It was a beautiful t-shirt weather day yesterday so I got some work done and shot out for a ride. Just a cruisy one because after all the rain we've had thru last week it's as slippery as hell out there and can't affoard to chop up to much of their winter grass! So when it was all over 1/2 hour later and neither of us had broken a sweat I gave him the choice of grass or a feed (only time he gets a feed is after he's been ridden so he does quite like them! but on the other hand they're grazing thru some long grass at the moment that the frosts have hammered and altho the quantity is there the quality isn't, so he likes to scoff the short rich grass down where we mount up!)
So I say right Mac we've finished, grass or a feed? My logical brain gets directly involved and guesses "both" and I know that's me not him, but I wait for a word or an image from him and it doesn't come!
Now I know how I had to find Joe in the end and when I finally did, what I get from Joe is very much "word" orientated, and I know Mac and I are VERY intune with each other but I'm waiting for a nice clear answer from him.... and waiting..... and getting frustrated! And waiting some more..... !!!! What is going on? Why can't I hear my one true love?! So I vent at him and while I'm venting I realise that a very clear "knowledge" that the answer is "grass" is there too... no words, no images, but a knowledge that there really was no choice involved at all, it was simply grass and a sense of calmness with that knowledge. So I unclip his leadrope and tell him to scoff fast while I go and brush the mud off Roger so his cover can go back on...
He eats and sees me walking back towards him and starts eating at double speed (so funny to watch) so I tell him I'll grab some firewood first, load the wheelbarrow up and chuck that over the gate and head back to him, still eating furiously and watching me like a hawk. Anyone would think he's starving!
Anyway, the point of it is to show you how hard it can be at times to recognise things as "them" not us, and how we can look for the obvious and miss seeing (hearing) the subtle due to it.
Mac doesn't give me words, not like Joe (or some animals I talk with) he gives me feelings and subtle thoughts... often I only recognise "him" when I'm already answering him and then have to think "oh was that what he wanted?!"
At dressage for example, I always have a bag of Oddfellows (mints) in the truck for a reward for a good test and at our last outing his first test was a "good test" so we get back to the float and with no words, no thoughts, no images, I'm walking to the truck saying "yes, yes, I'll get them for you!" (in fact the bugger had me doing that about 6 times!) He is VERY subtle and I guess if I wasn't aware of the way animals can put ideas in our heads and we think they are our own, I would say he'd be the master manipulator! Do you know how many times I've had to FIGHT THE URGE to give them some hay in between their 2 fresh grass sessions if I go out to the paddock in the middle of the day... how guilty I feel when I fight the "urge".... he's a pro!!!!
But I forget how subtle they can be, particularly when they are "your" animal, and it would be easy to think I'm not communicating with him at all, until you start paying really close attention to what actually goes on in your head!