Did you ever notice that when you are having a bad day, so is your horse? It’s not a coincidence. It is a mirror. They reflect our frustrations and impatience. A veteran horsewoman once advised: “If your horse is not understanding what you are asking of him, stop and put him up for the night.” This went against everything I knew about “never give in or they will be spoiled”. But she has been proven right dozens of times. I once was schooling a 3-year-old Paint mare who was not understanding my request for a side pass. I got off her, pushed her, got on, used heel, rein, and scratched her shoulder so she would move away from the pressure. NOTHING. Actually the harder I tried, the worse the whole thing became. I remembered what the older trainer told me and stopped. Reluctantly, I dismounted, gave the mare a reward and ended the lesson for the day. In that reward was Impatiens essence for patience, Mimulus if any fear arose during the session, and most important, Chestnut Bud.
Dr. Edward Bach wrote in The Twelve Healers about Chestnut Bud essence: “For those who do not take full advantage of observation and experience, and who take a longer time than others to learn the lessons of daily life.” (The Twelve Healers published in 1931 by CW Daniels Co. Ltd., London. Re-printed in 1977 by Keats Pub., Inc New Canaan, CT under the name “The Bach Flower Remedies” quote from page 97.)
The next day, she was excited to work. I thought it was because I had quit the previous lesson early but after her warm-up, she took one awkward step without being asked, so I corrected her. But she did it again. Lo and behold, I gave her a loose rein and she started sidepassing. She stepped to the side with ease, grace and balance. I asked her to sidepass in the opposite direction and she performed with the same grace and balance, nothing I could have achieved in weeks of pushing myself on her. The day before, she was confused, which created frustration for us both, escalating negative emotions and behavior and thus heading us straight for anger. Chestnut Bud is my favorite for these situations.