Phil, Willz, Phinn, Big Mike, Aroone, Dolly, Shah, Jimmy, Snacks, Roger Thunder Cat & Elyse
Bridget has fundamentally changed how I think about and relate to my horses. I started working with Bridget all the way back in 2008. I knew her from Twitter and really enjoyed her insights and work, so I reached to have her chat with my horse, Phil.
Phil was somewhat new to me at the time, and when he got here, he was acting weirdly spooky at times. Phil’s spooking was shaking me up a bit because I wasn't feeling so sticky in the saddle at that time.
At the time, she had us send like 7-8 questions ahead of the call. I'd gotten all of mine down, and couldn't think of anything else, so I asked the guy I was dating at the time what we should ask Phil. He said "ask him what he thinks about all day."
I thought that was a dumb question and told him so. I was like "he thinks about grass and eating, duh." But since I couldn't come up with anything else, his question made the list. And while yea, we talked about the spookiness, what stands out is the answer to my boyfriend's question.
Phil didn't say "grass" "food" or "friends"...He said "Engineering." And THEN Bridget followed it up with how the waterer in his field would stop working sometimes and the other horses were always asking Phil if he could fix it.
This blew my mind for a few reasons:
Bridget had never been to our farm, nor were there any pictures anywhere that would have let her know that we had auto-waterers in the field. So for a first-time consult, I was like "holy shit, this is legit because that's not common and there's NO WAY anyone could have known that unless Phil told them".
We'd noticed Phil over checking out that waterer (which indeed, to this day, gets a little sticky sometimes!) and banging on it and had been commenting on that JUST THAT WEEK.
I'd had horses and lived with horses my entire life. And as much as I loved them, it never occurred to me that they could think as complexly as "engineering" - even if the way a horse thinks about it might be different from how a human would. It opened up an entirely new realm of possibility with how I should be relating to them; or what was possible for ways to connect with them, what to expect from them, etc.
I'd love to say I stopped underestimating them after that, but that's not true. It's been a process (is still a process), but that was the start of an entirely different level of relationship with them and awareness of how complex they are, and how deep their intelligence really runs. It created a whole new level of respect and curiosity, and knowing Bridget over the years has pointed me down so many paths with energy and intuition, both related to our work with the horses and not, that... it's really hard to separate.
But, it's that conversation with Phil that started a lot of that.
And then later, chatting with Phil and my Mom's horse, Aroone, and the fun of seeing their senses of humor when they were telling Bridget jokes/puns about asses (a boarder and a mule) - part of the immense value over the years for me, is not necessarily the problem-solving, but the insights into their worlds, and getting to know their personalities on a level that I wouldn't have otherwise been able to appreciate, know, or see otherwise.