Lessons for 2000…
It seems that every
year the horses, along with their humans, have something new to teach me.
Often these are little phrases, that when applied provide the
thread that binds thought to actions...feeling to understanding. This
year the word that the horses keep whispering to me is: Consistency
– The ability to apply your aids, feeling, and understanding with
persistent rhythm, timing, balance, and focus to achieve clarity and
I went into my
thesaurus and looked up the word “Consistency”.
The results were quite stunning, as many of the related words are
concepts we strive for everyday with our horse/human relationship. Agreement…Harmony…Unity
& Cohesion were a few
of the words with similar meanings. When
you search a little deeper, you find that within the word “cohesive”
additional meanings such as Softness
Firmness & Flexibility
are to be found. My thesaurus
search blew me away. I knew
consistency was important. Now
I know that all along the horses were telling me it was linked to so much
In looking at the ways in
which we can apply “consistency” I have recognized several other
truths that have helped the relationship with my horses.
First, I have found that there is little room for being timid
around horses. They are herd
animals with six very useful weapons, of which we need to be ever
A horse can employ four feet, a head, &
teeth so quickly. By being
timid we forget that herd animals are looking for good leaders, and
survive on the pecking-order system.
They will take over, take control, and accidents will happen when
we fail to provide leadership. I
found myself saying this summer…Be BOLD in your mistakes – Then you
will recognize them as such, and use better judgement next time!
There is a balance between being overly confident and way too
timid, just as there is a difference between being aggressive and
assertive. What I think the
horses are asking us to find is a consistent
method for being an assertive leader by providing guidance when
needed, and then waiting for the horse to find the right answers.
A second consistent
truth I have recognized this year involves a better understanding of how
the eyes effect the feet, body, and mind of the horse.
Again, as herd animals horses have terrific sight.
Along with hearing and the ability to smell, the senses of the
horse keep it alive. The
senses relay whether to flight for safety, or stand comfortably and graze.
The senses, particularly the eyes, control the feet, and how they
will position the body to react.
What I have observed, particularly in my
round pen work, is that if I first focus on getting the attention of the
eyes, then I can influence the feet.
If I have the feet, the body and mind will follow freely.
On board I have been striving to apply these same principals by
observing the eyes, so that I can feel for the feet.
It has made a world of difference in how I set things up, and my
ability to wait for the response.
I am constantly amazed
at the lessons the horse has to teach me.
If I can only remember to consistently
apply these principals, I will have been given a blessed education!
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