Learn to detach from your possessions, and emotions and you will be more in harmony with your horse. They do not regret the past, nor fear the future. Live in the present moment, live in it fully present, and this moment will last forever.
Do you own your possessions, or do they own you? In this modern world of iPhones, iPads and all the modern technology that people line up to buy, is it really worth it? Or have we become disconnected to deeper values and our very own human nature? I listen to people brag about how they murder groundhogs for fun, and I wonder – how can anyone do this to God’s creatures? The mind boggles. To me animals are the same energy as humans, wearing a different suit.
Many people treat their horses like a Porsche or a handbag, completely out of tune with the fact that this is a living, breathing creature. I call it “Park and Ride”. They have a mentality like this: “well I pay all this money in board, blankets, vet bills and training, so the horse owes me to perform and do what I want”. You’d be surprised to know how prevalent that attitude is out there. The person has expectations of the horse just because. Nobody stopped to think that the animal might not like that discipline, but they go ahead and force them into submission anyway. You can have sex with anyone if you have a gun to their head, but that doesn’t make it right.
When I work with horses I wait to see what the horse will offer me before I decide how I am going to react. Especially with a horse I am meeting for the first time, I have no clue what their background is, what their fears are, so I wait to see what they are going to do. I have rules – no rearing, no bucking, kicking, biting or running me over. After that we see what happens. I will shut down any behavior that threatens my safety, but everything else is an open ended question, there is more than one right answer. Ask the question and see what the horse does, are they anticipating something, reacting out of fear? What is their interpretation of what you asked? Maybe the horse is confused and gives you the “wrong” answer, but in their mind, it was right. This is where you have to be non-judgemental. Be open -minded about what the horse does, try to figure out why. Why are you having a problem picking up the left lead? Why are you bucking?
Sometimes when a rider is not balanced, the horse has a hard time to carry you, so we as riders create problems by riding our issues into our horses. We have to take responsibility for that, and not blame the horse. They are a mirror image of who we are, so what’s it like looking in the mirror? When you go out to ride, instead of having a plan, become self aware instead, make that your plan. Do you really know how you sit? Can you really feel which muscles are too tight or stiff? Once you learn to do this, you can then begin to translate your movements into the horse, but without control of our own bodies, we cannot possibly hope to control the horse, or even give effective aids. Many riders are trying to do things that are beyond their capabilities so they get frustrated and angry. The horse ends up taking the slack for that. Sometimes the horse is “too much horse” for the level of the rider’s ability. Both may need more training. This is about honest evaluation of what is really going on, a deeper look beyond the surface of riding. Many of us don’t know what we don’t know, so we have to learn to open our eyes and think about the horse with a mind that is interested in discernment, and not judgement. Something is not “right or wrong, good or bad”, it just is. Why did it go this way? What was the horse thinking at the time, and why did they react that way? What was I doing? The importance is in the questions you ask, and not in the answers.
The result is only the first layer, the real answers lie in the cause. As with life, alcohol is not the problem, the reason people drink too much is the problem, and the alcohol is their answer. Eliminating alcohol will not provide the solution, as the question still goes unanswered – why do you drink too much? If a horse is not behaving, that part is what often gets addressed with harsh training methods, but no one has asked – why is the horse doing this? We have to go deeper, in life and with our horses to really address the cause, and then we get answers that are lasting.
Being unattached to the outcome gives you a lot of freedom. You now have all kinds of space to expand and grow, think and live outside the box. If you get rid of the idea that “things should go this way”, “it’s always been done this way”, then all of a sudden a whole new world of possibilities opens up to you. It’s very exciting, and your riding takes on a new dimension, so does your life, because now the Universe will open up the unseen doors of Opportunity to you, that before were invisible, because you were trapped in a mindset that did not allow them to show up. Living your life stuffed into somebody’s neat little pigeon hole really is restricting, and you may stay there out of fear of change, fear of the unknown or fear of being judged. Many times with horses and life, things have worked out for me in totally unexpected ways, and I have learned to let go of trying to control the outcome, as there seems to be a greater mastermind at work here, a larger plan I am somehow unaware of. As the poet says “at the same time as you are doing, you are being done”. We don’t always know what’s best for us or our horse, but if we become unattached, learn to live life moment to moment, the most surprising things begin to show up and happen in our lives. How many times have you heard someone say “if you had told me this would happen 5 years ago, I would have never believed you”? True? Yes!
I know that you have to look out for the things we call “coincidence”. I don’t believe in coincidences, I believe in synchronicity. The ducks all line up in a row with seemingly no effort, or very little. Those chance encounters, the person you were thinking of phoning who suddenly calls you, or you bump into them in the supermarket, there is no “chance” in that. You sent out your intentions into the Great Unknown, they heard you and wham – there you go! Amazing, I am constantly amazed by life. Horses amaze me every day, with their heightened awareness of self, and their wisdom. Next time you want to find a horse or sell a horse, tell the horse you want that you are ready for them to show up now, or tell the horse you want to sell, that you want them to find their own new owner. I have sold horses many times within 2 days doing this! And let of your judgement that you want a certain colour or breed, because what you are attracting is an energetic match, not a physical representation. I always tell people, we get the horse we need, not the horse we want. Wow and we think they are dumb beasts – I don’t think so somehow. If we could trust in Divine Right Action they way they do, we would all be living an amazing life, so be brave, let go of the reins of your life and see what happens. Find your freedom, the wind beneath your wings and watch your life and your relationship with your horse set a course for parts unknown, a grand adventure of body, mind and spirit. To find your True freedom, decide to use your own free will to be who you really are, and not a shadow of yourself. If your horse is allowed to also be “who they really are” the possibilities are endless, exciting and limitless. The only limits we have are always self imposed, as we live in a Universe of abundance, but we need to take off our blinkers to see it.
When you get on your horse to ride, ask yourself “what does the horse want to do today?” I keep a daily log of my rides, I record what I did and how the horse reacted, so my training is never boring or repetitive. Horses go nuts because riders do the same thing every time, how boring would it be to go to school and learn the same lesson every day? And we wonder why they are ring sour? Really. I live by the Golden rule “never do anything to a horse that you would not like done to you”. Imagine that. It’s another version of the first Commandment: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Well I can live with that. I do have a plan, but if the plan is not working, then I am very open to changing it, and as a result, my horses are fit, happy and ready to do anything I ask willingly. I gallop cross country, I do dressage tests, some jumping, herd cattle, work over poles, just about anything, I really do believe in “cross-dressing” with disciplines, just to have fun and get out of the arena. Variety is the spice of life, so just have fun, and listen to your horse; they have much to tell you.