A SECRET TO TRAINING HORSES
Horses are masters of communication. With their advanced mastery and skill in the art of communication, horses are able to live harmoniously within their herd. The language of horses is simple yet complex, direct yet indirect, and silent yet vocal. Horses live in a world of unity but we humans live in a world of polarity. I think this is why horsemen sometimes experience difficulty understanding and communicating with horses.
From the human point of view, we may judge our horse's behavior (in a particular situation) as right or wrong but from the horse’s perspective, the situation just "is" with no judgment involved. For example, consider what you would do if your horse bites you. This is a natural behavior for him and he may bite other horses for any number of reasons. If your training style or preconceived idea of companionship with your horses stems from a human viewpoint, the horse that bit you might be in trouble. Developing a better understanding of a horse's reality will enhance your ability to communicate with him. Looking through the eyes of your horse will help you focus on life in the present moment as you let go of worries concerning the past or the future.
Being fully present will allow you to explore the intention behind your horse's bite. Perhaps he was just being playful. Of course I'm not an advocate of biting but I no longer judge it in terms of right or wrong. Thus, I don't punish a horse for biting. As we open our minds to the present moment, the energy that runs through all of life flows freely through us; yet another amazing gift from the horse. Living "in the now" will allow your horsemanship skills to soar as you open your heart to receive guidance from your horse and from your own intuition as well. Training at liberty requires that we all speak the language of unity.
If tack is used during the crucial beginning phase of your relationship with a horse, his ability to express himself is dismissed. Using tack for connection negates his ability to make choices. Regardless of how humane we may be, the horse is forced to submit to our will and has thus become our slave. Horses do not understand slavery because it is not a part of their natural world. Due to the horse's basic nature to seek harmony, he may be very obedient leading us to a false belief that our training methods are "right". Meanwhile our horse sees the situation in a totally different light. Alas, we have now stepped back into the human world of polarity.
Through conscious living in the present moment, you will see life from the perspective of your horse. When training at liberty, your body language and intuition aide in the creation of a harmonious connection which allows for a deeper bond with your horse. It is similar to a marriage between two individuals who ultimately (with lots of time and effort) unite as one. For me, this special bond with horses is one of life's most rewarding experiences.
When I have a difference of opinion with my horses, they are free to disagree. During these trying times, I quickly recall the vow that I make to every horse that I encounter. My vow is that I will BECOME PRESENT AND SEEK HARMONY WHICH LEADS TO UNITY. Horses and I agree on ground rules which are rooted in fairness for each of us. How could I possibly let the desire for correction or punishment rob me of this experience? Rather than merely reacting to an occurrence (such as a horse's bite), I use my intuition as a guide concerning how to express my feelings in a manner that allows us to stay connected. Horses know that the recipe for living harmoniously with others is simply to stay "in the moment" and they are always willing to whisper their secrets to anyone who is willing to listen.
Have a great rest of the week as you and your horses share some great moments of your own!
Linda (and my herd of 8 magnificent companions)