I received a most fascinating email from a reader (let’s call her Jill) whose horse is now attacking her after she tried the Trust Technique and Reiki with him. And while her email is unique, at the same time she brings up important concepts that are pertinent to most horse owners. You’ll see what I mean…
QUESTION: “I’m trying to fix a situation with my horse after doing energy work on him. I was reading one of your articles and I tried the cloaking technique to keep my energy away from him, but he still is attacking me when I first show up in the morning to see him. And after reading some of your articles I can relate to the situation you were in, where the anger gets the best of you and you just want to lash out but he’s the innocent bystander.
I’ve also tried moving my energy around, so I’m not going head-to-head with him and it works sometimes to mellow him out, but then he’ll revert back to being passive-aggressive. I do not know what else to do and where else to try to get an answer to help me fix my situation with my horse.
It started out seeing a video of all these horses being mellow and at peace and I’m assuming the trust technique is using the Reiki practice, because it seems very similar by using energy work so I was watching the videos and I practiced it on my horse, who then got really aggressive around me.
I purchased a horse book on Reiki and it seems there’s a theme in where the horse did not want Reiki done on them, and to let them be if they did not want it.
I of course, was not aware of this prior to reading the book. So when Apollo was walking away from me, I was mentally pressuring him and never releasing him when he didn’t want it anymore, so hence the problem.
He used to be a loving horse, I had him for a year-and-a-half and he always loved hanging out around me. Now when I drive up he’s running around his paddock frenzied. And at first I thought he was happy to see me when I drove in. But I’m coming to realize he was freaking out because of him thinking I was going to do the Reiki practice on him, and not releasing on him the whole time I’m with him.
So now since June of this year, he has kicked me and been attacking me when I go up to his paddock. I’m assuming it’s to drive me away from him. Now it’s getting to a point where it’s dangerous because he’ll be standing next to me, then lunges at me with his teeth bared lightning fast and almost has gotten me a couple of times. And then he’ll walk away from me and then all of a sudden turn around and kick out at me – and I know it’s intentional because then he would run off. So now I’ve been trying to read up on all this energy work, but he’s fine with everybody else except for me.
The people at the barn think I should be reprimanding him, but I know that’s not the situation because it’s my fault where he is right now today. They’re telling me that I should act like a leader and show him who’s boss.
So when I go up to him I’m trying to be in a neutral space energy-wise and I am ashamed that when he does all this I get really angry and also aggressive with him, but I know that’s not his fault, it’s my fault, and it’s not fair to him.
But I need to know how to fix this because I own this horse and I’m not going to give him away, but I cannot leave him unhappy either, because I started the situation with him. I’m especially upset because we were okay before – but of course when you see the trust technique video, well who would not want to do that with a horse, to get them to lay down? It’s all very magical and other people are doing it, but apparently somewhere along the way I did it wrong.
I don’t know how to fix it because when I stand around him he doesn’t want me to even be around him, and when I try to pet him he turns around and walks away, when he never did that before, so now I’ve turned this practice into torture for him and it’s very disheartening. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of this happening before, but it would be nice to get some kind of feedback.
I’ve contacted the guy who did the trust technique and sent him a video of my horse attacking me after doing the present moment and he said he was going to get back to me and give me some advice that was in October and I know he’s really busy but that doesn’t fix my situation. I don’t want to bug him because he is in another country and I’m sure it’s hard to help somebody when you’re so far away but I need to find another way to get my horse to be at peace again with me.
I look back and think I shouldn’t have even started this whole trust technique, but apparently I did it all wrong after viewing some videos, because when I started doing it he was yawning and almost going to sleep and then all of a sudden he reached up and bit me because he didn’t like it. I don’t know if you’ve ever even heard of something like this ever happening, but I don’t know what I did wrong here besides knowing now I should have been in the present moment and just held the space and not followed him around the whole 2 hours I was with him. And now it’s kind of too late to realize that.
Please let me know if you’re able to assist me in any way because he still is behaving the same way to me aggressively, and as I see him right now he looks truly unhappy.”
So. Where to start? First of all, I want to thank Jill for being brave enough to reach out and be honest about what happened and where she thinks she went wrong. So many horse owners don’t do this and the situation escalates until the horse is either sent to auction (slaughter) or euthanized. So lots of gratitude and much respect there.
For those of you who don’t know what the Trust Technique is, you might want to stop here and read my post on it first. I’m not going to talk a whole lot about the technique here (yes, I purchased the course) but the core piece that Jill didn’t seem to grasp initially is this (quoted from my post on it):
“Forget about your horse and just learn how to enter stillness yourself. When you become – in your core – a grounded, peaceful person, your horse will trust you more and your relationship will naturally deepen and strengthen.”
However, whether Jill purchased the course, or just watched James French perform the technique in his free videos, I can understand where she would get the idea that she should be focused on her horse. If you watch James, even though he is not looking at the horse, sometimes he is in a closed stall with the horse – very close quarters and the horse cannot leave. And even in a field, his energy seems so focused and intense, you can almost feel there is an agenda to make the horses release, and lie down.
His intense desire to bring the horse into the present moment (where there is no trauma, no memories) and thus find release is understandable, but it is still an agenda. And if the horse is not in a 10 acre field where they can get far away from you, or, like Jill, if you follow them around, then the pressure of your agenda can become extremely noxious and intense.
It is very important to understand that ALL animals see, read, feel energy very clearly. If they did not, they could not survive in the wild – they would starve or be eaten. Here’s a quick example: A friend of mine owns a safari in Kenya and giraffes and wildebeest will sometimes come up to drink at a waterhole right next to a pride of lions, because they can sense that the lions are not hungry, so there is nothing to fear.
In this regard, Jill has correctly discerned that the energetic pressure she put on her horse, Apollo, was no less damaging than running him with a whip, or around a round pen for two hours. Although, perhaps it could be deemed more damaging, due to incongruence in the human. A human whipping a horse to run for two hours is pretty clear about what they’re doing – their intention and actions are congruent. It makes sense in that it’s clear. And it’s clearly nasty.
A horse being chased with energy for two hours – whether by Jill, or an equine therapy client, or an energy healer – is burdened with the added weight of incongruence. The human’s understanding, awareness and intent, are not congruent with their actions. So then we’re into mind-f**k territory; which can be more insidious, and take a bigger toll, than outright physical abuse.
I’ll give you an example. Let’s say you have a child who takes a cookie and mommy slaps her hand and says, “Hey, I told you no more cookies.” Mommy may be a jerk, but it’s clean, it’s clear from both sides.
Now imagine the child takes a cookie and mommy smiles with her mouth only, while her eyes harden, and says, “Your sister is SO beautiful and slim… she’s not a greedy little piglet like you, hahaha, well at least you’ll be around to care for me when I’m old, won’t you? You’re mommy’s special girl.” Now what is the girl feeling and thinking? It’s twisted. Mom’s energy and words are in opposition, and then her words themselves slap and then coddle her. Is Mom angry, or not? And how is this girl’s relationship to food and her body going to be?
Permission is a powerful thing
If your horse (or child, or dog, or employee) is a fully sentient being, then they are not a slave, and they own their own body. You don’t own their body; they do. So then before you do anything to that body, you need to ask for permission. And this is what’s missing from agenda-driven energy work. Whether your agenda is to heal your horse, or do good work, or to get him to lie down with you – you still need to ask permission. Which includes having them in a large enough space to say no by getting away from you. And then, more importantly, you need to abide by the answer.
Jill’s horse told her right away that he didn’t want her to do the Trust Technique (or her version of the Trust Technique) with him, she wrote, “…when I started doing it he was yawning and almost going to sleep and then all of a sudden he reached up and bit me because he didn’t like it.” A bite is a pretty clear NO. And Jill even realized he didn’t like it. If she had stopped there, apologized and left him alone for the day – or however many days it took him to recalibrate – Apollo would probably be fine.
If your horse walks away from you – that means No. Or not now. Horses have many ways of saying No. Pinned ears, averted eyes, tense wrinkled eyelids, rapid breathing, shifting feet, head turned away, etc. The first task when working energetically with horses is to hone your own skills to be able to listen to your horse and most importantly, understand when your horse is saying, No, or Stop. If you cannot do that with confidence, then don’t do any energy work with your horse! You need to hone your skills first; practice on your friends, meditate more, get way better with managing, discerning, controlling your own energy. THEN bring it to your horse.
Another important point is that different horses have vastly different levels of energetic sensitivity. None of my 11 horses have ever asked me to cloak my energy; only Cobra. Kesia’s mare, Amalia, is another super sensitive horse and Kesia has this to say about Jill’s situation:
“Amalia hated me trying to manipulate her energetically for years, but it took me a long time to get out of my story of her rejecting me and actually listen to her. It turns out she is extremely sensitive, extremely powerful, and does not want to talk about it. My energy feels itchy to her. Sometimes she doesn’t even want me to look at her. And yet when she does choose to connect, it’s extraordinarily sweet and vulnerable. Techniques don’t account for individuality… no one approach works for all horses. They are just tools to try, discard, or learn to master. What really counts is being able to commit wholly to who this being actually is.
So step #1 is: Stop any and all energetic explorations. The energetic version of sitting on your hands… not because what you did was wrong, but because he has been so affected and can’t bear it right now. Just stop. Relate to him as a physical being only for now, until HE initiates otherwise. The Trust technique did the opposite for my horses – nothing. I was intrigued by it too and like anything, it is, in the end, just a tool.”
If you’re trying to “connect” with your horse, or share love, or feel close – those are all energetic pressures! You need to develop your own self-love, your own meditative practice, so you can sit in stillness and acceptance of yourself, first.
The physical aspect
Apollo’s behaviour is his way of clearly communicating with Jill that he is very distressed and things are very not-right in his world. So along with looking at the energetic and emotional aspects when our horses are unhappy, ill, or behaving negatively, we also have to take a good look at their physical conditions.
As Mary Walby detailed in her post on Rehab Tools – simply feeding the wrong diet can hugely affect a horse’s behaviour, as can the freedom to move and exercise.
Jill wrote that she drives up to “his paddock” so my first question is: Is Apollo kept in just a paddock, all day, every day? And does he have any herdmates? When horses are kept in stalls, paddocks, and just a few hours of turn-out per day, they only have two choices: Dissociate from their physical body, or, go crazy. Most horses will dissociate and shut-down. Like learned-helplessness, the horse will appear to be calm, docile, content. When in reality, the horse is lights-are-on-nobody’s-home, because their life is that unbearable.
The sensitive horses will become “problem horses”. They will weave, crib, chew wood, become aggressive and angry. Horses are herd animals. They must have a herd – even if that’s just one or two other horses – that they can touch, groom, eat, sleep and meditate with. Over the fence doesn’t count! And a herd consists of horses who actually want to be together. Horses have very clear likes and dislikes, so again, you need to listen to your horse and let him choose his companion(s).
When I purchased Kaliah, I was very clear and had it written into the contract, that if my herd didn’t accept her, then I could return her. It would have been horrific for her, and destroyed the peace of my herd to keep them together if they rejected her.
Horses also require a lot of movement to stay healthy and sane. If you can’t give your horse at least 2-5 acres, then set up a track system. Here’s an example of a great environment for a herd of 7 ponies, on only 2.5 acres of land. Remember, if you kept a dog in a crate for 23 hours/day, you would not be ‘wondering’ why the dog was nuts!
Physical pain (ulcers?) can also make a horse aggressive and lash out. Does Apollo have a hay net, or slow feeder? His stomach is producing acid 24 hours/day, does he have low-sugar hay available 24 hours/day? Grain also wrecks the gut flora and can throw a sensitive horse into neural distress – remove all grain and just feed free-choice Hoffman’s minerals instead.
Jill may think Apollo’s environment and diet are not the issue, because he was fine for the 18 months before she tried Reiki and Trust Technique with him. But that could just be coincidental timing, or it could have been the ‘final straw’. Perhaps Apollo’s distress with his living environment had been building to a crescendo, until he just couldn’t take it anymore. Or perhaps Jill’s energy work ‘woke him up’, perhaps it broke through his dissociation, and now Jill needs to make the necessary changes to his diet and/or physical environment.
Perhaps, in Apollo’s current living environment, he doesn’t have the tools – enough space and same-species companionship – to recalibrate his nervous system. In that case, nothing Jill does energetically or emotionally is going to help him. She needs to focus on meeting his physical needs first.
Then, after he has had plenty of time and space to heal himself and get his head straight, and get back to being a horse, then maybe it will be time to explore energetic connection and communication again. Or not! Again, Kesia has a great perspective on this:
“You haven’t done anything wrong; own it not as guilt or fault, but as an attempt to do right by him. You are now getting the opportunity to learn to listen to what he actually wants and needs. What that is, we can’t know until you figure it out. It may be physical distress within his body or environment. It may be chemical or psychological. Regardless, feeling bad about what we’ve done, or not done, gets in the way of hearing what needs to happen. You may not have to DO anything. He may just need to you stand back and witness this transition in him, regard him for even more than you initially thought he was. Perhaps he’s coming alive, moving down through dissociation towards regulation, which is incredibly uncomfortable for him. It is not fun to be “woken up”. If the Trust technique felt that invasive to him, then he maybe has some big stuff to move through.”
Since Apollo doesn’t want to have anything to do with Jill right now and all her attempts to connect or come into his space cause him distress, if I were her, I would focus all my energy on improving his physical environment and meeting his physical needs better. Whatever improvements she can make, are better than none. And Apollo will respect her for hearing him and for doing her best.
Here’s one little example to show you how important every aspect of their living environment is to horses. For my herd of 11, in addition to having enough slow feeder boxes under shelter (because it rains so much here), they showed me that I also needed to add open boxes specifically for their daily alfalfa. Juno showed us we couldn’t simply fill the slowfeeders with hay and put the alfalfa on top, because the first time we tried this, he stood both his front legs inside the feeder, on top of the feeder grate, to push it down so he could better get at all the little alfalfa bits! Oy vey.
And then, after I got 11 more open boxes for their alfalfa, Zorra showed us that one of the boxes needed to be moved to a better location – she showed us 3-4 times, very insistent, until I got out my drill, removed the 6 screws and screwed it down again in the place she wanted it:
You can see from this one small example how important it is for horses to be in control of their physical environment. Of course they know what they need, better than we do! They also want to live peaceful, fair, interesting, varied, satisfying lives. And they know what’s not working for them, and what we need to change. So we need to both study wild horses (equine ethology) and listen to what our own horses are asking us for. Then we need to action and make things better for them.
How much is your stuff?
Lastly, let’s take a look at the spiritual aspect. The ‘horse as mirror’ perspective.
As I’ve already talked about above, it is super important to learn how to ground and manage your own energy first, before you try to work energetically with others. If you don’t have your own meditative practice yet, then here’s a guided meditation from my horse Montaro, to get you started.
You certainly will not be able to cloak your energy from a horse, until you can sink your own energy into the ground and enter peace and stillness throughout your own physical, energetic and emotional body. For a horse like Apollo, I would do my meditating and grounding outside his space. I would put a fence in between us, then forget about him, and do my own work on myself.
So perhaps this is the space Apollo is calling Jill to? Perhaps his behaviour will force her to go to the next level of mastery within herself?
I’m reminded of a friend of mine – a wonderfully talented artist. She focused so hard on being a ‘good mother’ and a ‘good wife’. Meanwhile, her true, wildly creative self was crying out for her to connect and move into deeper authenticity with her own soul. She also had two cats, that she never let outside. She was worried that they would get hurt or eaten by raccoons in the area. After 15 years of marriage and child-raising and worsening health (when we don’t listen to our soul, our body tries to send us the message too), she separated from her husband, and moved into her own place. Which she quickly filled with art projects and beautiful art objects – and let her cats come in and out of the house, as they pleased.
When she freed herself, she was able to free her cats.
So the gift here for Jill is to look at Apollo’s behaviour and pretend he is a mirror for her own life, self, soul. To ask herself these questions: What is wrong with my environment? Where am I making myself crazy? Where have I pressured myself, or been pressured to the point where I just want to blow up and deck someone?
I too have been in a place where my own energy/emotional body was so manky none of my horses would even stand next to me, let alone allow me to touch them – scroll down this post for my drawing of what my energy body looked like!
So Jill’s situation with Apollo is an excellent snapshot, or microcosm, of what we all go through, or may go through, as we walk this path of growth and learning with our loved ones.
For all of you reading this, what’s the mirror in this story for your own life? Perhaps it’s something you’ve already been through, or are currently are in the midst of… what things speak to you, or jump out at you? I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories in the Comments section below 🙂
Jini Patel Thompson is a natural health writer and Lazer Tapping instructor. She began riding at age 2 in Kenya, and got her first horse at age 8 in Alberta, and so continues a life-long journey and love affair with these amazing creatures.
62 thoughts on “Trust Technique & Reiki Makes Horse Aggressive?”
I want to say to the OP that I can so relate to having done something …for what I thought was in the best interest of the horse…to have it backfire on me in a horrible way and now the horse is suffering for my mistake. We can not take it back. We can only move forward. I keep saying this to myself but it’s having a hard time sinking in and I have so much guilt. Especially since my horse is the one suffering mentally and physically for my lack of knowledge. My mistake rests more in the physical but we know ….it all goes hand in hand. Now I am at a place of figuring out how to fix …long term….what I broke…and it is overwhelming and excruciatingly painful…especially for my horse!
I am dealing with founder. I thought my horse was out of the woods but now that the green grass is back (even though for a very short time…California) he is suffering all over again. I am like you and having a hard time figuring out how to move forward. I am stuck in guilt and darkness and I know this serves no one. The hardest part is I felt we were past it (he was so strong and moving good again) but now it’s right back ….like a brick to the head. I don’t have much insight on how to help you …I just wanted you to know you are not alone and I to…am trying to fix/repair and move forward from the fucked up situation I have caused. I know Jini always suggests looking inward…but when you feel dark…that can be hard to do…even if it’s what’s needed the most. I will close with a mantra I use to say a lot in times of despair. Sing along….JUST KEEP SWIMMING JUST KEEP SWIMMING…SWIM SWIM SWIM. ✌🏼❤️🐴
Much love Michelle and here’s a wee poem that helped me recently:
When we are in a dark place we tend to think we have been buried.
Perhaps we have been planted?
I read this and thought to ask you to look into Carolyn Resnick method CRM… to bring the instincts and code of horse conduct into your relationship. Best to you it really is awesome to communicate in a horse code they use!
Relaxation and self realization is in the method and is journaling and why journaling can help us and the horse connect more in the calm.
Nothing in her method will hurt the horse and you can have the laying down but not with intensity but just ease.
I use Trust Technique with my boys. I have the video course and I went on a course with James French. What was stressed right from the start is that you go at the horse’s pace and always regard them. We were taught that the moment the horse looked away or brought their energy up we were to come out of the present moment. It was never a pressure on the horse because we always regarded what they felt about it. As soon as it was too much then we stopped. Certainly for my horses, they have the choice to move away if they so desire. One of my boys lays downs with me and the other isn’t so sure about it. It is his choice if he wishes to join in or not. He has a lot of anxiety to release and he usually only stays for a few moments then releases and walks away. I absolutely love the trust technique and has worked wonders for me and my horses but absolutely must be at the animal’s pace.
I also use the Trust Technique and am very happy with the results.
However it is really important you do all the tutorials and watch all of the videos in the home study course, before you even think to apply this to an animal.
The trust techniques works only at the animals pace, it is much more complicated than just watching horses lie down with James French.
There are also many scenarios, and feelings and timing plays a very important role.
Most of the work is on your self first, so you can tune in tune out, know your self.
Never have expectations or wants.
Its is a simple invitation to share a moment of peacefulness together
The Trust Technique is MUCh more than the introduction videos show. It is deeply energetic and nothing to take lightly. I have worked with James and Shelley a few times . It is vital to learn exactly what you will be doing and how to do it . There are many layers and once you open that animal up , you are responsible to assist him in healing. Please contact them again . I am sure you will get a response at some point. I am not an expert , but I do have Masterson Equine Specialist Cert. Koelle Cert. Equus Life Coach , Horse Speak Student … please feel free to contact me – even though this article is several years gone by! 2/1/2021
I agree with youMonica .
Great summary Clare (and thanks Monica too) and love how you’re shared the difference in how your horses react – you’re the same person, doing the technique the same way, but 2 very different reactions/feelings about it. Which you honor and allow. Awesome!
Wonderful explanations! I can say from my experience rehabbing senior horses with various physical and emotional issues when I first started doing it, it was from a physical needs perspective only. I did not touch the “energetic” at all partly because I had no training in it, and also because I had seen many people do the “energetic” stuff without any acknowledgment or understanding of the horse’s physical needs. The incongruency was so blatant to me that I wanted nothing to do with all this “energy” stuff that was the new craze.
What ended up happening for me is that I started training in aikido around the same time I got into rehabbing horses. Aikido is grounded equally in both the physical and energetic realities at the same time, in total congruence. As the horses I was rehabbing got physically better from their new holistic environment (on acreage, with a herd, forage based food, no grain), the energetic world with them opened up on accident. The big piece for me was it was grounded in the physical reality of what they needed and what their body language was communicating to me, including how they say “no”. Without recognizing a “no”, there is no “yes”, and without a clear “yes” and “no”, they can not fully initiate with us humans in all their horseness.
We humans and horses have a physical body with physical needs. When that is supported, it also supports our energy. When the two are in alignment and firing on all cylinders, look out, amazing things happen beyond our wildest imaginations.
When I look at the photo above of the “trust technique” it is so claustrophobic for me. Yes, horses can lay down that close to each other and relax, but the bulk of their time is spent with much more space between them. From the horses that I’ve know, only the ones that are the very, very best of friends (and I mean on the highest level you could possibly get) do they lay that close to each other, and even then they don’t do it all the time. Horses have such a big energetic field that they are already “touching” each other at at least 15 feet away, and ultimately even at several aces away from each other. Then I look and see, are they mirroring each other’s body language at an acre away? Sometimes they are, and that tells me the level of connection between the two horses. We humans love physical touch, especially a soft, furry horse. Horses don’t spend much time that close to each other (if they live in a large enough environment) and don’t pet each other nearly as often as we humans do. I’d like to see the “trust technique” done from several acres away. Now that would be fascinating. Rather than the human going toward the horse, the horse has the freedom to choose to come closer to the human out of curiosity. And if they don’t, there’s a reason for that too.
Regarding the feeling expressed above guilt/despair of trying to help your horse and thinking you’ve failed when it all gets worse, I can identify. I know from my experience of trying to solve a problem, there are many “failures” along the way. It is impossible to have all the answers, but what I can do is keep asking questions, keep talking to people and asking for help. Eventually the pieces of the puzzle will fit together if I stay open to learning. It takes tremendous courage to have all hell breaking loose and still be willing to walk through it seeking wisdom. On bad days, I do not enjoy that process, but months or years later when I finally find that needle in the haystack (and I have found a few), it was all worth it. Being at peace with this challenging process does wonders for whatever situation I’m dealing with. It is not easy, and it is not comfortable, but letting it be how it is as I continue to search for answers is enough. Horses give us so much space to be imperfect humans. The challenge they give me is to allow myself to be imperfect.
With the downward spiral of Apollo, I second looking at possibilities for improving his physical needs, and beyond that “do nothing”: no petting, no touching, no approaching, no nothing. Dare him to initiate with you because you aren’t going to initiate with him in any way. Might blow his mind and free up so much energetic space for him, who knows what ideas he might come up with all by himself, (but don’t even have this last sentence as a goal). Good luck.
Yes very good point Mary – there certainly is a trend on Facebook and YouTube to SHOW how close you are to your horse and how much your horse loves you – as evidenced by physical touching and intimacy. But you’re right, even my family herd does not lie down against each other – how would they leap to their feet (coyotes, bobcat) in such close quarters? And each horse is so individual. As a foal, Juno never wanted to be touched when he was lying down. But Xadaa and Posa happily laid their heads on the kids laps and snoozed away. Aude is okay with me touching her when lying down, if I’m scratching something or massaging her. But Montaro and Jax think it’s extremely odd and it makes them uncomfortable. But do they TRUST me? Hell yes. Enough to be left to stand guard while the entire herd went into REM sleep. Or one time I had to drop a cheque off at the barn – it was around 9pm and pitch dark. I wondered where they all were and walked out into the field – and there they were, lying down (except for the one standing guard). Not one of them leaped to their feet. I energetically sent them love and left. Now THAT is what I call trust.
Just occurred to me that I have been bitten one time by a senior horse I was rehabbing in the first year I had him. He had fallen ill, and it was tenuous if he was going to pull through or not. I was so worried I was beside myself. I stayed with him all night monitoring until 5 am. Things seemed to be improving so I went to see if he was ok with my hands lightly on his shoulder. I thought it was ok, but I wasn’t sure because his eyes had a bit of a glare going on, but then he did close his eyes and relax. Then suddenly in a flash he turns his head sideways and reaches his head out and bites me on the shoulder. I let out a scream, and then instant clarity hits me. He was fine. He did not need any more help from me. I could go home and go to bed. What relief. I would stop worrying and go get some sleep myself.
It’s been 9 years since that incident. He did pull through all on his own. He’s never bitten me again, but I’ve also come to understand that the “glare” he was giving me was in fact a “no, don’t touch me”. I got better at reaching his no and honoring it, rather than pushing for just one more thing. As a result he’s never had a need to bite me to get through to me to stop doing something. Now it’s just a feeling I get when I approach, or a fixed eye that tells me to switch gears, and that happens long before I’m ever within his reach or he’s within my reach. Great topic, Jini!
Xadaa did this to me today! She came over for scratches, but I was not tuned in very well – my mind was elsewhere. So instead of feeling into her and following her cues for WHERE she wanted to be scratched, I just went to the places that all the horses like to be scratched. Well she simultaneously cow-kicked and bit at me in one fluid, “HEY! Cut that out!” She didn’t connect with either, but she sure communicated well 🙂
Funnily enough, I had just seen her mum, Kaliah do exactly this to her about 10 minutes before. Xadaa wasn’t latched properly as she nursed, so Kaliah cow-kicked out at her sideways, while swinging her head round to nip her rump. It was normal mum-daughter communication and I’ve seen all 3 mares do that to their foals.
Again, is the horse being violent, or aggressive? Or is the horse just communicating normally, in an appropriate manner? When horses are allowed to be their natural selves and to have their own voice, that can look a little different than we expect. And then we can have a conversation about that and I can ask them to message me softer and show them that I AM listening and I will respond to softer cues. It’s all good.
Another brilliant post. Thank you “jill” for bringing up this hot topic.
I was just telling Jini today at the barn about my own personal experience with “energy healers”.
I have spent most of my life around people who are in the healing arts in one way or another. From a small child I was able to sense when people were congruent in the physical to their mental and verbal communications.( we all do this sub-consciously) it is our innate wisdom keeping us “safe” so to speak. Letting us know who to trust. Animals live in this space all the time.
Fast forward to now, there are very few humans that I will give permission to work with me.
If they call themselves a “healer”, they can’t touch me.
if they call themselves a “shaman” they can’t touch me. If they call themselves a Master of anything, I will be able to read them like a book and chances are that if they approach me telling me that they can heal me, or that I need what they have without ME ASKING THEM, it is ALL ego in my opinion.
Only the sentient being can heal his/herself. Only we can heal ourselves. Yes, we are gifted with extraordinary space holders who have access to frequencies that we can resource by being in their presence( distance or in person) but only when our own body is ready for it. We can’t trick ourselves into a healing. We can say we want to be healed but subconsciously there may be something holding you back from allowing yourself to experience a complete and whole body in it’s “healed” form.( for our animals, this may be projected beliefs from past guardians, or traumas that the horse in this case needs to go through without a human agenda to “fix”)
As for learning to discern between true permissions, or our own projections according to our own agendas, this takes PRACTICE.
How can we learn discernment?
There seems to be a beautiful melding between Aikido and horses. Jini, Kesia and myself as well as Mary Walby all have worked with getting to know our own body and the subtle strengths and power we hold and how to work with them specifically through Aikido. This is KEY. We MUST know our body. We must have a sense of our potential. Other practices might be Qigong, Tai Chi, even Kung Fu that give us insight and techniques to listen and “play” with energies before we start messing around with our animals or other people. If you can’t explore these practices, there are legit course offerings by people who have been mastering these skills of listening. It is a journey!!!! we must have patience and love for our own path as it is.
It never ends.
Remember, we are born with all we need to listen, we have simply forgotten, but all our brilliance is there buried in layers upon layers of belief systems. Those belief systems did not get there over night, though they can be shifted “quickly” it takes discipline, patience and perseverance..and support, and what an amazing group of humans and animals we have here to help each other!!!
love ~ G
I remember my sensei saying that the first year of aikido you learn where your body is in time and space. Once you start to understand that then you in the second year you can begin to learn how your body relates with your environment and everything around you. It was a huge transition to just become aware of my own body and what it was telling me. I will say that as I understand myself better and what my body is telling me, the more compassionate I am with those around me, people and horses.
I just found your website. I’ve read three articles. I am so relieved and overjoyed to find you. So far my experiences echo everything I’ve read.
I found you, because I saw a James French video and wanted to read reviews of his program.
The aAnalysis of Apollo seems 100% to me. Incongruous human being taught. And how brave of her to be transparent and keep asking.
My guess is Apollo will forgive and come around when she learns the lesson.
When we stop to consider that they start out trying to communicate and mostly give up because we don’t hear or see them. Then when we become present, but ignore the obvious and try to intrude energetically. It’s more than offensive.
I have just broke away from a trainer, who while very aware and loving to horses, is steeped in tradition. I have had the thought that classical dressage, which I know very little about, is a tradition that can honor the horse if done slowly, correctly, and overplayed with viewing the horse as a spiritual being.
But the freedom to explore, that I’m feeling since the mutual decision to push pause in the relationship, is exciting. I’m realizing my heart is in observation of them, and intuition, and letting them guide me again.
For the last few weeks a beautiful memory keeps coming back. I’d like some feedback on The meanings it may contain and different viewpoints. I think my “ what’s next “ answers are in it.
The memory is from when we lived on a larger ranch where we could all wander freely, as long as the grass wasn’t too green and tall.
My older retired mare, who was trained in dressage and western. Would lead us on trail rides at liberty.
One day I could set an intention, like I want the newer younger horse, to understand where I am above her body, so I don’t get whacked with branches. She, the older mare, named Firefly, turned her head to look at me, as if saying, “really?”
Then suddenly took off up a deer trail, narrow and steep, through a forest, one I’d only hiked. The newer mare Sipsey, the one I’m on, wearing a halter and bareback pad, followed the gelding, who followed Firefly. We trotted up the trail, barely missing madrone trees with my leg, small twiggy dead cedars tips passing within an inch of my head. Me trusting, letting go. A passenger. No branches or trees touched me. She showed me she knew. They showed me, they’d “ talked”. So here is the reflection I got from the old trainer.
Yes, but the you were still being lead by a mare who is steeped in tradition.
What am I missing?
Your thoughts please.
Hi Ishe, welcome!
I have stepped or turned away from many teachers when we had exhausted our learning together – it’s awesome that you can feel the right timing for this, and be excited by it!
In regards to your question, I don’t think you’re missing anything. I think your experience sounds gorgeous and fun for everyone, full of freedom and exploration. What does it matter how well-trained the mare is? You were in all-way communication from a more universal place, not providing her cues. She was drawing from her great wealth of knowledge – which comes from her mother and all her horse ancestors, her connection with the divine, her education among humans, her traumas and triumphs, and her own unique synthesis of it all – to include you in a beautiful day out with the herd, and see to your needs and requests, as well. If your trainer could only see one aspect of all that, so be it. That is their loss, not yours.
So… your dressage trainer is comparing her/himself to your lead mare, Firefly. In that the dressage trainer was trained/immersed in traditional dressage training, and Firefly was immersed in traditional horsemanship training (in whatever discipline that was).
So I guess if we’re going to concur with that analogy, then I’d have to ask you whether you were able to express your heart’s desire to your dressage trainer, for what you wanted to experience on/with your horse, and was your trainer able to facilitate that desire in a way that was positive, beneficial, and explored with full CHOICE and freedom by all concerned?
Could your dressage trainer facilitate/lead this exploration (that you requested) in an open field, with your horse wearing only a halter?
If not, then your trainer’s analogy (equating him/herself with Firefly) is incorrect at it’s root.
For me the more interesting question or paradigm to explore is WHAT do I want to experience in my relationship with my horse(s)? If you want to explore the effects and feeling of different training methods, then you put that intention out there and wait for your next teacher to appear.
If you want to co-create with your horses and go beyond training, then you’re Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole and anything goes – just like that day in the field you described.
It all comes down to the same question my horses ask me over and over again: WHAT DO YOU WANT?
There is no judgment. But until we have clarity, neither our horses, nor the universe can meet us there.
p.s. I would also go back through your life and see where your default setting is to give your power away to authority figures. Where/why do you feel comfortable with someone else telling you what to do – how/why does that make you feel safe? When you think about becoming your own leader, your own boss, your own trainer, how does that make you feel – emotionally and physically?
Thanks so much for writing in and sharing your thoughts and amazing experience with us – I could feel the field, the trees, the wonder, the exhilaration. Thank you!
Also Ishe, I don’t know if you’re subscribed the blog, but Kesia’s latest post might be very interesting for you:
Wow, so much great sharing here!
For me, I always ask the horse’s permission if I can approach and sometimes they will show me exactly where they need touch which can look like many different things… sometimes I see it in my mind’s eye, sometimes a twitch of a muscle will indicate where. I had one horse keep pushing at me with his head and I asked him to please be careful, and then I asked him if I could touch his poll, then his tmj and found that he had headaches. He relaxed appreciatively into letting me rub him for a long time.
Just like us, horses emotions, moods and behaviours are variable. My beloved Prowler never liked me being close to him when he laid down to sleep. He was private in that sense. Except for the week of his passing when he invited me to sit and lean up against him for a 15-minute snuggle. So rare and precious! In that same week, he threatened to kick me (he had a terrible injury to one of his back legs) one morning when I went out to feed mash in the dark. He was in pain and trying to tell me.
I look less favourably at the ‘well-behaved horse’ than I used to (although I’m not sure what I think about that when riding when I feel most vulnerable lol) and often tell people when their frustrated that the horse only has their body and behaviour to tell us what they need to say. At least until we get attuned enough to start hearing the messages of the herd.
I know this is an old post but still very relevant. The last paragraph is SO true.
We have forgotten (or never told) how amazing humans and animals are.
The current state of the world has made it difficult to remember just how important it is to have patience, perseverance and recognition of the need to persevere. Why not start with ourselves and then share with other humans and animals?
I grew up with animals and was fortunate to be able to work with a vet famous for her work in developing Wombaroo, a milk for Australian animals. I eventually ended up treating humans as a physiotherapist.
I have always been able to connect with animals, even those that were supposedly ‘dangerous / vicious’. After reading and watching about the trust technique I understand more why I have an affinity for all living creatures.
Thank you to all those choosing this path.
Thank you everyone, great topic, great feedbacks <3
Right?? So glad Jill was brave enough to reach out and share about this!
I really appreciate your blog and the time you have put into this to help me out. The information is very thought-provoking and I know there was some replies about how some people do enjoy the TT which I totally understand but maybe there should be some kind of disclaimer also to maybe finish all the videos before trying out the techniques.
As you’re watching the video, you’re eager to go try out the segment you just recently watched to see if it works or not. And the technique did work and Apollo was going through all the stages of falling asleep with a blinking eyes and head down but then he started getting upset because I don’t think he knew why this feeling was happening to him. He would start trying to walk off in slow motion because he was around stage 2 and you can see he was really trying to fight that sleepy feeling he was getting into.
When James talked about holding your space, I was not aware of what he meant and I did regard Apollo but I guess holding your space means not following him around for 2 hours and to keep your own space when they walk away. But by the time I got to the other videos, it was too late, the damage was already done.
Yes Apollo is very curious and very intelligent and that’s how he was with me for the last 18 months before I started the TT technique and then now he’s really spooky and scared all the time even when I take him out. I always try to foster his curiosity by letting him express himself but now even when I try to do that he just revert back into his scared shell and when I first got him I had a vet/ acupuncture lady check him out to make sure he was okay body wise and he was fine and then I just had him check last month and she told me he has an ulcer.
And that’s where I’m trying to figure out how to get that fun curious horse I had back. He has lost all that wonderful joy and fun which is why I’m so distressed about this whole thing.
Before this whole trust technique , I wouldn’t have even bat an eye when he approach me now I can’t trust him.
I know in the video that when I put my hand out that’s the part that’s when he usually comes in and and seems very friendly and all of a sudden that’s when he’ll try to attack me.
I think when he was playing with a chair and the cone he was expressing his frustration by picking up something and holding on to it and then when he dropped that he came over to me to express his frustrations out on me
That’s why I so concerned because he’s done it so many times where he’ll walkover and then just stand next to me and with his head down and then he’ll lunge at me without any warning so if you see the clips a few seconds after when he walked away from me then he starts trying to bite me that’s usually not the way he goes after me usually with more stealth mode.
I hate to say that a horse is that intelligent to premeditated actions but he is really a smart horse.
For example, yesterday I was standing next to him while he was eating his hay peacefully and then all of a sudden he’s struck and try to grab my lower leg.
And then today I had somebody at the barn who’s a parelli trainer and she basically said “oh he’s such a sweet horse” and just petting and rubbing his face all over and he seems to be enjoying it. So I told her that he doesn’t even want to be around me so she’s like well why don’t you try to pet his face and as soon as I put my hand up to pet him I have not even touched him yet, Apollo moved his face to the left away from my hand and then I went to the right side to pet him and he moved his face to the right to get away from me and the woman was really perplexed because she was standing there rubbing his whole face and he was just totally enjoying it.
After staying at the other barn in the large paddock and sensing he was so unhappy because now he started cribbing also. I thought I would try moving him to another barn which I did about a month-and-a-half ago
It was a really hard to make that decision to move him from a large area to a smaller living quarters but I was literally desperate because I wanted to see if moving him would have changed his behavior which apparently it has not because he’s gotten even worse.
I live in a city so it’s really hard to find a place with large fields which I would love for him to be in. And if I did move them to a big area outside of the city and I would not see him at all since I work two jobs to support him right now and myself.
I do know that I need to take some courses to get my energy in check so I sign up for a Reiki 1 and 2 class in February so that way I can learn to manage my own energy.
I will put everything you’ve suggested to get my relationship back in working order
I was really not aware that energy work was so real and intense because it’s all seems so abstract but now apparently is very real to me.
I few things struck me when I read your comment, and thought I’d just throw them out there.
1. Grain can cause spookiness and general uneasiness. Grain can cause cribbing. Grain can cause ulcers. Grain can put the digestive system out of whack Does he have any grain (or even treats from the sugar) in his diet?
2. Moving from a larger area to a smaller area will affect behavior. If I understand correctly, his behavior got worse when he was recently moved to a smaller area. The less amount of space can also affect the digestion and exacerbate the negative behavior.
3. A really “out there” experiment you could try is just honor his “no”. He’s giving you many: turning his head away, lashing out and biting, etc. He says no, you walk away. The “trying to fix this” can actually be even more energetic pressure on him, hence the reason why he’s still saying “no”.
The way out of this dynamic will have many seemingly meandering routes. There’s no “going back to how it was”, there is only going forward my a different route. He is one amazing teacher. Let him teach you, and it may mean completely leaving him alone. Let him come around on his own, if he ever decides to. And if he doesn’t, that’s ok too. If you’re able to completely emotionally release him from you, something new will happen just by definition. Good luck. I’m curious to see what ideas Jini has.
Okay, I didn’t write this before and I didn’t blog about it, but what you’ve written here is making me think that perhaps it is actually important…
Both Kesia and I wondered when we read your first email, whether there is an entity or energy-attachment involved. And Apollo is not reacting to you, but to the energy-attachment that is with you.
For example… my herd is very particular about who comes into their space. And so my son’s friend Caleb came to work at the barn and the horses seemed fine with him, but a few days later, he arrived before me and was petting Montaro and then out of the blue Montaro reached down and bit his right calf – hard enough to leave a big red mark.
When Caleb told me about it, I looked over at Montaro, wondering, “What the heck??” And Montaro said to me, “There’s an entity attached to his leg.” Oh lord – I’m supposed to go into this with an 18-year-old guy who’ll probably think I’m stark raving mad and probably won’t come back?! But I knew that we had to release the energy/entity or Caleb couldn’t work there anyway – the horses would attack him again. Because they’re not attacking him, they’re attacking the entity.
So, ok, here we go… and I start asking Caleb questions and leading him through a process. Well, long story short, the entity came down through his paternal line and has been in the family for generations with every male having a problem with their right leg. Yep.
The change in Caleb, since we released the energy/entity is astounding – he has increased in self-confidence, found a new direction in life and even grown a couple inches taller!
I’m so glad you’re going to do a session with Guliz Unlu and the herd – it will be very interesting to see what happens… I am VERY looking forward to it! And in the meantime, you’ve got plenty to think about and work on 🙂
Fascinating, Jini! The learning never ends.
That’s for damn sure!
Some years ago i purchased a 14 year old rehab horse. I thought she was steady and quiet. I was injured in an unrelated accident the day she arrived, but when i recovered i started a host of holistic treatments. After some time, I found a tape by Tom Mayes, and a friend of mine and I worked on the mare including some Reiki and another technique I was schooled in, MariEl. The mare had a big shift in temperament, and for the first time I was afraid of her, but I came to realize she was not quiet and sweet, she was shut down. I supported her thru the buck snort and fart stage, and she has returned to me a balanced, lovely sweet horse who knows that if she wants to she can express herself. I do a pull out technique, stand somewhere you feel safe, put your left hand as close as you dare, ask for the horse’s permission to remove any blockages, and slowly move your hand away, you will feel a flow of energy. Keep doing this over hours, days weeks or months and your horse will likely return. After each pull out, put a positive beam of love in your heart and send it
I love your story Anne – it really illustrates the horse “waking up” aspect. Thanks so much for sharing it with us 🙂 And I also have to point out, for others reading this, that when doing energy work on ANYONE, do not use your own energy. ALWAYS ALWAYS pull energy from Source, god, the earth, trees, etc., flow that through your body and use that energy for healing.
When pulling bad/negative energy out of other beings, SHIELD your arm and body in divine light (just visualize it). After the clearing is finished, imagine yourself being cleansed – use whichever cleansing image appeals to you; fire, water, white light, etc., but cleanse your entire body. Here’s some more info on these important aspects of energy work if you’re doing a lot of it:
This may be the best post I have seen yet on your blog, Jini! I will be sharing it.
Awesome Kris and thanks! xox
Hi Jill.. I too think Apollo is trying to tell you that your energy level is too strong..or too high for him. I also am trying the James French TT with my welsh pony and mini mare and it does work for me…in small increments. My little mini mare is not too fond of participating and usually walks away..or stands 10 or 15 feet away. The pony, Mr Wynn, enjoys these present moments with me but is free to walk away at any time. It takes a long time and lots of practice and yes..it may or may not happen. Follow his calming sighns…mimic him. Don’t look at him or stare at him. It’s unsettling to them..or appears you are challenging him. Jini, Guliz, Mary, Michelle and Clare share similar experiences and offer some wonderful suggestions which can help all of us and I believe will get you and Apollo back on track. He understands you are trying…or he would have hurt you worse. Start from scratch. He is a brand new pony you just brought home and you are happy to be working on building a new an wonderful relationship. And…Listen To Your Horse. =-)
To everyone…..just wanted to update you all on Dreamer. His severe lameness was an abscess…which is obviously the best case scenario. With the help of my very knowledgeable trimmer he helped release it on Wednesday. Anyone who has dealt with abscesses knows instant relief…also for me. I had already scheduled the Vet to come the same day….so she went ahead and took blood work so I can see where he is at in regards to IR & Cushings. It goes to Cornell so will be a bit before we get results. I know there is so many things I need to learn from this. I get so emotional and dark when something is wrong with any of the horses. I need to stay positive and keep my energy in the best place possible. I was saying positive things to Dreamer everyday…but my feelings inside did not match. Balance is again at the top of my list of what I need to focus on. I have noticed as I am aging (50 in March) I am slowly letting it slip away from me physically. I also know mentally I tend to be out of whack a lot of the time too. Highs are really high and lows are really low. I have dealt with some depression through out my life so it’s important to keep balance. Horses teaching and reminding me everyday what’s needed to flow more peacefully through this amazing life. Thanks to everyone for there comments and good energy. Hoping the original poster can help be guided or find some balance to once again have ☮️ peace. ✌🏼❤️🐴
Great insights Michelle! Just keep walking this path and see if this is helpful:
One more resource Michelle: Jennifer has been working with the herd (they contacted her), especially Montaro, so if you ever want a second opinion or perhaps a set of fresh eyes, you might want to contact her:
As mentioned I am happy to help you through this and we have been in communication a number of times. I have received the video that I requested, to see your interaction with Apollo.
Please appreciate that watching over an hours video while we are travelling and arranging times to go through this on skype is challenging. Although the video course has the options of the forum and direct contact with me to help. This is outside of what is normally required to help. All the same, we are here to support you as a member.
It is very clear to me after watching the videos and your interaction with Apollo, what this situation is about. I have to say you have a wonderful horse who is very intelligent and highly attentive to you. Which I will be happy to share with you on skype as we go through them. The videos did not show me that you were working with the Trust Technique. Please don’t take this comment as negative …rather that there is so much more, that you will be able to do with Apollo when we establish a trusting relationship. The videos did highlight that there are some more basic details which will need to be addressed before you will be able to benefit from a deeper connected listening state. Please feel free to contact me to arrange the time so that we can help.
Description of TT
I would like to share what the Trust Technique is for those that are not familiar on this blog. Here is a description, it is taken from our website, followed by the main fundamental principle of what we call mindful regard, this will really help on the topic of crossing intent and permission.
The Trust Technique® is based on the theory that deepening the connection between people and their animals can transform the lives of both. It uses mindfulness as a basis for aiming to resolve problems for the individual and also for the animal. Although an individual may initially seek help for a problem with their animal, they often also benefit personally from using the technique.
When an animal or a person is over-thinking this can create emotional imbalances, making it more difficult to understand or connect with each other. This can have a negative impact on the relationship and ultimately may lower trust levels. Anxious over-thinking is one of the main causes for so-called “behavioural problems” in both animals and people.
Daily practice of the Trust Technique® creates a shared peace of mind – the opposite to over- thinking. In the first stages, this connection builds a core bond of trust and confidence in each other, which can then develop and extend to other areas of our lives. When the relationship shifts from fear to trust, over-reactions are replaced with instinctual learning.
This approach moves past the often hidden dominance between people and animals. It does not objectify the animal but recognises the individual more as a sentient equal. The animal is regarded as an intelligent being, able to work together with a human in trusted cooperation. The reward is a more truthful understanding of the animal’s opinions and allows for communication that manifests in shared wellbeing.
The relevance of mindful regard
The Trust Technique has a very elegant system of sharing a peaceful and consequently trusting feeling with your own animals. This is achieved with what we call mindful regard. This lowers the thinking levels of the animal, specifically at their pace. This is highly detailed and explained in the course. The mindful regard allows even the most traumatized animal find trust with the carer. Mainly because they can be listened to on a level which they have not previously experienced.
The beauty for the human is that within this micro-movement/ feeling state of helping an animal find peace with us, we get to see the animal in a more innocent way as their needs are more apparent. Our own perception is greatly influenced by how we feel. So when we are sharing a non-emotional state of peace with an animal our perception sees through a calmer and wiser view.
The higher we think the less connected we become… it’s here that old school understandings come to the surface of frustration and dominance.
The less we think the more connected we become.
When we share a peaceful state we are engaged in a state of connected awareness….. at first this influences judgements that the person may have towards their animal. Then comes a very clear intuitive state. If both the animal and the human, are within this focused presence it is very easy to share communication freely.
This level of regard flows through all of the main principles, it is a very detailed look at how we listen to our animals and understand their boundary levels.
Mindful regard is used throughout the journey.
In the beginning, we work between focused presence and mindful regard to help the animal be calm and still with us. We are literally communicating through feeling that “right now we can be peaceful together”.
What we learn about our animal in the process helps the regard be used as we develop the relationship. Trust cannot be forced on any being, it is nurtured through non-reaction and the ability to understand another. When people start the Trust Technique they think it’s all about putting animals into a trance and making them go sleepy. In reality, the system of mindful regard, the ability to listen on a sensitive level of the needs of our animal is where the true trust grows.
We had recently mixed two herds of horses. The next morning while doing the horse checks I noticed that one of the horses was out of sorts.
I brought his mind down to see what the trouble was. This is where the sensitive level of listening really excels in mindful regard.
What you are saying by being present is “right now be peaceful” The horse’s mind reduces and then they show the un-peace. It works with the understanding that when asked to be peaceful the individual can express what they are not peaceful with. This is life changing as we have the ability to really listen. In this case, he looks towards the new horse in the field and then to his girlfriend and then back to the new horse ….the feeling he shared and look on his face was “worry”.
My understanding was that he was worried that the new horse was going to run off with his girlfriend! I knew that this was not true as the new horse was very close to his male friend and has no interest in the mare!
The next steps were simple, by reducing his thinking at his pace using mindful regard we reduced his thinking to a place where he could see the situation from a more peaceful perspective. Ours and animals perspective are greatly affected by the way we feel. If we see the same situation from a peaceful feel our whole understanding changes. In this case, he yawned many times as a release and then was much happier in his environment. I could not have told him ….instead I helped him to find the answer himself. It’s very effective and also long-lasting.
In the Trust Technique, we call this Realisation Learning. As we help to create a still and nurturing environment the animals’ mind changes and they realise their own learning. This we also use in a very effective way to help people as well. How you feel has a direct effect on your perspective.
There are so many examples that we can share with the depth of understanding intent and understanding the animal opinion.
In the advanced stages of the Trust Technique, we can achieve a stunning state of communication. In what we call Trusted Cooperation. In simple terms when the person and the animal are sharing a still space. It is very easy for either to feel the intent of another. Some pretty amazing things can happen in this place. You imagine and they will do! You can instantly feel their perspective and act accordingly. The opportunities then available between animal and person extend past what we believed is possible.
All of these examples are what we have been developing over many years and its clear for us that the path of making a difference will be the continued education on how to understand the animal-human connection. Changing the way that people understand the intent and wellbeing of their animals and themselves.
Let’s be really grounded in our understanding that there are so many areas where the animal intent or permission is being crossed especially in the horse world. Half of the dominant practices are not even seen as dominant!
We are not here to start listing all the issues in the animal-human world, in fact, we are not here to tell people what not to do …more we are here to inspire and show new possibilities of connection. To elevate the animal-human connection.
I do hope that this is helpful for those viewing this post and that we completely agree on the importance of intent and permission. We also hope that these few examples help you to understand that regard of an animal is our highest focus. I appreciate that those who haven’t learned or studied the Trust Technique may not be aware of this and I hope that this makes it easier to understand?
For us, the title of this post is very misleading and Jini I would request that you please change this title to something more appropriate. Regard is not only for animals!
The bigger picture is when we slow down and come from a place of sharing stillness it naturally provokes kindness
Be kind to your animal, other people and yourself. The reward is unimaginable!
Here is the link if you would like to discover more about the video course
Jill – I know you didn’t make it to your session with Guliz, where she offered to work with you and Apollo, so perhaps this online series (also free) would be useful/helpful to you and easier to fit into your schedule. I’m thinking perhaps her approach might fit better with what you’re already comfortable with – yet still give you some tools/ideas to move forward:
all the best
Learning this on a variety of levels, or at least aspiring to. A long way to go. Need to find much better ways to deal with my own energy.
Love this quote when dealing with any other beings. Good reminder!
“Techniques don’t account for individuality… no one approach works for all horses. They are just tools to try, discard, or learn to master. What really counts is being able to commit wholly to who this being actually is.”
Exactly – that’s it in a nutshell, “commit wholly to who this being actually is”. If you’re here it’s because you already understand horses (and relationships, and children!) as a spiritual path. EACH horse in my life has completely different things to teach me, share with me, trigger me on, mirror back to me, etc. So it’s really not about ‘Horse’ or ‘Dog’ or ‘Partner’ or ‘Child’ – it’s about my relationship, karma, mutual-liberation healing circle, with THIS BEING.
“the quiet Revolution in the horse world”
That’s what I was calling it. Hi, my name is Ishe. I have only just discovered your website and blogs. I have only been aware of the spiritual nature of horses ( and cows for that matter) for about a decade. But it really expanded in 2016, when I visited Equinisity, and came home to explore my 20 case studies.
Thank you for being such a great writer,
Thank you for:
Speaking the truth,
Listening to the collective,
Being devoted to this purpose,
Having the same questions I’ve had, and some answers,
Acknowledging others out there,
For the webpage,
I have dreamt of how to do what you did, I have put my thinking and questions , “ out there” for someones to hear, see, write, manifest, collaborate….
I tryed to write, I tryed to serve, I made a website, but it hasn’t all come together.
I am a terrible writer. But you are doing that part, beautifully.
I can’t believe I missed it, but then again, I just got internet so, it is faster this way. Lol
I have Wanted so badly to be engaged with likeminded humans this way and horses with the highest willingness to serve this way, to teach us, that I am overcome.
I have kept saying I have a piece of this puzzle, but I’m not sure what it is. The puzzle is what I’ve been calling the quiet revolution in the horse world or the tipping point.
When I heard a reference to a puzzle piece, in the podcast, about ethical transferring custody of horses. I paused.
I want more experience, more connection, to learn what is happening. I just read the article about dominance.
3 years ago, I was writing and visioning, a collation “against dominance in natural horseman ship” My trainer and mentor at the time, suggested I tone it down to, “benevolent leadership”. Natural horsemanship, is what I now call the old paradigm. And my studies have been around classical dressage with overlay of horses as spiritual beings, up until this week.
Now without a tradition, without a teacher, I am free and expanded to get back with my intuition.
Like in dance, (ballet) there is freedom through structure/ discipline, And then there are the 5 rhythms., and more freedom. (This is a reference to Ecstatic dance/Dance church.)
It’s all a journey Ishe – and it ain’t over till it’s over! I too did the 5Rhythms dance for a year before I got the first 5 horses in this herd – FAB experience. And I look back now on how much I hated the CHAOS section – I would mostly just stand there and roll my eyes while jiggling, waiting for it to be over. NOW I would have an entirely different interaction with Chaos – since the horse have held me in that space until I learned to dance with it!
The human guru thing is puzzling to me – why take instruction from a human when we are so low on the frequency scale – when you can learn from true masters in tree, rock, water and animal form? Where did all the earliest Kung Fu come from? From observing animals/nature. Although I have to say, I sure do enjoy co-learning with similarly open, humble humans — this journey of co-creating with animals/nature is just about the most thrilling, creative, enjoyable pathway EVER. 🙂
Interesting that the horses had me set this up a short while ago:
You are spot on! Thank you again. I felt my life was in danger, as an 8 year old. From then on, I was safe if I was in charge, or at my dads house. Giving up control and knowing it’s root has been a decades long- refinement.
I feel safe when there is structure and I feel free when I can push against it- and get to the other side. I know this, I haven’t been aware of it recently, but oops it was there again.
I worked really hard to stay within the structure this time.
And I didn’t color outside the lines. So it was a new experience. And it feels good to be free and now I can return to down that rabbit hole, from a different place.
The New awareness, that Jini’s question brought to me, is that, as a child in charge, I was not equipped with the tools I needed to be in charge. And as an adult, my business’ have suffered this as well. Sometimes delegating is the key, but sometimes no one else, can do that thing for you. So this is ironic and very funny, The thing I am most not equipped to do recently, was to create a blogging post, for a website attempting to broaden the awareness of listing to horses, and its here, thatI find my weakness, and the truth behind it.
The horses can show us all this! still blows me away.
But not having clouded lenses, something about them mirroring, us, brings points home more sharply.
I’m curious what will be different and what will be the same, and where we will go from here. the shift with my herd, is real, and its strong, i can feel we are all ready, for what is next.
Even though my main Riding horse loved and respected my old trainer. She had developed insulin resistance and has been laminatic. She’s been on rest, with new low sugar hay, balanced minerals, vitamins. But I suspect she didn’t want to go further down that road- or perhaps she knew it wasn’t really my hearts’ disire.
I hope she can recover. Right now the herd is making requests in the physical world, as I have simply been spending an hour a day- with then, with the intention of listening. Using the the open lotus on my heard and heart as the images to invite, whatever they wish to comunicate.
The goats and chickens were the first to speak up, which was delightfully unexpected.
I will keep going listening…
So much gratitude!!!
It’s interesting how we have almost an epidemic of equine insulin resistance and laminitis, in the last 10-15 years especially. However, from a “disease/injury as messenger” perspective it makes a lot of sense to me. It gets an owner’s attention as strongly as colic, but with less risk and the horse can ‘hold’ the illness for much longer. Laminitis allows the horse a total break from riding and other human-demanded pressures. AND usually forces the human to lean in and expand their listening in a particularly acute manner.
Unfortunately, if you follow some of the groups on Facebook, you will see the skinniest draft horses you’ve ever seen. From owners (all women) getting fixated on the weight/fat piece – no surprises there – instead of focusing on the wholistic picture, and also looking for the ways their horse is mirroring their own pain/wounding/trauma back to them, so they can walk a pathway of healing *together*. Any illness/injury in our animals is rarely just about the animal. I wrote a post on the weight aspect:
And yes, ALL listening is good listening! Sometimes our horses just want a break from humans. I remember when Jax arrived – the strongest ‘help’ I could give him was to leave him totally, completely alone. Not talk to him, not ask him anything, almost shielding my energy from him (which Cobra later requested I do for real: “I don’t want to FEEL your energy.”). Jax wanted that for 6 full months. Then one day he requested connection and the next day asked to play the halter-games I’d been playing with baby Juno – just so he could show me how easy-peasy the game was LOL. Surrendering our human default to control/direct is often the first step on the pathway to healing. xox
You said “In that case, nothing Jill does energetically or emotionally is going to help him. She needs to focus on meeting his physical needs first.
Then, after he has had plenty of time and space to heal himself and get his head straight, and get back to being a horse, then maybe it will be time to explore energetic connection and communication again”
U see you have your opinion.. many woukd disagree as our energy and helping their emotions is most important first then have you not taken the TT course. Sometimes people don’t have 5 to 10 acres and to make that an excuse is just that. The interactaction is most important.
Look at dogs even not every dog owner can give the dog everything perfectly physically giving the dog acres of land but when handled correctly the dog can be peaceful when using TT
Please don’t underestimate your or others power to help their animals abd blame the environment on lack of knowledge because everyone doesn’t know what they don’t know
But I’d like to challenge you on that belief that your energy ir emotions work will have zero affect on the animal if it’s not the perfect physical environment. Why do you feel that way?
Also you said a stress out person will never have a horse connect with them. I see alot of absolute statments used. Life isn’t always perfect and sometimes people run into rough latches of stress to say an animal will never want to come near someone who is stressed is a misnomer there are animals who ca connect with a human regardless of where they are at every animal id also unique so to say oh if you’re stressed out no animal will ever come near you was a misnomer imo
If you kept your dog in a crate for 22 hours a day, would you expect TT alone to make that dog content and functional (let’s not even talk about vibrant, enlivened, adventurous and happy to be alive)? If you yourself had to live in your bathroom for 22 hours/day would TT be enough for your wellbeing?
We cannot separate the mind/body/spirit – ALL levels must be brought into wholeness.
I can’t see where in the post I said, “a stressed out person will never have a horse connect with them” – I even did a word search on both “stressed” and “connect” and Nada. I’m also not saying that “energy ir emotions work will have zero affect on the animal if it’s not the perfect physical environment.” That’s an oversimplification of what I wrote – I think you’ve taken it out of context. We’re talking about a very specific case, with specific parameters – so I’m offering my perspective on this unique situation.
I think if you re-read my post you may see that I’m simply saying that ALL levels of health/wellbeing need to be addressed – the same as it is with humans. Many focus JUST on the physical and while that’s often helpful, the animal may need you to enter the energetic realm for full healing to take place. Likewise, focusing just on the energetic/emotional can certainly be helpful, but it may not be enough.
And yes, totally agree that ‘we don’t know what we don’t know’ – hence the quote from Kesia and the encouragement NOT to beat ourselves up, or feel guilty. I’ve done plenty of obnoxious, negligent and damaging things to animals in my younger years – out of pure ignorance. It is what it is. And now I can behave differently, and offer different choices. It’s all good.
One part of the article stated that the horse was yawning, then eventually bit at her. In a lot of mammals, unless they’re just waking up, yawning is a sign of deep stress. That’s the case in dogs and cats for sure.
I agree yawning it can be a sign of stress or ? Because from what I have observed it can also be just pure release or a form of communication! Joker (Catahoula leopard dog) and Roofus ( Red bone hound ) were laying on the loungers this morning very relaxed and I said look how cute the lounger boys are and they both yawned! I believe when we label certain behaviors or nuances we may be limiting multiple meanings or emotions that are trying to be expressed?
I don’t have a horse and have ridden just a couple of times. I’m a lifelong cat lover and psychotherapist for humans, specialized in trauma treatment. My Maine Coon ZsaZsa was rescued and had clearly been traumatized before. Little by little, with observation caring, and adoration 😉 she has become a relaxed and affectionate cat.
I simply want to say that I’m very impressed by this article! The author shows deep understanding and shares many insights. I am bookmarking this site. I’m sure I’ll enjoy more here because having connection with others who understand life on a profound level gives me support. And we all need support! 🙂
So very true Diana – when we first started this blog in 2013 we had many people arrive here almost gasping with relief to find other, like-minded souls. The world has evolved a lot since then, but not nearly enough!
ZsaZsa is beautiful and I have to say there are more than a few similarities between cats and horses. 🙂
The email from “Jill” may save me! Also, as if I haven’t caught on already, the comment “it is vital to learn exactly what you will be doing and how to do it.” Yesterday when I turned my horse out, I practiced Tai Chi in the pasture, and I decided to try sharing my grounded-ness and include her in heart energy. She was at the far end of the pasture and began galloping and whinneying continuously, back and forth at the gate. I didn’t realize that it was because of me (typical that I was uncertain of my effect) and checked out the environment. Then I started again, and I had intent for her to come to the other end of the pasture where I was. How wrong. She galloped directly toward me and skidded to a stop about 8 feet away, and I put the back of my hand out and she touched her nose to it. Then she circled around me, bucking and whinneying, and then drifted off. Her energy was confusion and aggression with some sweetness mixed in. Eventually I asked her to walk back to the gate with me which she did. I WOULD NOT DO ANY OF THIS AGAIN! Zero agenda, no touch -energetic or physical, and let her to initiate contact if she wants it. AND study the t-technique. But I suspect that she is far too sensitive for this energy work. I intend to be more respectful and not to beg in so many ways for connection and acceptance. I am hopeful that she will forgive me. I am so lucky to not have done more and to have read this remarkably helpful article. Thank you all.
She sounds incredibly sensitive and responsive! You will learn a lot from her if you just keep following her lead. And yes, we are all lucky that horses are so wise and forgiving 😉
Reiki is demonic. No wonder your poor innocent horse hates it. Your horse is now troubled by the presence of demons, yes that’s right around you, or hassling him. The only way to actually fix this is repent and tell the demons to scram. Anything else that appears to work will only be temporary.
Hey Diane, there are many Christians who practice Reiki. It is not a religious technique – although if you choose to view it as such, you could call it working with the ‘winds of the holy spirit’.
Thank you for writing this article. I also enjoyed reading all of the comments from everyone. What I have learned from all of the words is:
A. Need to learn to not overthink
B. Ask for permission with the animal if they would like a connection physical and or energetic
C. Ask for healing energy from nature and to not use my own energy to help others
D. Listen more.
I am new to the horse world, have started walking as a sidewalker at a therapy center for disabled people. My job is to make sure the human stays safe on the horse. Technically. I was told not to pay attention to the horse, as the horse handler and two instructors do that… But the horse I walk with is very sensitive and very talkative to me via visual images. Since I am new. I have had fear in the past that sticks in my thoughts, which I am trying to let go of. I have had fear since a child of dogs, I had gotten bitten in face by family dog, as well as other childhood trauma, has caused me to be hyper aware.
I get the strong sense the horse is not happy in her job of helping the humans, but there is no way for her to leave the job. She has had physical pain the past. I want to help her feel more settled, as she is called” the bad seed” as she is not settled in her boring job. At least the feeling I get from her is the job she does is boring. As she has to do the same moves all of the time. The center can not afford to have her leave and get a different horse because they are a non-profit.
I also wonder what is the best thing I can do for her, since I am only with her for 40 mins a week, where other people are with her more. I feel like I am hearing her the most but she does work with many other people and it could just be my ego talking.
I wonder if the reasons we are working together is to help me remember to focus more within and not overthink. But unfortunately I keep thinking, or talking in my head too much… I guess in away I think I do the overtalking in my head is to stop fear from taking over.
Still so much to learn.
Thanks for reading
Your comment is very timely Melissa, as we are in the midst of a big teaching from Montaro on exactly this topic! Boundaries & Permissions.
In fact, your comment was logged right when I was in the middle of discussing with Güliz, the latest message/download from Montaro on this topic. Yet further evidence of how connected we all are! Hence the need for clear boundaries and permissions to hold the container for right (healthy) relationship.
Blog post and/or podcast coming soon on this topic, so make sure you’re subscribed 🙂
But yes, your points B and D are crucial. I think you are already doing the best thing you can for her – listening to her so she is seen/heard. You can also ask her to pull up more prana from the earth as she walks and visualize this happening. And also honor her as an empowered being (just like you) who is on her karmic pathway for this incarnation. Thanks for being with us in the Singing Horse Herd matrix!
Melissa, I read your comment and you sound like me 20 years ago. A very similar experience that led me into rehabbing senior horses. I wrote about it here: https://listentoyourhorse.com/rehab-tools-for-the-senior-distressed-or-dissociated-horse/
Parts of it might speak to you.
First heal ourselves, then we can help other sentient beings.
Amen Helen! Although… I don’t know about you, but I’m 30 years into this journey and still not fully healed, so… I think there needs to be a balance, of healing yourself to some kind of decent/functional level, and then you have something to offer, or pay forward, as you keep working on yourself.
I tripped upon this blog chat and I was spell bound because as a human therapist, RMT of 44 years, practising numerous other therapy techniques, including Biofield Tuning for the last 5 years; I was reminded of my early days when I briefly worked with thoroughbred horses. I realize that the horses I helped taught me how to be a unique and deeper therapist, than I would have been had I not worked with horses. I loved reading the deep insights presented by the contributors, especially Jini, as I hung onto every word with grateful agreement. Oh how human beings could be helped by animals, especially horses.
Thank you for showing me that there are others that think like me too.
That’s brilliant Mary. I watched the same thing happen with an RMT who came out to the herd and they immediately started teaching her. They upgraded her skills and would often show up during client sessions afterwards! Here’s another post you might enjoy:
Thank you for the video. I can so relate the Jenn and how she was with the herd. I was right there with them. I could feel myself settling in and being with them in that way. It feels so natural to me. I love being in that connection, it is so special and right.
Jenn is a lucky woman and so are you to have such a wonderful herd of really special horses. I really miss being with horses, so now anytime I feel the need, I can watch this video again. Bless you and thank you for sharing this with me.
Sorry I made a type o and misspelled your name.
No worries – auto-spell-correct does all kinds of weird things to my name LOL
And so pleased you were able to sink in with the herd xo