eachother by sniffing noses for a while (check it out, it’s pretty cool, one will initiate, the other smells and ends up licking and chewing after they turn their head…because they haven’t learned anything new since this happens all the time, I can only conclude it’s a transfer of info like in cats) I’ve noticed that putting a picture and intent of just hanging out with them, it causes a really LONG drawn out sniffing my nose period. Since I started opening myself up to it, I’ve noticed more and more horses willing to do it…..and not attempting to bite or do anything crazy. Trust me, I know it sounds hokey…I’m an IT professional for crying out loud Logic is what I understand but horses seem to be pushing something else out of me that initially I would have said was “crazy” but can’t because of what I see and feel. I fight with myself over this, my logical with my….well, what I guess is my artistic senses side. It’s not something I would normally entertain but with horses, it’s expanded something inside me that I’m just kind of going…Okay, this is interesting, lets just open my heart and mind and go with it and go by feel. Sometimes that makes me feel crazy but again it’s getting me places with my own horse that I haven’t been before so I can’t help thinking maybe as crazy as it feels that’s what I need to go by. I don’t need to humanize my horse, I don’t need to dictate but what’s really wrong with trying to expand to feel or understand him without going too ooey gooey let me make up an emotion for you on him? 

This brings me to the title of the post. There are 4 cows at our ranch- they are used for cow sorting. Used to being chased by people on horseback. One castrated male and 3 females. Since working with energy levels with wild horses and trying to refine it with my horse I thought what a great opportunity to play with my energy with a true prey animal that’s afraid of humans. 

Every time I go to the ranch, I go out to the cow pen and just hang out…I try to give the same impression and intention I do with the horses, I’m just one of you hanging out. It’s taken 3 months for me to develop a “friendship” based on trust with the male, the females come up to smell me like they have seen the male do many times now but they kind of shudder and step back quickly, very nervously, but the male has gotten really friendly all of a sudden. Two days ago he walked straight up to me, sniffed me tentatively as he’s done ton’s of time….and then with a confidence I had never seen before shoved his head under my fingers and rubbed gently up and down. Not crushing them, not pinning my hand like a bull would do to something threateningly but very gently yet firm. So on pure guess I started to scratch his head. He was loving it, offering different angles and stepping up so I could get above his head and onto his neck. It was kind of surreal that I was able to finally touch this cow who was so afraid of me the first time I came to the fence and he was so willing to open the floodgates when touch was initiated, I was in heaven. 

Today I went out again and this was the third time I was able to scratch him, but then something happened that blew my mind even further. One of the females, who was very skeptical of me sniffed me and then did the same thing the male did but more tentatively probably because I had never touched her before, but she dipped her head under my hand after sniffing it and kind of nudged me very gently…it was like a feather…so I just went in, with the SAME energy as I did the male, normally I would start over but for some reason I thought nah, she’s seen me…even though this is new to her she has seen my energy and I just went in and scratched the shit out of her like I do the boy…and she did the same thing he did even though she had never been touched by me before! She spent a full 10 minutes or so by me scratching her face and head. Then she was done so I just rested on the fence, she and the male decided it was time to eat so they munched on the hay that was under them (right infront of me so they didn’t move) and suddenly the male stopped, looked at me while chewing and reached his head out of the fence and licked me on the forehead…then he went back to eating.

I laughed, I don’t know why…it was just so surreal! I can’t really explain why that was such a high point for me but for some reason it was like the cherry on top of the beautiful day to have a cow look at me, considering me, Lick my head and go back to eating. 

Maybe I really am nutz, we all know that runs rampant in horseowners but if this is crazy…I think I like it. 🙂 

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