How Much Human Is In A Horse?
At 1:30, I'll let the horses out into the east pasture so they can nibble on the grass nubs. I'll have a chat with them about the gates.
Hero has a strange interaction with gates where he stands far away, on the opposite side of the opening, and then kind of pushes his way through a person to the other side. He was raised with so much human handling that he was never allowed his own sense of how to navigate gates. If he's not being totally controlled, he plows like he can't feel his own body. He always had a chain on him with a human telling him who to be and where to go. We're helping him into his body so he can feel his world the way he feels his world.
The other two horses are starting to understand why Hero "doesn't get it". Skye has been bullying him, frustrated with Hero's "denseness".
Yesterday I had a chat with Skye to help him see how much human is programmed into Hero. Skye asked me, "Why is he like this?" and I told him, "Hero has a lot of people in there..."
I delivered that statement with images of Hero's previous life as a pampered show horse. He was bred to be a champion. Since before he was weaned, Hero has been handled, told how to stand, had his every move controlled. It's a very different sense than growing up in a herd of other horses. He now lives here with Barbara because in horse-show-land, Hero did not live up to expectations.
Selective breeding creates animals when humans want a certain genetic expression, a very particular outcome. These animals come into their lives with a lot of influence from human consciousness - human choices selected the parents for very particular reasons. People can have very particular opinions about the animal even before conception, and these opinions can influence the animal's sense of being. Energetically, Hero has been expressing himself with more human influence than equine influence, even though he has a big horse body.
Because the body and mind are built from horse genetics, the body, mind and consciousness function like a horse. The DNA is designed to interpret and express equine consciousness. But the sense of who they are and what is significant can be dominated by human consciousness. People can look and see a horse and be frustrated that it doesn't act like a horse, not understanding that human awareness has dominated the horse's senses. Animals who express fear of things that "should" seem normal to them are often full of conflict because their senses are tuned to human importance rather than innate guidance. It's not a "bad" thing, it's just how things can work.
Skye knows himself as a horse, with his horse senses much more intact. He felt what I told him about Hero and softened his view immediately. Skye knows how to be with humans who meditate - his person, Barbara, hosts meditation groups with the herd. Skye knows how to feel and dissolve human emotional crusts while people sit in chairs in his paddock. I suggested that he watch Hero as if Hero is sitting in one of the human chairs...he considered that as interesting and softened more.
Skye walked toward Hero to make him move, but this time without his typical bully presence. Hero moved, but this time with less fear. Skye watched the interaction between them, learning to feel Hero differently. The three horses ("Pinch" is the third horse) spent yesterday afternoon in the pasture hanging out like horses.
Hero's eye color changed - he went from showing lots of white around his eyes to relaxed, rich brown eyes. The sharpness of his head changed. It relaxed, opened. They all nibbled without having to look out for who's going to bully who. They felt one another anew.
Genetic expression is not set in stone. People can change their genetic expression, activate or deactivate certain markers in their DNA, through nutrition, emotional healing and changes in thought patterns. The DNA expression of animals can change as well. It's easier with animals because they don't maintain the illusion that it's "better" to be one way than another. When they are presented with an option that changes their sense of self to a knowing of deeper embodiment, they are happy to let that change happen. Facilitating that change also invites people who care for them into a new relationship with the animals and a new way of relating to themselves.
Animals who carry a lot of human programming are not broken, they are simply misinterpreted in the same ways humans often misinterpret one another. To approach them with intent to fix or correct them, or make them "better" is applying human programming. It's more effective, and a lot less work, to soften the way we see them, to soften how we listen. It requires people to know what "soft" feels like. Softening the way we experience animals invites a deeper truth of their expression to come to the surface.
This whole "soft" thing is so new to Hero and he needs a bit of support, a little more experience being seen as a horse rather than a barbie doll. After all, the aspect of him that relates to horses is still as young as he was when people started treating him like a show horse. Just like people, animals form neural pathways and habitual response can rule the day.
This morning Barbara noted that Hero had more white showing in his eyes again, a sign of stress. It was a little alarming for her because she wants so much for Hero to feel relaxed, embodied, present. Whatever the reason, we'll invite him back into his body the same way, by listening without fixing and seeing him with peripheral softness. The other horses also feel the softness and find new expression in their herd.
The softness lets Hero feel himself without the laser of human focus. Looking for something to fix can actually empower what we think we're fixing.
Human awareness has such a capacity to form and shape the world around us. When we have the courage to become aware of this ability, to engage with it consciously, we can invite and create life all around us in harmony. Every player contributes. Softness shapes our worlds like water shapes canyons. Everything is changing, quickly or slowly, into what it will be next.
This afternoon I'll go play with the horses, with awareness of one another and the gates. I'll give them each the space to do what they always do, and at the same time, I'll offer my peripheral awareness of their habitual behaviors without requiring them to change.
The outcomes can go really any direction, and when that's the case, it's the perfect time to explore what sense I would love to create in this atmosphere. What sense feels rich and nourishing here? What direction invites everyone to feel and live without having to defend their space or push another out of the way? ...What would you want to create?
Know the sense of what works for you, be willing to embody it, and you are actively creating. Between people and animals, between people and each other, between people and all of life, what truly works for one's heart will harmonize with the whole. The details take care of themselves.
We can be humans without imposing humanity onto every other creature. We can choose breeds, individuals, sports, interactions, and whatever else we enjoy with animals and nature from a place in our hearts that feels like nourishment rather than competition. When we do, everyone wins.