That title comes from my father-in-law!  He would be sitting at the table – everyone would be talking – suddenly he would raise his hand and say – ‘Permission to Speak’!  We would all laugh – it was his special saying so he could get a word in!

I imagine that this was what Ducati was trying to say to me!  And maybe he was trying to find a way to confide in me – just like my ‘friend’ in the last post!

I’ve posted this video before – but here it is again – showing his reaction when I touch him.

This isn’t the only way he tried to tell me.  Here is another video as I go to the mounting block.

The nicker is deceiving.  And I was so busy going through the steps.  I thought I was doing textbook clicker work – but Ducati was revising the textbook!  He had been desperately calling out – Permission to Speak!

As my confidence grew over my own feelings about stepping onto the mounting block – the one way conversation intensified.  I had also gained confidence over the course of trimming Magnum’s hooves.  I’d managed to trim a wild horses’ hooves!  Wow!  I was amazing!  I could do anything!  Hopping on Ducati would be no problem!!!

The confidence made me go faster and think less – I was wrapped up in my own importance!  I was going through the clicker training steps like a shopping list rather than allowing my horse to really speak.  And what was worse – I KNEW he would throw his head up when I touched him – and I dismissed it.  I think I felt under pressure to ride – from myself – and from imaginary others – or rather from the ‘norm’ in the horse world that you just get on and ride.  I was still being seduced by old thinking patterns.

This situation with Ducati  was like the story of New Improved Heather and the friend who wanted to confide in her – but knew NIH would turn it around to be about her!  Unlike a relationship with a friend – who would end up just avoiding you, a relationship with a horse can quickly become dangerous – and it did!

But it was only after the accident that I realised I had left many things off the clicker training shopping list. Had I added more, I may have finally heard him – or I may have avoided such a nasty fall.  What were they?  Well, have a helper stand there to feed treats – don’t just suddenly disappear onto his back.  Practise on the ground taking treats from the riders position.  Get fit for riding.  Do more ground work with the saddle on… etc. etc.

Apart from him not being properly prepared, it was his body he was trying to tell me about.   He could nicker about getting the puzzle right by heading to the mounting block, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t in pain.  If you haven’t read this post – it will give you more detail.   Part 144 – Horse Crash Investigation!

He was eventually diagnosed with an injury which would have occurred when he was very young, would have been manageable for him for many years – and now he just couldn’t have a rider on him.  My vet told me not to ride him – and don’t let anyone else ride him.

So I learnt the hard way that it wasn’t good enough to just be New Improved Heather,  I needed to spend more time learning the art of two way communication.

What happens when you get that conversation just right?  Well – let’s talk about that next time!



2 thoughts on “Permission to Speak!

  1. Yes it can be really hard to acknowledge what our horses are (trying) to tell us! Once you do, it becomes easier. Thank you for sharing your story. I think it’s a story most horse people can relate to! At least I can!

    Liked by 1 person

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