Dogs and Horses – Safety, Control and Mirroring

A YouTube subscriber recently asked to see more of how the dogs interact with the horses – and do I treat my dogs with the same respect for their sentience as I do the horses?

In some of my videos you’ll see the dogs chasing or running along with the horses. You may see the horses kicking out at the dogs. I have also seen how the horses react to neighbour’s dogs, friends’ dogs, and even coyotes.

Both my dogs – Tiah and Kumba have been raised around the horses. Kumba even gallops like a horse and I’d love to know whether this is his breed, or whether it’s because he was raised with the herd!

In this short video, you will see something I’ve never seen before…

I’ve watched this video in super slo-mo and freeze-framed it and I suspect that Posa actually came down on some part of Tiah’s leg. If so, Posa obviously realized it and did not put any weight on Tiah’s leg. Horses can kick with extreme accuracy – I once had Montaro kick a rope away that was bugging him, and dangling less than an inch away from my leg. He got rid of the rope and left my leg unscathed. If they are unshod, they also have incredible sensitivity in their hooves. Have you ever watched your horse scratch, oh so delicately, behind their ear with a hind hoof?

Tiah was completely unhurt by this bizarre altercation. And I believe she wanted to send a message, or make a point, to my friend – who was very afraid of her dog getting hurt.

I think Tiah was inviting my friend to face into her worst fear and then see that all was just fine. My friend has watched this video about 25 times, by the way. I believe Tiah is inviting her to consider that there just may be an intelligence at work with even seemingly random events or ‘accidents’. The invitation is to look at the energetic reality, not just the physical layer.

Because dogs are so easily controlled by humans (they so willingly, lovingly obey us that we often don’t even realize we’re dominating them) their energetic/spiritual relationship with us is more like that of children. So not only can they push our buttons and trigger us (to show where our pain/unresolved trauma lies) they are also excellent mirrors. If your dog has a health issue, it is pretty much always going to involve you. If your dog has an ‘undesirable behaviour’ issue… yep, look in the mirror.

Sometimes the mirror can be really obvious: For example, you have a dog that won’t stop barking. Then you observe yourself and realize that you never stop talking.

The next layer or subtler message could be that you observe that the reason you talk continually is because you have a lot of anxiety, or you’re hyper or stressed most of the time. Well, guess what? If you learn how to down-regulate your own nervous system, reduce your anxiety or stress, or resolve the situation or relationship that’s at the root of your imbalance… notice how your dog barks so much less.

A couple of months ago, Tiah developed a wiry, greasy coat, with masses of dandruff from head to tail. She has no physical conditions that would cause this – she’s fed raw (bones, skin, organs, meat) with extra Omega-3 oil, probiotics, and a greens powder for vitamins/minerals. Her coat is normally soft and lustrous. When I tuned into Tiah to ask her “What’s up?” She replied that this was between her and my daughter, Zara.

So I relayed the message to Zara and requested she have a chat with Tiah to find out what was going on. Zara reported that Tiah was upset that Zara kept going camping without her. It wasn’t just that Zara wasn’t taking her – there was a bigger issue underneath, involving Zara’s willingness to stand in her power. You see, Zara’s friends would choose locations that didn’t allow dogs – because it wasn’t a priority for any of them. As soon as Zara said, “If Tiah can’t come camping, then I won’t be joining you.” That’s all that was needed to change the entire situation.

Tiah on duty

The very next camping trip happened a couple of days later. Zara reported that every one of her friends (they go camping in large co-ed groups) was smitten with Tiah and gobsmacked at the relationship they witnessed between Zara and Tiah. They couldn’t believe that Zara never had to leash Tiah, that Tiah understood every thing that was said, and that Tiah was not only fully conscious, but actually wise – and had good ideas. They had never seen/understood a dog in this way before. Can you say, “consciousness shift”?

Turns out the other girls’ mothers were also much happier knowing that Tiah was with them for protection in wilderness areas. And for the rest of the summer, Zara’s friends requested that she bring Tiah along on every trip because they enjoyed her so much. Of course, within 3 days of Zara receiving and actioning Tiah’s message (delivered via her wiry, greasy, dandruffy coat), her coat was once again beautifully soft and lustrous, without a trace of flaky skin cells. This is the power of an integrated mind/body/spirit.

If we had just looked at the physical condition of Tiah’s coat, and took her to the vet, or gave her supplements, changed her diet etc. do you think her coat would have returned to perfect health in 3 days flat? Tiah had asked Zara to take her camping many times before, but Zara refused for what she thought were ‘good reasons’. Zara was also under the mistaken assumption that if she took Tiah, she had to take Kumba too – and that just felt too difficult. So Tiah developed an imbalance (dis-ease) that was impossible to ignore, that got both our full attention, and forced us to lean in with deep listening.

As I write this, Zara has an issue with her right forearm, I have an issue with my right shoulder and Tiah just damaged the sole of her right paw… hmmm… I’ve been trying (unsuccessfully) to discern and resolve the pain/restriction in my right shoulder for months now. So perhaps Tiah is going to provide me with another pathway in to this conundrum. All 3 of us female, yet all injuries on the right side (masculine) of the body, and in the arm limb. This process of co-evolution with our animal compadres never stops. The question is: Are we willing to lean in? To enter into deep listening? To hear and receive whatever the message is? And then to take action on the wisdom received. It may feel scary, threatening, or challenging. But it is always liberating, and for our highest good.

Tiah and Zara – camping in beautiful BC
Dogs and Horses – Safety, Control and Mirroring

12 thoughts on “Dogs and Horses – Safety, Control and Mirroring

  • September 20, 2020 at 7:20 am
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    I was hoping at some point you would involve the dogs in some more posts! ✌🏼💚🐶

    Since the kids moved next door and their dogs are not here full time anymore I am feeling empty not having a dog to share life with! I don’t think since birth I have ever lived this long without a dog in my life? I have opened my energy to a dog coming into my life again but still have reservations because my sons dog GSXR has always had fear aggression towards other dogs! She is not as aggressive as she use to be because she is 11 now! But her past was not an easy one! In the course of her first year of life she got her leg broken by the horses…not sure which one? as we did not see it happen? She ate rat poison that was forgotten about in the move! One of the reasons I have such destain for any type of poison! Then I ran her over with the horse trailer 😢( at least it didn’t have any horses in it)! She has definitely lived a life of hard knocks! I have put off bringing another dog into the mix as I don’t want any dog drama and I love her having a fear free roam of both properties! I guess when it’s meant to be it will happen?

    At our old house (1 acre) I have also seen Gus Gus (mix large breed) get caught up in the horses running and all they did was tumble him! Banner was able to not step on him even in full stride! He was emotionally a bit shook up but physically he was fine! I think it definitely helps when …first …dogs are younger and more agile, to be able to react to the horses! It also helps when they grow up around horses! My dads elderly dog had no clue when he would be around the horses! He just didn’t seem to understand they could mow him down without provocation! My husband always took him under his wing to make sure he stayed safe…when he spent time with us!

    The other problem can be a horse that has been kept alone and harassed by dogs…this was the situation for Buck when he lived next door with the neighbors! I would watch the neighbors Boston terrier start relentlessly barking and nipping at Buck then the rest of there dogs …2 more Boston’s, a cattle dog , a yellow lab and a Doberman would all join in and Buck would really get overwhelmed! When he came over to our side to live permanently …our dogs were very elderly and not in good shape! I had to tell Buck a few times just because a dog comes into your space you can not go after them! It took a few times of me reinforcing this request of him…but after a couple of months I felt he understood the difference and I started to trust him more and more with them and he never hurt them! Now Buck …with Joker a 1 year old Catahoula Leporad dog…raised with the horses…is amazing and they actually have built trust and play games together! Joker is amazing with all the horses and now that he is entering out of puppyhood and listening to humans much better …(safety around traffic) I want to take him along with Dreamer and I on our lake rides! I know Dream will appreciate the added security as he has requested he join us many times!
    I believe horses and dogs …even though by nature are not necessarily a perfect match…can enjoy and help each other in many ways in domestication! You just have to take all personalities and circumstances into account and I also always ask that both species take care and not hurt the other! It is a hard fast rule for me…horses are not to hurt the dogs and the dogs are not to hurt the horses! Interactions of chasing, Fun and games are all good!
    ✌🏼💚🐴

    Reply
    • September 20, 2020 at 7:39 pm
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      Wholeheartedly agree with everything you’ve written here Michelle! Now who’s dog is Joker? Your son’s or a neighbour? He sounds like the ideal companion for horse adventures and yes, maybe you don’t need a dog of your “own” as you seem to already have a great canine posse around you.

      It will be interesting to see how Tiah and Kumba shift as they age – I’m sure they will get less interested in chasing/running with the horses as they get into their teens. Although you never know, they are both half Aussie Shepherd so may retain that drive regardless of age. No doubt they won’t track quite so close to the horses though! I once saw Kumba do a backflip in mid-air to avoid a kick. He looked back at me: “Did you SEE THAT??!!!” He was so chuffed with himself!

      But no matter which dog it is, the horses 100% know their intention and respond accordingly. The wild mamas also maintain stricter control over dogs and drive them swiftly – expecting rapid response. Having been pursued by wolves and coyotes no doubt requires that dogs listen with no hesitation!

      Reply
  • September 20, 2020 at 9:11 am
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    Great post! Our dogs are both a little intimidated by the horses. They are older, and did not grow up with them. But it’s so true that horses are so tuned in and can be so specific. I have seen clumsiness too though, so I guess it depends on the level of consciousness of the horse too. Our dig Masai dies not like Dakota to get to close to our home. She will chase him off like a protective dog, and Dakota has learned to step away (but comes over to “fluff up” her dog bed when she’s inside 😁). Bodhi is deaf and did not hear Dakota gallop very close to him one day, but totally felt his energy and it was too much. He stays away now. I love how your dogs are so rambunctious around the horses and play with them. It would definitely make me nervous, but I do love your sense of freedom around that.

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    • September 20, 2020 at 7:29 pm
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      Ah but you’re not seeing the ‘induction’ process that both my dogs went through. As puppies I kept them very close to me so they had ample time to observe and learn how horses move, what the horses’ signals are, how they manage and navigate space, etc. There were periods (e.g. when handing out feed dishes) that I would lock them in the tackroom – leaving the door wide enough for them to see/observe, but not to exit and get caught up in the maelstrom.

      It’s like everything – I have no “rules” for “horses” because each horse is very different. Same with dogs. But if we tune into each being as an individual, we can certainly sense where their safety boundaries lie, if they need our help, etc. And yes, with older dogs who can’t move or torque like a young, fast dog, there would definitely be different parameters – as your dogs quickly discovered. 🙂

      Reply
  • September 21, 2020 at 6:45 pm
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    that’s so fabulous!!! wow, to see the close-up, she calculates exactly where her hoof is going to land , or not land, and how close, all at lighting speed! and choosing not to step on the dog, or a stone, or whatever the object is. i love observing horses , and all animals. i’m always in awe at the accuracy and intention of a flying hind leg, or a deadly tail swish. ! they can nail a fly with either, or choose to come sooooo close, but not connect., always deliberate and always accurate . i brought Little Francis, my shih-tzu guruji to the Midway ranch at only 6 weeks old , introduced him to the menagerie of horses cows and pigs and sheep etc (he could barely even walk then) . He had zero fear. zero. but i sure did, he was my precious bebe and soooo tiny!! but utterly confident and independent. by the time he was growed up he could herd cows like a pro , i watched in awe (and trepidation!) how he innately felt and used his energies, and saw him feel /use that ‘critical distance’ needed to turn a cow, but not get her running. I watched him try out his skills with heifers on our langley farm ,(if you know bovines, you know that calves, heifers and steers do not ‘herd”, but that’s a whole other story) . when the horses got galivanting around Francis joined in with that wild shih-tzu bulgie-eyed, tongue-flying look of pure Glee. He copied the horses grazing too, as a teeny tiny baby. . When i was riding Girl daily in Langley, my coach always brought her rescued crazy pit bull along, he was always running between Girl’s legs as we trained, but she never missed a beat, ever. and danced over him like the ballerina she is. how many times has a horse’s tail-swish nailed you right in the eyeball? it’s always directed, always intentional isn’t it.. i learned about the effects of energy and how to direct my own ‘energy’ from cows, more than from horses in my earlier years. cows require extremely laser-precise energy, and a lightning fast on/offswitch, otherwise they;re ‘gone’. and chickens do too. oh there’s so much more to experience yet, with these awe-mazing bodies. !!

    Reply
    • September 24, 2020 at 4:11 pm
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      All so true Sheila!! I have a video with Cobra where Kaliah tail-smacks Juliet in the face for giving her power away. The cool thing is we show her tail just swishing against Juliet’s waist, or leg, but then BAM – Stop that!! I would love to see Shih-tzu herding cows omg that would be something – you’re lucky you have those images/memories for life 🙂

      Reply
  • October 12, 2020 at 7:06 pm
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    My partner has been having a similar issue with his right shoulder, also for months. I wonder if he’s carrying a message for us both. Part of it for us is knowing when to ask for help and who is actually trustworthy. It’s possible that it’s something more, as well. Thanks for bringing this up in the midst of having trusting, respectful reltionships with other species and deeper and/or additional opportunities for learning as well as healing.

    Reply
    • October 13, 2020 at 10:27 pm
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      Let me know when you two figure it out! In my earlier days, my body used to give me one symptom for one message. Now I find that my body gives me an issue and it may have 5 or 6 components to it – but the symptom/issue will not release until I get ALL 6 messages! Thank goodness I track all these in my journal or nothing would make sense. But as I receive each message (and ACTION it) I write it down. Then at the end I have the pleasure of hindsight and seeing how it all fits together 🙂

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      • October 15, 2020 at 11:20 am
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        That’s smart tracking it in a journal. We’ve got so much going on, but that’ll be the next step. Maybe it’ll make it simpler sorting things out! Appreciate your feedback and input. It can make all the difference for helping to know which direction to head in.

        Reply
        • October 15, 2020 at 11:12 pm
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          You’re welcome! Someone who’s trained in Craniosacral (Level 2 or higher from upledger.com) or Medical Qi Gong can also be helpful for detecting the mind/body interface stuff.

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          • October 16, 2020 at 10:25 am
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            Great suggestions, we pursued the one, but haven’t yet investigated the other. Will see if there’s a reliable practitioner in our area. It’s a crime hub, so we never really know if individuals are operating according to the standards of their field or influenced by other factors. The work that you, The Singing Horse herd and community are doing is so necessary in these times.

            Reply
            • October 16, 2020 at 2:16 pm
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              Really?? That’s terrible! It might also be good to do my free session here – acupressure tapping for healthy boundaries. That would help him avoid taking on too much, make it easier to say No, etc.

              https://lazertapping.com/

              I’d love to hear what he thinks of it… 🙂

              Reply

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