Chazot Thoughts 53

The right to be who I am.

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I am a genetic Molotov cocktail. Breeders always try to create the next triple crown winner and generation after generation, they select stallions and mares with great athleticism and speed. My blood line is an amazing succession of superb athletes. Northern Dancer, Bold Ruler, Swoon Son. Mr. Prospector, Secretariat, Chris Evert, Black Tie Affair, Deputy Minister and further in the line, Nearco, Native Dancer, etc,. He often says that superior athletes usually come with superior spirit and guts. Breeding program cumulate athletic abilities but not always consider the addition of high spirit. All my parents were great athletes, although, many of them such as Native Dancer, Northern Dancer and others had the reputation of being highly spirited. One of my cousin tried to bit any horse competing with him during the race. I inherited their athletic abilities but also cumulated their spirit.  As a result, I am a highly explosive cocktail.

During my brief career on the race track, they tried to muzzle my spirit. As a yearling I was very tall dealing with severe growing issues and their demand for more speed generated intense physical pains. The vet insisted that considering my size, I should not be asked stressful performances. He commented with sarcasm, “He develops microfractures in his subchondral bone the morning at the track and tries to heal the afternoon in the stall.” That is the way I felt and when they ordered to the jockey to beat me with the whip form the beginning to the end of the race because I was not fast enough, I had to survive. I reared, as I was already taller than every other horses and going up appeared almost natural. I quickly realized that while the jockey was on my back during the ascending phase of my rearing, he was no longer there during the descending phase. This appeared as a practical way to get rid of the problem and I get rid of every “problem’ trying to seat on my back.

The price to pay was more aggressiveness, more beating, more discipline and my revolt and my anger became all I could think about, Humans were there to make me suffer and I have to get them before they get me. He was a human, but he and Helyn were different. I was fighting my handlers, I was six feet above the ground while the two guys with two lunge trying to contain me and she was impressed by my athleticism. I immediately realized that I could read his thoughts and he had already understood that my handlers were forcing me into my strong defense. My two handlers gave him the lunge lines when he asked them to jog me, telling him, “You do it.”  He let me rear twice in front of him without punishing me and I was surprised by his reaction. I was curious and approached him exploring his hairs and his hands and his clothes with my nose. He patted me thinking, “He is not crazy; they are the ones who have no brain.”   

I don’t rear anymore. I just bounce. His leadership can be resumed in one thought; “If I was not capable to deal with your creativity. I would not ride you.” I have to confessed that this day, I went too far. My first bounce was for fun but I get trapped into my own enthusiasm. My move triggered memories of beating on the race track and my reflex was getting rid of him. It was like if during a brief instant I was not myself. He was still on my back thinking that if he was not capable to deal with such reaction, he would not ride me. In fact, only him and Helyn ride me. They don’t even let anybody handle me. They both know that I am different. He often thinks, “During my entire career, I meet only two other horses like you. They were incredibly good but also very highly spirited. It is like they prepared me for you. They forced me to think out of conventional training psychology as usual training psychology failed them. They taught me a fundamental lesson. Leadership is not about submission, superiority and control. Leadership is about respect. In the action, they showed sometimes a touch of genius. It was not the result of submission or obedience. It was their intuition, their initiative, their participation to the performance. They reminded me one of Albert Einstein brilliant thought, ‘The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.“   

I am not a faithful servant; I am a horse. I am a living creature. I have emotion, empathy, frustration and even anger, but also joy and love and pain. I think, I process, I explore my body beyond natural reflexes, I am frustrated during the research but also happy when I find the coordination allowing gaits and performances that I could not have done based on natural reflexes. Manchester expressed the same joy when he found the body coordination allowing soundness. Manchester did not blow up because this is not his style but his entire body vibrated at an amazingly level. The same thought came back over and over in his mind. “I am sound, I am sound, I am sound. For the first time in eight years I am sound.

He does have two dogs; one is a boxer which is constantly by his side. He is a happy dog running, shaking his head, throwing his front leg forward, bouncing his butt right and left. I am a happy horse. I shake my head and neck, I throw my front leg forward, I bounce my butt right and left but, because I am a horse, it can only be insubordination, rebellion, insurrection, disobedience and I should be punished. Once, a so-called horseman commented that I should be hit with a two by four. I loved his response, “I would gladly hit you with a four by four if I believed that that it could stimulate some cerebral activity, but I doubt that you ever had any.

Sometime I blow up out of frustration but most of the time I blow up out of joy. I feel good and I express myself. I just don’t have any filter when it comes of expressing myself and he understand that. If he had punished me when I was in my rearing frenzy, my mind would never have been able to liberate itself from the hate circle I was in. Instead, he ignored my rearing. He ignored my kicking also even when I aimed at him. Talking with Manchester and Caesar, I can see how his reaction was unconventional, but also pertinent. He challenged my intelligence and because I did not have to protect myself from punishments, I became interested. The challenges were simple and I felt I could resolve them. It was always about better using my body and I felt ease, physical comfort. My mind became part of the work. It is frustrating at time. It is physically challenging but the outcome is easiness even when the performance is difficult. I am now to the point that I am interested by the complexity of the challenge. I am not submitted, I am willing. I am not a servant, I am intelligent.