Kayla, 7 Years Old, is Learning Boundaries
Kayla is a beautiful, talented 7 year old who is full of life and very high energy. This is wonderful around our big horses, especially Big Jim (Gentleman Jim) who loves her climbing up the gate to his paddock or stall and hugging him!
However, Kayla is fascinated with Belle, the miniature horse, and when she goes running up to Belle who is at eye level with Kayla, Belle feels threatened. After all, a child who is the same size as the little horse could hurt Belle in the eye, mouth, face and, really, anywhere on her body.
And so we go through exercises of Kayla lowering her energy, tapping into respect for Belle's personal space, and explaining that it is Kayla's job to make sure Belle feels safe.
The dynamics between Kayla and Belle are very interesting to observe: when Kayla rushes up to the little horse, the horse acts like she is trying to bite and/or kick Kayla (she doesn't, but she puts on a good enough show that Kayla backs off).
Then we start over with Kayla lowering her energy, calming down, thinking about being gentle and making sure Belle feels safe. Suddenly the entire experience is different. When Kayla is quiet and gentle and sensitive to Belle, the little horse stands quietly and they "love" on each other. And this is the reward Kayla feels by simply changing her MO.
Mom says that Kayla is very different when she misses weekly barn visits as compared to how her behaves when she comes every week to Cimmaron Sanctuary.