"Calm is contagious." -Commander Rorke T. Denver
Have you ever made a glowstick glow? When the outer container is flexed, the inner container breaks. Lately, I've been working on Sportie's flexion, since both of us are getting up in years, and a little bending and stretching does both of us good, calming us down and making the day a little brighter.
I do a few yoga stretches before bedtime every night. It calms my mind down and centers me, allowing me to fall asleep instead of letting all the monsters crawl out from beneath my bed to worry me like they used to. The more I learn about working on flexion in horses the more it seems that, like yoga, bending can help to tame the monsters that Sportie is afraid of also.
This morning after a great night's sleep I led Sportie into the grooming area and, before cross-tying him, I tugged gently on the lead rope to get him to turn his head first to his left shoulder for a nice ear scratch, then to his right shoulder for another nice ear scratch. The wind was rattling the metal barn shingles and our two peacocks were noisily playing tag on the roof of the nearby shed, but Sportie had focused on me as he stretched his neck and he yawned, ignoring the chaos.
Sportie's serene gaze helped me focus on him instead of the clanging and I yawned along with him as we relaxed together. After getting him tacked up, we walked into the arena as an airplane flew low overhead. Sportie sidestepped ears on alert. Thankfully he stood still while I mounted but started walking off before I had my feet in the stirrups. Again I flexed his neck towards his left shoulder and briefly held it until he relaxed into the bed, blinking slowly at me. I blinked back, we let out a long relaxing breath in unison and enjoyed a calm ride. When you take the time to be flexible, everyone wins.