Empowerment, Aggression, and Engaging with Fear

Last week, Andrea Datz gave us a thorough education in what “no” means in horse-talk and how to work with it. She spoke beautifully on the topic of letting go of expectations and trusting the process – that listening to our horses is, in practice, a commitment, and one that might lead us directly into uncomfortable places, faced with realities we might not be egoically equipped to accept in the moment.

I’d like to continue down that road a little this week, and introduce you properly to a little filly called Firefly.

Firefly, or Fly, just turned two. The daughter of my sister-mare, Amalia, and a feral Mustang stallion known as the Jack of Diamonds, Fly was anticipated long before she was conceived. She was going to be that horse I’d dreamed of since I could dream about horses. The best-friend one, the little-bit-wild one, the free-spirited firecracker take-no-shit-from-no-one one – the horse that would seek me out and call me out and play with me and take me to new worlds.

When she finally arrived, on the Fourth of July in the year of the Fire Horse in the smoky red dawn of the worst wildfire season anyone could remember, she was all that and a bag of potato chips.

Firefly was raised largely without human coercion or unnecessary stress. Her birth was unassisted, by Amalia’s request (and the pregnancy was completely free of medical intervention, as well). I also stopped the vet from trying to catch her as a skittish day-old for the standard exam. He raised an eyebrow, but told me she and her mama looked just fine and to call him if anything turned out otherwise. The next day or so, she was coming to me willingly and basking in praise and scratches. She was never weaned (still isn’t, at two years old), because I thought that was her mother’s decision, not mine, and because I have always respected how much strength and comfort she gets out of that bond with her mother, and have no need to replace that bond with her and my relationship.

She learned hand signals and basic cues effortlessly, halter-trained in a matter of minutes, and while life still served her a healthy dose of upsets, surprises and hard lessons, she grew to be robust, curious, expressive, and deeply attached to humans. She willingly leaves the herd to interact with people, calls out across the yard to us, and fights off other horses to claim her spot at my side. She follows me almost anywhere just for fun. She loves to play with me out in the open field, adrenaline-filled games of tag or thoughtful, focused dances. When I make mistakes or push her too far, she recovers remarkably quickly and always seems to give me the benefit of the doubt. She is gorgeous, gregarious, and one of my favourite people in the whole world.

Fierce and Toothsome

She can also be incredibly aggressive. She’s been known to rear at, kick, bite, and charge humans…much to my dismay.

I have heard and read about hand-raised foals becoming pushy and aggressive later in life. This might be what happened – but I like to think there is a more complex set of reasons, especially because I took great precautions not to “spoil” her or overwhelm her with unsolicited human contact, while at the same time allowing closeness, mutual conversation, and respect for her body and choices.

She’s an empowered horse, and unlike so many domestic horses, she has never not been one. For her, that means letting everyone know when she’s had enough, when she wants to play, and when she thinks someone is just weird and ought to stop being that way. She’s like a little rugby player, not afraid to use her physicality to make a point. If she’s bored while I’m trimming her hooves, she puts that foot on the ground no matter how much of my body is in that space. If something, or someone, enters her field without asking, she charges and at least threatens to stomp them. If I come into her space not present, or with incongruent energy, she bites me in the head.

It’s actually comical, when it’s not totally alarming and stirring up all my horse-owner shame. I promote loving, caring, consensual relationships with horses as individuals. And the result is that I, on occasion, get bitten in the head by my very own soul-horse. It’s probably for my own good, but it sure doesn’t feel that way.

At first I fought back, when this phenomenon erupted somewhere in her second year. It’s been hardwired into me: a horse needs to respect my space, right? So I’d make my space, and sometimes I’d knock her in the face in the process. Too bad, she had to learn. My righteous indignation boiled up inside, and I was going to make that horse behave appropriately.

When that didn’t work (at all – it escalated things), I started avoiding her, since I really didn’t enjoy the alternative. I told her that if that’s how she wanted to play, I couldn’t be involved. I gave her my usual line about how humans are soft and kind of shitty, and even though I’d love to be more like a horse and play hard, probably I’d just end up crying and bleeding everywhere. The truth is, she made me feel squirrelly. Like a soft but persistent vibration under my skin that drove me nuts. And sure enough, visits would quickly escalate to her pushing me around. So I stopped visiting. I pulled back into myself. I hibernated. I pretended like she was going to see the error of her ways and just transform into a nice girl. She, predictably, did not.

The Subconscious Intervenes

It was some time before I remembered my dragon dream, that came to me weeks after she was born, long before any of this developed.

There’s this tiny dragon thing, and it keeps perching near my face or on my shoulder. It gives me the willies. It’s stunningly gorgeous and completely impossible to categorize, all wings and scales and fur and shiny, shiny eyes. It is so very wild and could definitely kill me and I have no idea how to handle it. I keep flapping at it ineffectually, wishing it would leave me alone. It makes the hairs on the nape of my neck stand up; it gives me that tug in the pit of my stomach. Fear. Dread. Avoidance.

But that’s not Aikido, some faceless dream-character reminds me; that’s not how I was trained to deal with what scares me. After much protestation I finally center myself, turn to the beast, and engage consciously. It still gives me the willies – that never changes. But the bright tension between us that was fear becomes instead an opportunity for connection, and suddenly this achingly beautiful soul is open to me. It could still kill me, but for some reason it doesn’t. And the thrill of that fear once I turn and dive into it is something beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. And we are friends despite the reality of its incredible power. And I am completely in awe.


Empowerment vs Assimilation

Animal Communicator and general Incredible Lady Güliz Ünlü wrote a piece on empowered horses that describes it perfectly. She points out that when you “share space with an empowered horse, you feel as though you are being assessed. There is a different kind of respect that is evoked, and suddenly you find your own awareness and observation become heightened. The horse as an empowered being knows exactly who and what they are, and they can see who and what you are. They will feel your congruencies and incongruencies. Where you are not being truthful with them and within yourself, areas you may not even realize don’t match. Since emotions, and thoughts are frequencies, they can distinguish energetic patterns and body language, and will read you like a book. And this is where they come in as facilitators for those of us who are willing to swallow our pride and take a good look at what they are showing us.”

When we truly give horses their voice, we actually open the door to endless possibility. And like Andrea Datz so eloquently called it last week, it’s a “full commitment to choice”. I cannot commit only to the predictable or desirable parts of the horse. I must commit to her entire self, her nature and culture, and her way of being in the world – even if it makes me uncomfortable or afraid. We so often put parameters and conditions on our love and acceptance, effectively neutralizing the infinite nature of both things. “I love you, but only if…” “I accept you totally, except when you…” It creates boundaries, consistency, and expectations. It is not inherently wrong, it is arguably necessary in the mundane reality of everyday life. It teaches assimilation to human culture. But that was never my goal in getting to know Fly.

I wanted her to be wild and independent, and didn’t stop to think what an actualized horse might look like when encouraged to be exactly who she was, and given endless opportunity to express that. I got myself into this mess – and now I didn’t get to pick and choose what parts of her I wanted to interact with. She was bringing this fierce, scary energy, and it was, and continues to be, my job to engage with that.

Hear Me Roar

I truly wish I had some exciting story to wrap this all up. But it has been remarkably simple, and a lot like that dream. I pulled up my big girl pants, I got my outsides more aligned with my insides, and I committed to Firefly in all her complexity, even though she still scared me, and I turned to engage with whatever demonic madness she might have in store for me. And she stopped biting me in the head.

Honest, she hasn’t done it since.

Maybe she turned a corner in her development, settling down as she becomes a mare and leaves her filly time behind her. But a big part of me recognizes how important that step was for me, and probably for her. I was resisting who she actually was, and creating stories about it as I went. All this served to cloud our connection and create the incongruence in me that that little horse just loathes. Our relationship snapped back to that close friendship, only now when we’re close I remember to keep my energy alert, relaxed and engaged. She may never attack me again, but that doesn’t mean I should assume I’m safe.

The other side of that coin is that it is vital not to shut her down and force or bribe her into being “nicer”. That’s not what she was put on this earth to be.

Sometimes I think about how horses like her are usually treated – these are the horses whose spirits need to be “broken”, quite literally, before they can be used for human purposes. “Dominant”, “Alpha” and “aggressive” horses with as much fire and brimstone as Firefly does don’t usually keep much of it through their associations with people, because it isn’t compatible with the way we have shaped the horse-human relationship.

Sometimes the “aggressive horse” is fearful, or has been abused, and only needs to be understood and treated gently. But other times, it’s a horse that just doesn’t subscribe to the status quo, and isn’t willing to tone it down. There’s something bigger to learn from each of them – if we can get over our aversion to aggression and defiance and instead seek out what’s behind it, they will show us power that we never knew existed. And, like the little dragon-being in my dream, it is the bright intensity of these relationships that makes life worth paying attention to.

Empowerment, Aggression, and Engaging with Fear

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28 thoughts on “Empowerment, Aggression, and Engaging with Fear

  • July 8, 2017 at 9:03 am

    Great article! I bet there could be a whole other blog on how you aligned your outsides with your insides! Lol I think sometimes we don’t know what the incongruencies are, which poses great frustrating in wanting to change for our horse but not quite knowing how. Needless to say….I am still being bitten! Not in the head though thankfully and it’s not all the time.

    • July 8, 2017 at 9:49 am

      No kidding Linsey – a whole blog series, or a book or two on the subject! But I think there are piles of wicked resources in the world for getting congruent…Or just present. There’s a whole lot of us trying. In the end it’s so personal, between each of us and in this case, the horse.

      Is there any pattern to getting bitten for you? One horse or more? Every horse, human and situation is going to be different so while Fly just needed me to get real this time, I’m sure I’ll be bitten again for other purposes!

      • July 8, 2017 at 10:13 am

        As for how I get present/congruent…It’s partly energetic, partly mental. I take some time and feel into the space behind and below my belly button. I meditate a bit to remind myself how to stay present. And then I go to the horses and do my best not to check out! Bringing my awareness back to the present moment every time it wanders. Challenging myself to let go of tension and resistance in my body as I get into the horses’ space. Moving out of the way before a problem builds up. Talking it out with them as I go. Noticing their small movement and expressions. Getting out of there if I’ve had enough! It’s a made up dance…

      • July 8, 2017 at 11:42 am

        Just one horse, my others don’t do it. But iv had the one in question since he was 6mths old and have done a lot but the last few years have steadily gone downhill. Separation anxiety, spooking and biting. He just doesn’t seem to want to be around me anymore but I have gone full circle as far as horsemanship is concerned and I think he is partly fed up of being told what to do but also lacking confidence in me because I have no belief in my own abilities anymore. I’m sure we will come out the other side and I do have some great help and support too. We are improving but feel like I have a lot more practice ahead of me on the staying present and congruent front!

        • July 8, 2017 at 5:56 pm

          Sounds like he’s had a lot to say to you already! I know the feeling…I tried just about everything under the sun with my first two and they became very disengaged. It took a long time to figure out they just wanted me to be me… One thing I didn’t mention was that at some point we actually had an intervention – energetic/shamanic style – to sort through the worst of it with Fly. It was really illuminating and she seemed so much more her sweet self afterwards. And she also still bit me on the head sometimes 🙂

          All I can really say is stick with it, and give him some time to be grumpy – while I make light of it, the time off from Fly was probably really helpful in that I stopped asking her to be what she wasn’t. I am a big advocate for letting things work their own way out where we can…Even though I usually feel I have to get to the bottom of it quickly, sometimes it just wants to unravel at its own pace.

  • July 8, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    Kesia….You made me laugh a few times. This blog is so entertaining in so many ways. How wonderful that some horses like Firefly do end up with humans that can work to a place of exploring why they are getting bitten…or any other so called bad horse beahavoir. Don’t get me wrong getting a bite from a horse hurts & is not what most of us can tolerate, especially ongoing. I would assume in the head, really is at a whole other level, but to keep diving deeper into the why is the key and because you expressed the stages you went through, I think people can relate to that. We of course are not going to enjoy ruff behavior/messages from our horses but if we don’t ask ourselves why ??? then how can we explore/grow??? As a human I know I take these ruff messages to heart and they mostly break my heart…always striving for that fantasy horse relationship you know! The reality is though, as I think most of your readers know, is that there is almost always a deeper message to be discovered, after we process through the stages (anger heart break embarrassment ) it can be a true lesson in self exploration. I appreciate your self discovery and the fact that it can help all of us look deeper & keep striving for that sometimes elusive (for me anyway) present mindfulness in our everyday interactions with horses and life in general……………As usual I loved this blog✌?️❤️?

    • July 8, 2017 at 6:02 pm

      And as usual we love you, Michelle! Oh gawd the heartbreak, yes, I have had so much of that! Fly’s mom has handed me my own ass so many times (huh, wonder where Fly gets her attitude)…It took me a decade to stop taking it so personally! Maybe she was getting me ready for her little taskmaster.

      The fantasy horse relationship….Do you ever step back from your self-criticism and go, wow, not so long ago I would be so impressed with me now! The more we learn, the higher our standards…

  • July 8, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    LOVE this! And the photos of her fiery little self are just fabulous – they really add an extra dimension.

    Remember when Fly reared up and came at me when she was a few weeks old? And I was like, what-the-what??! Because I’d just gone through this whole process of Vader the uncastrated goat attacking me every time I set foot on the property. And I acknowledged that yes, I know, this is me – I trigger this in animals and sometimes people. There’s something IN me that triggers this aggression.

    And then when Juno was 1 week old and attacked me – I finally realized what IT was that was triggering such aggression towards me (you linked to that experience in your post) – something that I *thought* I had done enough work on, that was cleared. But nope. And so the dance continues…

    And yes, walking away is a necessary part of this dance – when you just can’t figure it out, when you can’t take anymore, when you need a break, when it’s the only way to keep yourself from being injured, and so on. Which reminds me, that the PAUSE of stillness or silence can be the most impactful part of a dance, or piece of music, or breath. Vital.

    • July 9, 2017 at 4:49 pm

      Right – and sometimes maybe we get the real physical stuff because we can take it/won’t shut it down without mulling it over good and hard. I mean, for all that neither of us has been seriously injured by any of these animals, which is worth noting…

      Amalia once jumped away from me and double-barrel kicked me in the chest. She could have killed me. But she only flicked me. I think at the time (a few months into knowing her and just on the edge of the rabbit hole, at that very moment shoving essential oils at her because maybe they’d make her nicer!) I just sat down and cried, I was so shocked and hurt. And she came back and comforted me. But I never forgot it, and I got the message, which was basically “I could kill you and I choose not to. I have that much precision and that much patience. Back off, and heal yourself first.” (she told the last part to my mom in a dream, which was pretty cool).

      I have done a lot of walking away. Giving space to the problem, instead of trying to fix it. The pause, I love that. The empty space of possibility after you breathe out, waiting until the right time to breathe in again…

      • July 10, 2017 at 11:21 pm

        Montaro once kicked a rope away that was hanging about an inch away from my leg. The rope was annoying him, but he didn’t touch my leg. Then remember when Juno tapped the side of your head/face with his front hoof (when you were sitting down) a few weeks ago – left a smudge of dirt, but didn’t hurt you at all? Then Aude was pawing the ground fiercely behind your back (you were sitting on the ground) and her hoof was slamming the ground about 2 inches from your back and you were completely unconcerned. When I asked you how you could trust her not to hit your back, you just smiled and said her Ki told you there was no danger. So perhaps your dear Firefly is so fiery because she is also one of your Grandmaster Senseis? It is one thing to train with puny humans, and quite another to be taught/challenged by a horse-dragon.

        Which reminds me of this fantastic Dragon Boy trilogy:

        (ignore the book description and click the LOOK INSIDE icon – gives you a nice chunk of it)

        The way he comes upon and then is trained by this dragon has SO many parallels to the path we are all walking with our horses I was just enthralled by it. Although it is written for young adults, I whistled through all 3 books and then gave them to my daughter who also devoured them.

  • July 9, 2017 at 7:09 am

    loved this! Biting you on the head. priceless at least from my far away vantage point and I love that she really did turn out to be all that you asked for and then you aligned with that. Lots to digest in this post. thank you! and the pictures are wonderful.

    • July 9, 2017 at 5:01 pm

      Yeah – actually hilarious. You should see what she looks like when she does it, all angry eyebrows and ears back and mouth open wide. Clonk. She kind of hits me in the head with her open mouth. More surprising than painful, actually, but she’s very convincing with her “obey or die!” body language.

      And exactly – she’s totally the best and MORE than what I asked for…in many ways!

  • July 9, 2017 at 8:38 am

    As usual, I love your article Kesia and I am so grateful to have found this blog, where people share similar experiences (way outside of the “norm”). I especially appreciate connecting with you all who have experienced/are experiencing “raising” horses from the very beginning with that kind of consciousness; we are few and it’s so hard to always “stick to our principles” when everyone around seem to be thinking you’re out of your mind and reflect all the “reasonable” ways to think about human/horse relationship (because of their size, we humans need -out of responsibility to the world- to teach our young horses to behave, like you teach your children etc.)…

    This has puzzled me for a few years before I realized that everything about this premise is wrong: the root reason is wrong! We think softness and respect can be thought, it can’t.

    This relationship with my horses and what they made me realize changed my whole outlook on life and how, as a parent, I didn’t have to “teach” much to my kids; they learn from BEING with me, from who I am in this world, that’s mostly it. Of course, human children learn much more than just how to be, such as conventions and knowledge (to read and write and so on) but so do horses, they will learn whatever you teach them and will be happy to learn so long as it’s within this state of full respect of their own freedom of mind and all that it entails.

    And Jini, you put your finger on what I wanted to comment as well: Walking away… or TIME. This is too what I’ve experienced to be beneficial, allowing for things to settle because the energy (stress) associated with expectation (of things improving) and/or fear or insecurity goes against what wants to happen. And I totally agree with the strategy used here: being more present and congruent, this seems to be the only acceptable type of presence with these horses… They bring us back to it by default.

    I’ve written (in a comment) a few months ago about my soul horse, who came to me when he was only 4 months old (not that young by choice, I have to specify). He is an empowered horse, and I’ve always considered him to be one.

    He is now 5 years old and he surprises me all the time -how much he understands me, how much he communicates clearly- it hasn’t always been easy, if I am honest, I’ve had moments when I feared him a bit too, times where I knew I couldn’t know for sure that he wouldn’t step over me to make his point and times when I saw him telling me all that he was etc. The moments when I need assistance are the worst, when I need to have a vet over for instance, he makes me look like such a “bad horse owner” because he wasn’t trained to “behave” when someone pokes him with a needle or tries to put a huge metal thing in his mouth to scrub his teeth etc. Fighting with him is close to impossible because of his size and strength so I don’t think I need to draw a picture here… And what do you tell the vet? One doesn’t start to explain a lifetime of awakenings in a few minutes, ya know…

    But the thing is that I don’t know that I would LOVE him THAT much if he wasn’t that way… You know, I think I am that way too (or like to think of myself being that way); fierce and strong, powerful, intelligent and free of mind with a strong spirit… How could I expect my soul horse not to be this way? I don’t think that I would respect him as much if he wasn’t. And you know what, I think that since I realized that and faced my “dragon” like you did in your dream, with the complete acceptance of whatever is presented to me (being fully present and not expecting) my “dragon” is relaxed and enjoys being with me and we get in such a strong connection state; it’s indescribable (but I know you, and most here, know what I mean)… The best feeling in the world!

  • July 9, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Super rich stuff as usual Capucine! I think raising a young one (or getting out of the way while her mama raised her!) solidified my principles – here was this little dear soul I couldn’t possibly revert to dominance with. My two older horses have taught me so much but they still retain the reflexes carved into them from their training, and a part of me knows I could quietly force them if I really wanted to. But with Fly, who wrapped me around her little hoof the moment she hit the ground, just has to look at me like, “What are you DOING?” and I know I’ve gone too far.

    I love the way you describe your horse-boy, it sounds so familiar even though I’m sure they’re very different personalities. They just feel larger than life, more vibrant… I sometimes describe animals I know as “Narnia animals” – you know, the bigger, talking, magical animals that look down on and pity the “dumb beasts” of the other worlds, who are smaller, more frightened, and not as beautiful. There is this quality I can’t quite describe in animals that are given the right to be who they are.

    As for the bad horse owner stuff… I had to work through a lot of that. It’s pretty hard to explain that you know exactly what you’re doing, and that’s WHY they don’t behave…

    I especially like this sentiment: “I think I am that way too (or like to think of myself being that way); fierce and strong, powerful, intelligent and free of mind with a strong spirit… How could I expect my soul horse not to be this way? I don’t think that I would respect him as much if he wasn’t.” – I think too just how much sweeter it makes every little success, when you respect them that much.

    • July 10, 2017 at 11:37 pm

      You know, I think that’s one of the perks of having horses as child – no one EXPECTS your horses to be these push-button automatons! All the judgments and criticisms are waived because you are ‘just a kid’. Course I had my horses on my own land, not at a boarding place where everyone might try to ‘help teach the kid’. And I didn’t ride in “horse areas/trails”. I rode on the country roads around our house and in the ditches, vacant land, etc so rarely encountered adults on horseback. Ah, such freedom from ‘helpful’ intervention 🙂

  • July 11, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    I LOVE this Kesia! SO much to share. Thank you for the itty bitty glimpse into mastery with the wise ones!
    Your writing is frickin GREAT.

    • July 13, 2017 at 11:39 pm

      Couldn’t have done it without you – I was literally 3/4 through writing when I read your post and your perspective just said everything right there for me. I realized I have been thinking of empowered horses as “Narnia horses” – you know in CS Lewis, where the Narnia animals are larger and more animated and can talk, and they pity the “dumb beasts” from the regular worlds?

  • July 26, 2017 at 3:43 am

    Beautiful blog.. thank you for writing … thank you for sharing… same experience with my wonderfully reflectinve gelding Marcello…
    He was constantly experiencing the earth’s vibrations… not realizing and knowing what was happening to him… he was in addition experiencing my inexplainable uncertainties apparently as I was in a transition space from being a very succesful high level dressage competitor to a woman who wished for something else.. something more connected… a connection on soul-level…

    oh my oh my… and he acted so scary at times with his height of 1.70+ m and weight of 700+ kilos… running away when he did not agree with anything… leaving me just standing there…

    Now that Marcello has turned 11 on the 4th of July (!!)… and I myself have re-discovered my inner peace…have managed to let go of expectations… he is in the reflection of that.. we still and again do things together like in-hand work and gymnastic exercises that in a dressage competition setting would lead to piaffe, but in the setting we are now in it is directed to strengthening his physical, mental, emotional & spiritual abilities… and if he thinks that I take too long to for example give him some hay he spotaneously performs some steps Spanish Walk…

    Yes, we have come some way… and on that journey I was supported by The Path of DZAR among other things to get an even deeper insight into a lot of things…

    Thank you again, Kesia

    • July 26, 2017 at 11:12 am

      Geerteke this is an amazing story! Down to the shared birthday, wow.

      One part I didn’t speak about was Fly’s experience of the energy on our new land. It’s beautiful her but there are layers of warfare, colonialism, loss and destruction even where it looks pristine. During her worst behavioural phase, I think Fly was enmeshed in these energies and unable to separate her own sensations from that of the land all around her. An energetic intervention by a group of talented ladies helped to get her back in he own body.

      And look at what these fiery beings bring us! Marcello sounds absolutely charming and passionate – which could so easily have been interpreted as difficult and “rude” or dangerous if he hadn’t had a willing soul to explore with him. We get what we ask for even if we don’t know what we’re asking for! He sounds like the perfect soul to lead you through your transition from competition to conscious relationship… The other thing about these kinds of horses is how much feedback you get…You KNOW when you’re doing it right in their eyes, and you KNOW when they expect you to improve 😉

    • July 26, 2017 at 11:36 am

      Okay now my jaw is dropping, Kim! Your post is so informative, honest, raw, and grounded – and the parallels are indeed clear.

      As I was reading, I could feel so many emotions that you didn’t go into detail about. I think you and Tempo went through what Fly and I could have gone through in an alternate reality – maybe even if I was still boarding with the pressure and expectations you can’t escape when surrounded by other humans. Or if Fly had an injury like Tempo’s. Actually, I did go through versions of this with my two older horses and their eccentricities – so maybe that’s where the emotion is coming from. Wanting only to do right by them and watching helpless as everything I did seemed to make them more miserable…

      I am looking up CAT as soon as I’m done replying 🙂

      I totally believe that Fly would be a “problem horse” if she was in any other situation. We have so much more to work on together and she still scares other people but she gets to be herself on a whole lot of land with her horse family – and that has made all he difference.

      Thank you for sharing about Tempo, I was really moved reading your post. You’ve done amazingly together.

      • July 26, 2017 at 11:49 am

        Believe it or not, Tempo is now occasionally volunteering to lead sessions with some of my clients through Unbridled, LLC. I don’t yet let clients go into the paddock alone with her, but rather I go in with them. Here is a photo album from the most recent one with captions I wrote to explain what was happening:


        Tempo is a Master Teacher, for sure! Hugs.

        • July 26, 2017 at 12:50 pm

          Oof! I love it. Beautiful pictures and descriptions.

          How does she let you know who she wants to work with?

          • July 26, 2017 at 1:03 pm

            At the beginning of any session I invite the client to stand at the fence while all four horses are grazing out at pasture. I encourage the client to breathe and center him/herself and just to observe the horses. Sometimes one or more of the horses will approach, but whether they approach or not, the horses always know which one of them is best suited on that day to teach/provide the lesson that is most needed. And the horses let the human know in whatever way will speak to or touch that person. Often I am unaware of whatever it is that transpires between them in those moments. After a few minutes, I simply ask the client which horse they feel most “drawn” to and why. It always works out as it should. On that day, Tempo was the only horse that approached Jennifer from the pasture. Most clients are intimidated by Tempo’s strong presence and complicated energy. Jennifer was drawn to it.

            • July 27, 2017 at 10:31 pm

              Very nice 🙂 I love how horse and both humans get to trust and listen that way. I know what you mean about the intimidation factor, too – people have all kinds of descriptions for Fly, most of them along the lines of “scary, bratty, bitchy, mean, pushy”…and tend to prefer my marshmallow man, Spero, who is made of love and a little bit of mud. “Strong presence and complicated energy” is much more descriptive for these kinds of ladies.

      • July 26, 2017 at 5:39 pm

        I agree – a simply fantastic post Kim! I love your honesty and how you told the truth through the stickiest of times. Namaste.


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