"Can I eat it?"
"No you can't!"
We're into that time of year we have to think about the horses weight as we go into the lush, sugar-laden season of spring grass.
One way of reducing a horse's food intake and therefore calories is to use something called a muzzle. This soft rubber device restricts the amount of grass the horse has access to, whilst still giving them a chance to drink and breathe as normal, plus have the benefits of being outdoors in a big space.
Dainty seemed unfamiliar with this contraption and was clearly curious, and Squirrel was kind enough to let her explore it, but not bite it!
Willing to give it a try
Muzzles aren't my favourite approach, but this was Squirrel's idea so I thought we'd try it.
Needless to say 10 minutes later and a quick scratch on the water tank and it was off!
I duely reapplied, but she was found 10 minutes later at the hay bale not eating and looking miserable, so we've removed it.
This isn't the right approach for us.
What this exercise has done is let us eliminate an approach and now look for other paths to the same outcome.
This is the horse-based approach of PROBE (try/explore something new) SENSE (collect feedback from the experiment) RESPOND (make a decision based on the feedback).
This approach is something we use a lot here at HorseSense UK and we teach it to our clients too.
Responding to the moment
Rather than following a set of rules blindly, we invite people to run a series of experiments and really feel into the feedback. If it's working, then keep going until it doesn't. If it's not working, then change something.
We do it when we enter the horses space, do introductions, ask a question of them, say good bye and thank you at the end of a session.
It's a simple philosophy, but at the same time extremely profound.
Is there somewhere in your work or life where Probe, Sense, Respond would be useful?