When I first met Nelson, the almost formerly wild Mustang, he did not want to be touched. He was nervous, and that made me feel nervous, and we did a strange nervous dance for quite a while. Both of us prickly and alert, sympathetic nervous systems on orange.
I wish I could say that I found a magic key and that suddenly Nelson was easily touchable, but I did not. What I did find was horse time. Horse time is biologic, sometimes even geologic. It does not have to do with any kind of human time measurement. It has to do with listening and with waiting.
I got very good at waiting. One day when I came to work with him, Nelson would not let me anywhere near him. So I sat leaning against the fence for about 2 hours until he finally came close enough to get a treat. I had a lot of time that day to think about taking that personally. A lot of time to feel my impatience and what I assumed was my ineptitude.
The real thing that I have learned from Nelson is that if I listen and wait, he gives me everything. And the lovely thing is that I have also found that to be true about myself. If I listen and wait, then what I want unfolds and offers itself to me. All in good horse time.