Ladybug rolled to a stop from her easy trot and then turned gently to face me, directly head on. I started to raise my finger, the words “walk on” forming on my lips when suddenly, my arm fell limply to my side. I gazed into her eyes and saw such confusion, such yearning, such depth. I took a slow breath and felt a shudder pass through me. A wave of weakness crashed over my body, my heart thudded and missed several beats. It was as if all my life’s energy had flowed out of me into the ground, draining my heart as well as my body of its last reserves. My head fell limply onto my chest, a burning sensation welling up in my stomach and rising like flashing fire. I pressed into the pain and looked up again. As I met Ladybug’s eyes, the clarity broke over me like a hot bath when the cold has been gnawing at one’s bones. Her eyes looked directly into mine asking:
“can we just be?”
I had been yearning to be “friends” with Ladybug since beginning my work at the ranch. We had avoided each other out of mutual respect and aversion, recognizing that the similarities in our histories and personalities would be like a spark to dry grass. We circled each other for weeks. Then, I decided to take the plunge. On a particularly difficult day, I went and stood in the pasture next to her and she stood with me. For as long as I needed, she stood with me. That was all it took. The next day, I put her harness on her and we walked into the pasture together.
That was the start.
After “working together” several times, I had not a chance to circle back to her. She didn’t understand. During my sessions, she would often come and stand in front of me as I concentrated on my participant and their horse. Her eyes questioned me, asking why I wasn’t with her. I always turned away to keep my attention on what I was doing. It was painful but I thought I was making the right decision.
Now, today, I had a chance to “work” with her again. We started with grooming, my favorite activity. What isn’t to like? There is bonding, breathing, and bodily care! So many things “accomplished” in one go! I then led her to the round pen with ambitions to have a “successful” session with her. I imagined her, moving effortlessly at the slightest movement of my arm, gliding around the round pen as if she was being carried on angel wings through the celestial skies. After we “succeeded” at that, I would think of something else that we could “do” together so that I could show her that I was worth her time, that I was worth her trust, that I was worth a relationship.