I have a lifetime of being with horses, facilitating, healing, teaching training. This is true. Some people use this as an argument to say they can’t do what I do. It’s understandable to believe that we need to be performing and practicing something for years before we master it, before we are “good” at it. That way of thinking about our abilities has been taught, and therefore accepted as true for a long time. That perspective, though, can easily become a barrier to the real truth.
We all have natural abilities to communicate with all of life, and in fact we do communicate with all of life, all of the time! Everyone is welcome to declare that they can’t, that they don’t have the ability to sense and listen on these levels. That declaration does not mean the ability is inaccessible, though. What you can’t yet see in yourself, perhaps you will allow others to see in you, to assist you by seeing it for you, and guide your awareness back to it.
The animals in our lives can assist us to see and become more of our own true self, our own true nature, when we are open to that perspective. The interactions between us can be evolutionary every day. Animals are just as enamored with us as we are with them, and sometimes it takes a little recalibration in our own perspective to be able to sense that. We are sharing the planet, evolving side-by-side with them, assisting each other.
Freeing a horse from a way of being that isn’t who he truly is has many facets to it. It can seem really complex, and at the same time, it’s very simple.
Repetition is not necessarily the most effective tool, for the horse or the person. The foundation of all safe travels together, whether it is on the trail, or just between the round pen and paddock begins by honoring the communication. He recognizes that I asked for something, and I recognize that he gave as much as he had to give. Holding hands with my friend, we create a dance that lets us both dissolve the past and become a new perspective.
Horses feel the space created by this perspective. They feel the kindness, the harmony of it. They feel when we step away from being a predator, away from domination, and they respond differently to us. When they do, we have the opportunity to open up to a whole different way of being. We’ve been forcing horses into a false sense of fight-or-flight survival in order to “train” them for thousands of years, and it has worked very well to get horses to do what we tell them to do. We are in a different time, though, when more and more people are feeling in their hearts, knowing in their knowing that there is a different way.
Stepping into a different way means that it will feel different than the old, familiar way. It will look different. The timing may be different. The goals, the outcomes, the expectations may all be different. And the unfamiliarity may be uncomfortable at first.
I’ve worked with trainers who feel the difference in their bodies immediately when they step out of a context of dominance. They sense the difference in their horses, and it can feel like being a beginner again.
I remind them that they don’t have to buy into this perspective. There is no rule that says this is the “New Right Way To Be.” There are no rules! I tell people, “Please, if it is too strange, too loose for you, please just do what you know -- there is nothing wrong with how you do what you do!”
The consistent response is, “NO! I don’t want to go back, this feels so much better ... but it really feels different!” Sometimes the trainers feel a little insecure, because the expansion into a new perspective can feel like you’re starting over again, a beginner again. It’s not about starting over at all. It is an expansion of what you already do that will integrate more of who you truly are. It is opening to a much bigger awareness that expands harmony simply through acknowledgement of the harmony that is already there. This level of awareness does not require repetition to train a horse. The awareness itself creates consistency.