Understanding the Spiritual Nature of Horse-Human Relationship

I was introduced to horsemanship by the Parelli method – my sweet Spitfire (a 20 year old Arab/Welsh cross) was started within that framework – and yet no one can tell me why we dominate and command them, even in the most radical natural horsemanship circles like with the trainer Mark Rashid, or Buck Brannaman, Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling, or maybe even Amy Brimhall-McCord. I’m basically completely confused about how to understand horses and animals in relation to humans on a spiritual level.

So I thought to ask you and your readers for your thoughts? Please excuse the length, but I wanted to err on the side of too much instead of too little 🙂 I’m a bit stuck with what to do!

Poor Spitfire is being tormented by flies and is beyond itchy – she’s scratching so hard her mane (what’s left of it) is dyed black from the panel fencing, and her belly and top of the tail is a mess of sores. And yet she seems to be telling me she doesn’t want me to put stuff on it like baby diaper rash cream, or fly spray; she walks away when I offer it. She is lately fatter than ever, even though I reduced her hay. I know from reading your posts now that this was a bad idea but I did introduce some alfalfa into her diet in case she’s too low in protein, but she only got fatter – I only feed her a quarter flake.

I’m watching all this in some amazement as I’m preparing to bring her home to my small acreage and noticing how much is coming up in me: the resistance to it, the big questions arising about who horses are and what kind of relationship and expectations I want to have with Equus in general, starting with her.

Something else that may be connected is I’ve wanted to help Spitfire engage her belly and collect herself more, instead of hanging like a saggy line between her front legs and her back. But I don’t know how to accomplish this without making her run around on the end of a line and at liberty, which seems to go against the idea of a free being. Not only that, it’s particularly easy to make her do things, and hard to read what her opinion is about it, which is exacerbated by the impression that she’s not a particularly opinionated or dominating horse anyway, but very willing and loves to be connected, offering it sweetly.

Maybe she is silently trying to get me to stretch and grow – not with behavior issues but with the subtle and slow degradation of her physical body…?

I think my biggest question is around the spiritual nature of the relationship between horses and humans. There is a destiny and evolution I am struggling to understand, so I can know whether I’m supposed to be a dominant stallion (Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling’s work) or a lead mare (Mark Rashid, Amy Brimhall, Buck Brannaman’s work), or something else – a steward maybe, like our angels are for us? We were thrown out of the garden of Eden so we could progress on our path, but the horse was not – she still is one with the spirit.

And she suffers along with us, not out of choice like us, but because its her karma, determined long ago, like her very existence is dependent on us waking up and becoming wise; bound to us. I wonder what kind of relationship is needed and right? Are we meant to “help” or is it the other way around? Horses are not humans, so what are they in the evolution of consciousness?

All the horse people I have studied and watched, I never could quite get which neat little box into which they have put the horse-human relationship.

I’m just beginning to work at listening to Spitfire. I am a serious meditant (western esoteric path) of many years, but working on this listening level in the feeling realm is new to me – I completely suck at it. So I haven’t gotten very far, probably because I have overlays that need to be torn down so I can actually hear her, and I’m encountering a lot of sudden emotions coming up that I then have to process and release before I can get to any listening. Still working on that. So what her opinion is, or what she might add, I really don’t know!

I’m studying horse body language (Sharon Wilsie) so I can see physically what she might be saying, like what you describe in your videos.

Also, I’m inhaling all your videos and articles, plus Guliz’ as well, to try and learn into this new realm. Your work and approach with horses is the first time I’ve felt like someone has forged the way forward I need and want. I’m so happy and relieved to have found your work! It seems to me that all the inner work I have done and prioritized really does have a part to play in my future with horses and in helping my Spitfire. This is a big deal.

My husband last night was surprised when I wailed “I can’t hear her!” right after I had told him about my interactions with her that day. He thought it sounded like I WAS hearing her, and that we had had a rich dialogue about opening gates, finding good grass and herbs, staying out of the hay barn when she was about to be fed and using that time to meander instead, and meandering around the ranch together. Maybe I was hearing her more than I had realized…

Anyhow, what do you make of all this?

And how do I engage with a domestic horse and help her find her joy in flowing movement, and bring her back to health without dominating her or being too tentative?

Thank you so much for any guidance you might have 🙂
With much love and appreciation for the world you have opened for me.

p.s. Her name came with her; she gets called Spitty most of the time. She got the name because when she was still ridden (and younger) she could turn on a dime, and was small and fast – like the spitfire airplane.

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So first of all, I’m sure we have more than a few horse listeners who have struggled with exactly the same issues/questions that Louisa has raised here – so please don’t be shy to share any insights you’ve gleaned, or wisdom your horses have shared, in the Comments section below. Don’t worry about writing too much – just tell your story! 🙂

Guliz’s response

It seems like Spitfire is asking her to level up and stop reaching to others for answers. I feel like once she gets this confidence, her intuition will kick up a notch or two and the “connection” she is looking for will naturally arrive.

We teach children and guide children. We do not dominate them. Jini has shown me truly how to lean into pressure… the pressure of this life, so why can’t we teach horses to lean into pressure while giving them confidence, as well as deepening their trust in us…. but none of this is possible if energetically, spirituality, mentally and emotionally we don’t not know how to BE there and meet our horses at this place.

We may very well THINK we are, but as we know, the horses don’t lie.

So much going on yet you are so close! I just feel that there is some inner alignment and some incongruence to speak to within Louisa.

Shifts on some deep levels are being asked to be observed within herself.

As for the physical, are there hills around the property? In my opinion the BEST way to get a horse into their body is walking mountain trails. Up, down, over, through a natural environment. Also, great for their mind too. If there is not anything like that around, how can you create a similar experience for her? Can you haul out somewhere once a week?

We must get out of this training mindset and into being and teaching.

Think about your best teachers in your life. Why were they so effective? What were they like energetically or what vibe did you get from them? I encourage you to do this exercise. Bring this into the work with your horses. Embody the teacher that empowered you.

My experience lately with Nova has been to give myself a couple of hours with NO agenda. Just hang out and walk together on a long line out into the forest. Sometimes we stay on the road and she nibbles on grass along the way. Sometimes I jump on her back (halter, lead rope not tied like reins). Sometimes she wants to adventure so we will just go up trails. Sometimes I slide off and get back on or not. The trail can be busy with dogs and kids and bikes and everyone wants to pet her.

Do you see my point? We are just BEING in togetherness.

Whatever comes up without nervous anticipation. It just is. We have been developing this beautiful trust and relationship. Sometimes I need to guide her yes, she is a sentient being with a voice, but for example I won’t let her go down a deep ravine to get the grass at the bottom (I once gave her the opportunity to try and and she ended up slipping into it) there are times when I will offer a more safe option, but mostly, I know she doesn’t want to hurt herself, so I will allow her the freedom of her body.

I don’t make her walk right beside me. She walks wherever she likes as long as it’s not on me. She has only had 3 months of training from a man with a good reputation. Otherwise she is as green as they come, but her mind is solid. She is 8.

I hope this helps. The biggest gift we can give our horses is the trust and confidence in ourselves. Be so steady and clear in our thoughts and actions that they WANT to be with us. This is where internal work is so important and how they are such great teachers.

Nova

Kesia’s response

My only question is, what relationship do you want with this horse?

Go for that.

It doesn’t sound like you particularly want to be lead mare or dominant stallion. I never did, and yet I spent years trying to be what I a) was not and b) sucked at pretending to be. It was only when I gave myself permission to be me, and therefore gave them permission to be them, that I started getting anywhere near the relationship I actually wanted with my horses. I have spent years “doing” very little with them, and finally now as I begin to wake from what feels like a long slumber I no longer have any “shoulds” or “oughts”. I only have what I want today, and whether or not they want that too. Bringing your horse home will bring you home. You will no longer feel surrounded by the expectations of the horse-human industrial complex. You’ll enter into something new. And that goes on infinitely.

Horses trained in Natural Horsemanship, I find, are often divorced from their bodies as the training tends to capture and control the mind, instead. She may need time and space to come back into her physical form. Don’t we all?

Jini’s response

Oh my gosh Louisa, do you even need me to say anything after these amazing perspectives from Güliz and Kesia?? I also suspect that in the couple of weeks since you posted your questions/request, you have already experienced shift or growth… That’s how it works, when we verbalize or otherwise throw our intention or request for clarity out there, the universe and our horses immediately start moving to bring that towards us.

I too have read/watched all the authors you reference above, and more. And like Kesia, I have trained in Natural Horsemanship and worked with more than a few horses trained by those methods – I totally agree with her assessment.

At it’s core, I think there is a dance – between what we want and what the horse wants. I think this is unique to each horse-human pair and also shifts over time according to who you are, what you need, what the horse needs, etc. What is your deepest desire with Spitfire? What are the things that are fun and bring you joy? Forget what everyone says you should do or want, just sink into your heart space and feel for what is your heart’s desire. Then bring that to Spitty and co-create your reality. Also meditate on what co-creation is and looks/feels like – it’s a nice word, but what does it really mean?

For me, co-creating with horses (or the universe!) looks like this: I come to the horses, or a particular horse with an idea. This is based on my desire, or thoughts, or interest. And I say, “Hey how about we do this?” or “What do you think of this?” And then the horse responds. The same way I’d say to a friend, “I wanted to go the lake today, does that sound like fun?” And then maybe she says yes, or maybe she has a better idea, or maybe she wants to do something else first, and then go to the lake, or… You see what I mean? In a truly equal, fully sentient relationship, there is no ‘boss’ or ‘leader’. It is an ongoing negotiation or dance between desires, limitations, ideas, fears, etc.

Regarding her skin issues, in my experience, physical issues/ailments in both animals and people are almost always messages from the higher self, being conveyed through the body. Because the body is the densest part of the soul. The body is the subconscious. These messages can be simple, or quite complex – see my videos on Cobra’s healing journey. Or Aude’s abscessed hoof. I’ve got a new one I’m editing now about Posa’s recent injuries. The mind/body/spirit is ONE. We cannot separate them. I know you already know this.

So yes, once something that may have originated in the emotional/energetic/spiritual plane sinks into the physical body, we usually have to treat the physical body too. BUT without addressing the origin/message, our physical remedies will not heal the condition. Put the mind/body/spirit together and you can have rapid, almost miraculous healing take place.

When you meditate, once you sink into stillness, imagine a circle around you and invite Spitfire to come into that circle and share space with you. Not so that you can ask questions or get answers. Just to share space. Do that several times a week and see what emerges. It is a powerful practice.

Let us know how it goes! And much love to both of you.

Understanding the Spiritual Nature of Horse-Human Relationship

15 thoughts on “Understanding the Spiritual Nature of Horse-Human Relationship

  • August 2, 2020 at 8:36 am
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    Louisa…I to have felt a bit like you in the first 5 years or so when horses came into my life! I was a lifelong horse girl but never had the privilege to have them in my life! I had horse curtains and bedspread and figurines and books and the most cherished….The stories from my grandma on my dads side! She was born in 1900 and grew up riding to school and was very horsey! Her stories formed In my mind this grand idea of adventures and relationship with a horse that I would realize I could not find with a rental horse on a predetermined trail😔

    A few months before I turned 41 the universe brought horses into my life! I knew nothing but had (still have) enormous passion! My neighbor who had grown up with a horse helped me a lot and we (they) rescued (us) 2 older unknown breed dark bay horses! My whole world shifted and has never been the same since!
    We went from keeping them at a boarding facility to letting our house get foreclosed on to buy 1 acre to now living in a place we love on 12 acres and our life and our sons (who just bought the 10 acres next door) are all living a better existence…all because of the horses!

    In the beginning my passion was enough! I just wanted to hang out with them and ride if they would let me! Red was so sweet but he needed who I am now not who I was then and he bucked me off over and over! He died shortly after coming to our 1 acre of internal pigeon fever!
    Big Acea was different though he was definitely sent to help me and my husband every step of the way! (I think a part of my Grandma was inside him) He helped me learn to listen and he would bang and scream loudly at my intuition..and I could hear him so clearly even though at that time I didn’t realize how clearly I could hear him! Thankfully he kept on and little by little he showed me the way! All along allowing me on his tired and old back! His mind, heart, soul and desire was always on go even if his body said no …I can’t really do this anymore! He just had so much give in him! We think he was Arab and TB..but that’s just a guess! He taught me true Liberty before I even knew what it was! I was devoted to him and his care…he was my heart! After Red died my neighbor had Banner for sale and he is a flashy tri colored QH paint! He was 15 and he continued my education in a whole other way! He was more the school of hard knocks! He was the epitome of traditional! Shod, heavy bitted, chain on the nose, stall confined, and oh man just try and lunge him…he took off like a rocket who would destroy himself if you kept asking! He and Big Acea showed me this lunge line thing was not right for them or me! So basically I just learned by time and waking with Banner! Little by little he opened up to me! I don’t think he wanted to but he could see I was listening and that I wanted to learn! He scared the living snot out of me about 90% of the time but my passion was always there to override my fear and soon we were bareback , bitless and in boots! Oh and metal in any form has become pretty much non existent in my relationship with horses!

    Then came Bullet! Oh boy! He was so sweet but what I didn’t realize is he was so shut down and disconnected from everything! Just a hollow soul..with love & kindness in his heart! He too, allowed myself and my husband to use him and ride a lot! Then slowly he stopped getting in the trailer without more and more pressure! He finally said F!U! and we got stuck about an hour away at a horse trail which didn’t allow overnight camping! Long story short I ended up riding him to a friends, friends house (who was very horsey and studied Parrelli ) about 20 miles away on back logging roads with my husband leading us in our Jeep with water and food! We made it and the next day when we came back to load him with her help, he did end up getting in but was beet with a whip very hard and his head leveraged with a rope to basically physically make him get in! I was crying my eyes out and I vowed to myself to never make him get back in a trailer again against his will! P.S. the next day there was a huge 2 week fire in the area and where he was was completely evacuated so although it still brings tears to my eyes to think of how we got him in the trailer I am grateful we did so he didn’t get caught up in the craziness of the fire and burn up!

    So this started a new chapter in my relationships with the horses! I had already dabbled in Clinton Anderson, and a few of the others you mentioned and more! None resonated with me either! So I kept searching because even though I didn’t need Bullet to get in the trailer …I knew for his sake …in this fire danger place we live (California) there could come a day again he would need to! I found Ribbleton! And although I don’t necessarily follow it to a tee anymore it opened a dialogue for me and Bullet and with patience, food and a lot of trial and error Bullet got in the trailer Without hesitation about two years later! That two years was so eye opening in so many ways! I realized how shut down Bullet had been! We started playing with each other through Liberty and although there is still pressure involved it was done with timing, so much patience and in very small slow steps! Bullet became a Liberty Junkie and his soul opened and he made me cry tears of joy so many times watching his personality flourish and also witnessing his body reconnect to his mind!

    Then I found this group along with other humans like Elsa Sinclair and many others and a whole other realm opened up for me! What I have come to know (at this time In life) is that it’s a constant evolution! Who I am now is not who I was 5 or 10 years ago and I know won’t be who I am in 5 or 10 years from now! I greet life with the horses with gratitude and an eagerness to keep learning and listening! I do ride Dreamer and Buck! I go about it in many ways! But the majority of the time it does not feel forced (like it use to so much more then not) and when it does I realize it’s because I have gone to fast and my gratitude and patience has waned!

    Fitness for breeds like Arabs (Dreamer is Arab) is so important…especially as they age!
    He is IR and has taken me down a whole other topic of nutrition, fitness and well being! Herd life and the way we care for the horses we share life with is a whole other conversation…but it plays a huge role in there well being! AGE…is also such a factor! If you don’t ride The most Lovely Miss Spitfire then hand walking can be a great way to connect and open a whole other part of your relationship! Banner taught me this so many years ago and I still absolutely adore walking with the horses! I learn so much about them and myself when out walking!

    I say…find what resonates with you and Spitfire! Don’t let others ideas of what should be done affect you! I also think we all have to do things we don’t like! Sometimes horses have to do this too! Especially when they live in a domestic environment! Horses in the wild have to move and run to get away from each other and predators! I am sure it’s not there favorite thing but it’s life! I keep learning from others and I take what I like and leave the rest! The horses are the true teachers but what I have learned from humans has also helped me understand a lot about horses!

    In finding My balance With the horses it’s about listening, patience, respect, give and receive and constantly striving to enhance there environment so they can achieve fitness and mind well being on there own as much as possible! But I also feel since they are in a domestic situation it benefits them to understand and work with humans (especially if something happens to me) so they can thrive and yet keep there since of self intact!

    Each horse has taught me so much and continues to teach me! All we can do is stay open to that and don’t doubt your intuition and especially not what resonates with you! Being congruent and true to who you are at your core right now will always be enough for the horses we share life with! ✌🏼💚🐴

    P.S. Again…Spirulina or chlorella has been a game changer for itching with the horses! Mine also say no to fly spray of any kind holistic or not! But they all say yes to Equiderma lotion…it also is a game changer! ✌🏼💚🐴

    Reply
    • August 3, 2020 at 2:08 am
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      What a great message Michelle! I love the way your account brings out the PROGRESSION that we all go through with horses. And that none of us are the same now as when we started. We all have things we’re ashamed of and wish we’d never done – but that was who we were and what we knew!

      Even with the wild horses, I’ve seen different people behave/react very differently around them – and it’s just fine. They adjust to each person no problem, as long as the person is being congruent and not pretending to be someone they’re not! If they’re rough, that’s just fine, the horses adjust. If they’re very soft and quiet, no problem. If they’re fiery and spicy, also no problem. It’s the BEing who you are that’s the important part.

      I love too the way your message brings out the fact that simply saying YES to horses takes us places we never thought we’d go, and turns us into much better versions of ourselves by forcing us the GET BIGGER.

      And I too can spend much of the time getting the snot scared out of me! Even as a kid – who got thrown off all the time – there was never a time I galloped at a dead run that I wasn’t scared spitless. But it was worth it 🙂

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    • August 4, 2020 at 11:53 am
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      Hey Michelle, thank you so much for your thoughtful stories and words! I like the sound of Banner… And I also like hearing that you found your own unique way forward one step at a time, listening to your horses and yourself. Wonderful! And so interesting that what the horses brought you could never have anticipated, which make it all so much more interesting, and a good kind of scary! I am hopeful you are right about domestic horses; like Spitfire has a purpose in being one and that she’s meant to work with humans like me. Last year we had to evacuate too; we live an hour north of the Bay Area. Scary times! Spitfire trailers like a dream — except when the tension is high in which case she’s a bugger. Go figure!

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  • August 2, 2020 at 8:56 am
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    I can so relate to where Louisa is on her journey with Spitty. I too have practised Natural Horsemanship for many years yet only in the past year has my relationship with my horses really deepened into a more honest partnership. Once I made the decision to open my heart to hearing and knowing my own inner Wisdom, divine Voice, I opened to a truer form of communication with the horses. I realized that I do not need to “fix” them in any way. Each is perfect just the way they are. Love and Light is what I “see” in them.
    In seeking better understanding of my horses and other pets, I took an Animal Intuitive Communication course last year. Then I found ThetaHealing. Wow! I took the first two courses as well as the Animal course. This really opened the door to me tuning in to what animals have to say. Then I found the “Listen to Your Horse” website which has been a true blessing, providing more insights and guidance in how I can improve interaction with my herd. I look forward to each Sunday’s email message from Jini.
    All of this learning to connect with animals has been tremendously beneficial to my personal spiritual development. I have become a serious student of A Course in Miracles. Most recently, intuition (inner knowing) lead me to reach out to a chiropractor for my “project” horse Diego. After the first adjustment, Diego (normally a feisty, pushy horse) walked up to me and bowed his head. He kept his head lowered, standing still. I wasn’t sure what to do, but my instinct was to kiss his forehead, which I did. He raised his head and looked deep into my eyes as if to say “thank you” in his most sincere way. Ever since, he has been mellow and cooperative. I see him being more accepted by the other horses; they allow him into their inner circle now. I acknowledge a breakthrough, and believe that a shift occured in me which enabled that to happen. Cause and effect.
    So in my experience, I have found that it isn’t the horses that need anything. Once I do inner work on my self, it reflects in everything outside me, including the horses. As within, so without. I say continue seeking inner stillness, self inquiry, connecting to your higher self to know your true identity and ask for guidance. Open up to intuition. Practise patience. Trust yourself that you are on the right path. It’s all good!

    Reply
    • August 3, 2020 at 1:55 am
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      I love the way your story reflects the fact that the more we bring our own self into wholeness and congruence, the better we are able to hear/see/perceive everything – including our horse 🙂 Such a beautiful story with Diego – I could almost see it unfolding before my eyes… xox

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    • August 4, 2020 at 11:43 am
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      Thank you Denise, I am right with you, and love your clarity! Cause and effect; his shift was possible because you shifted — that is what I am sensing is needed for Spitfire. Her cage reflects mine, and somehow her healing depends on mine, which is a very sobering thought indeed. Maybe it goes the other way round, but I think the possibility that it doesn’t might be the difference between horses and humans, and a picture of the destiny of horses entwined in ours. And the last bit you said makes me think this: “it isn’t the horses that need anything”. It’s us.

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  • August 2, 2020 at 9:20 am
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    I just skimmed through your question and haven’t had time to read all the responses. The first thing that comes to me is to stop trying so hard, and just sit and be and observe, for like months on end with no agenda for anything. And then watch what happens. You will be amazed and clarity will come. Good luck.

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    • August 4, 2020 at 11:37 am
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      Thank you Mary! You and others saying the same thing. Gotta be in this for the long haul…. Ok I’m on it.

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  • August 2, 2020 at 6:48 pm
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    I’ve found that the most beneficial direction to come at my horses from, is one of quietness and zero expectation. When I stopped trying to tell romantic stories about them, to them and gave up asking them deep questions on a spiritual level (which I never got a reply lol) things suddenly got a lot more intimate and delicious! I like to look at my interactions with them in a simple way, am I bringing expansion or contraction to the table. Mental noise, even with a well-intentioned narrative and absolute desperation to give the best of everything, can definitely bring contraction to an interaction.

    All I can speak to is the direction in which my horses and I flow together. It includes a lot of intense eye contact, bum scratches and massive smiles on my part. At the end of our daily hour together, we’re all just bathing in our yummy, energy cocktail.

    I am now a lot more mindful of everything we share, I mix their feed with so much love. I try my darndest to divide the carrot into three very equal portions, I rotate who gets the carrot top, end on a tri daily schedule. Ya know? the important things..

    I’m also mindful about not letting go of the obvious physical listening that’s available, When I enter the paddock its like a chess board, Enna (thy unicorn herself) will make a move closer, then I’ll make one and so on.. Also in the beginning, if their energy retracts away from me, even in the slightest. I’d move in the opposite direction and honour the ask for space. None of that shows up much any more because they know I’m listening.

    Empowered horses are incredible to be around and lucky for us, horses are wired towards expansion. Drop the rules and celebrate her slow unfolding. Before you know it, she’ll make her opinion heard and she’ll put her body back together on her own accord, in a way that’s just right for her.

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    • August 3, 2020 at 1:45 am
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      Wow Ben – L.O.V.E. everything you’ve written here! And this paragraph is my FAVE:

      “Empowered horses are incredible to be around and lucky for us, horses are wired towards expansion. Drop the rules and celebrate her slow unfolding. Before you know it, she’ll make her opinion heard and she’ll put her body back together on her own accord, in a way that’s just right for her.”

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    • August 4, 2020 at 11:35 am
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      Wonderful Ben! I already have a small sense of what you are saying: zero expectation and quietness is what I’m trying to do these days. I do a great deal of sitting around and doing nothing, watching Spitfire. And her glancing back at me, as if to say I see you watching me. Its pretty odd!

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  • August 2, 2020 at 11:54 pm
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    Wow, what beautiful responses. So much richness here. No need to say more. Blessed to be in the company of such very wise humans here. Thank you ❤️

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  • August 3, 2020 at 4:41 pm
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    WOW I’m so thrilled, and have been basking in all these responses all day today. I feel like I won the lottery! I keep reading everything over and over again. There is so much to say, like: oh yes! Penny drop. And oh yes! again… that was what it was like all the way though. Thank you so much for your thoughtful and wise words, Jini, Kesia and Guliz!

    As you correctly assumed Jini, I did make some inner shifts already after writing that letter which was cathartic in and of itself. I have learned that my very subtle but persistent sense that Spitfire was shut down is indeed likely (she is just so GOOD all the time) — thank you Kesia for that well worded piece of insight: “Horses trained in Natural Horsemanship, I find, are often divorced from their bodies as the training tends to capture and control the mind, instead”. Wow. I was able to see that confirmed, since over the past week I abruptly decided to make everything her choice, and not mine. I let her out of her paddock (if she wants to) and she goes where she wills with me following and being present with her, doing nothing, with no halter. I don’t touch her at all with my grasping hands (thanks to Cobra for the idea), and I give her a choice on everything. It is subtle but since then I’ve been able to notice in moments when she has become more focused and present in her mind, her body immediately looked a tiny bit different, less fat and saggy and slightly more connected. So very subtle but I think its confirmation that I’m on the right track. It just makes so much sense, and confirms what you said Jini about mind/body connection. In my work with humans I describe it as “the body always follows the soul”, or “the issue is already in the soul before it shows up in the body” but I like your articulation even better: “the body is the densest part of the soul”.

    What relationship do I want? To experience a horse unbound, fully expressing who she wants to be, continually growing and deepening. Just like me. Great question, thank you Kesia.

    Guliz I took her for a walk just like you describe, and while it doesn’t look like much on the outside, I experienced such a sweetness of connection and flow between us as we went from patch to patch of grass, going at her pace and not mine. My logical mind wants to dismiss it as a minor thing and is constantly trying to downplay it, but I felt moments where we were in a kind of flow together hunting for the best bits of grass and having the same idea about it, moving together in sync. It was so sweet, but so unlike how I normally operate —and I can hardly believe it was so simple.

    Also, I really appreciated your suggestion to stop looking for answers and find them within me. I don’t usually trust my own intuition and typically second guess myself, which has kept me small and frightened for far too long. Also, you gave me a clue about Spitfire’s mind. When we used to play together in the huge arena at liberty she could pick the idea I had right out of my head and do it immediately. She’s that quick and clever. But always she was the master and me the bumbling beginner. I sensed that she was bored, hopeful, and engaged — but not satisfied and happy; not being met. I thought it was because I was simply unskilled in liberty work. But now I understand why.

    When I first commented on your blog post it hadn’t occurred to me that I could get to her body issues through the awakening of her mind, and the empowering of her spirit. Thank you all for helping me see so clearly now what was wrong.

    Thank you for that great idea about the embodying the mentor. That means to me — and all three of you have embodied this already for me in your own ways — to be fiercely and relentlessly honest with myself about my energy, feelings, and thoughts. To be internally congruent at all times as a discipline and practice. It’s not the feelings or emotions themselves that create problems, but whether we are present and in touch with them that enables connection — or not.

    Even though we’ve accomplished all this over the past week since I abruptly and completely changed my expectations of her, my sense is that this is going to be a slow unfolding and opening. Her healing is my healing is her healing…

    I had a funny experience with her yesterday where she’s been sneaking into the hay barn while I’m not paying attention — the one thing I don’t want her to do because the ranch owner would yell at us both. However yesterday we two were completely alone and I simply couldn’t think of a good reason why she shouldn’t. So we went in, and she promptly pooped, then peed at the back of the barn! I’m still deciphering that one, but it feels rich with meaning. Very satisfying in a funny kind of way. Go Spitfire! Bring it on!

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    • August 5, 2020 at 7:41 pm
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      That’s awesome Louisa! I’ve heard from numerous people, when they first embark on this journey of truly listening and then extending the horse full freedom of choice, that it does indeed take a while for the horse to realize that you’re serious. That you really, truly mean it. And it can take a while for them to feel safe enough to open up, or they have to do it in stages – trust can take some time to build up.

      After two years of Makah-Mahpee saying, “Don’t even try to touch me” we had a most beautiful encounter out in the field a couple of weeks ago. He sent me pictures first to warn me of what he was going to do, so I wouldn’t be startled and move away (having been so conditioned to not touch him). And then he slowly grazed right next to me. I held my hands in front of me and just stood still, grounding my energy into the earth. He brushed his neck against my bare arm, then gradually pressed his neck against my body. Then he did the same with his shoulder, then different parts of his warm sweet belly, and lastly his rump – pausing to sink in together and fully merge at each spot on his body. Words can barely express the depth of soul/energy/meld connection we experienced and the deep pure bliss of those few minutes.

      And of course, it was only possible because it was his idea, initiated/offered by him. There is no ‘training’ on earth that can result in this kind of experience.

      And no, he didn’t want to be ‘touched’ afterwards. Even if he never wants our physical bodies to touch again, this connection is beyond words, beyond value – on every level; emotional/spiritual/metaphysical. I’m continually beholding these wildies and asking myself, “What is the gift of WILD?” What are these horses here to show/teach? Mindblowing.

      Which doesn’t mean that this kind of apex experience is only possible with a wild horse! I have had similar experiences with each of my previously semi-feral crew – who WANTED to go out on walks with a halter. And with Zorra, who commanded me to get on her back, so we could do another 2-hr circuit round the trails, when I told her I was tired and couldn’t hike anymore.

      The point, is what you’re discovering. It’s the energy and space that we hold with our horses – the space of true autonomy/empowerment and respecting full sentience in another. LOVE IT and love your journey thus far. And sounds like Spitfire also has a sense of humor with her wisdom 😉

      Reply
  • August 6, 2020 at 1:16 pm
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    Hi Louisa,

    Well, where do I start?

    Reading your text I felt like every sentence could have come from me. Some from me a while ago, some questions are still open.

    So, as Jini wrote, you are not the only one struggling with exactly that!

    It can be nice to hear you’re not alone in this and it probably gives you confidence in that all these thoughts and questions, ideas and struggles are “justified”. You are not making it all up, you are not overthinking something that doesn’t need to be thought about like that.
    But even though it can be nice to hear that, unfortunately it doesn’t mean we have the answers for you.
    Well, some people might, and you told us that you have looked at those already (be the lead mare! Be the dominant stallion!).

    One can only ever talk about oneself so I’d like to tell you how it was for me:
    When I had these questions, I wanted answers. People often told me you have to find the answers in/for yourself. I didn’t like to hear that, because I didn’t know where to find them. Or how to find them. I couldn’t see any answers within me, I only saw the questions. I thought, somebody pleeeease give me the answers!!!

    But if I am honest with myself, answers anybody would give me would not be what I was truly looking for. No matter the content. I might like some more than others, and for sure those answers will bring me further because I can validate: does that resonate with me or does it not? What feels right/good, what doesn’t?
    But I had to comprehend and accept that those answers could never be what I was truly looking for because they are THEIR answers. And I am looking for MINE.

    I still struggle with that, especially because I’m a person thinking a lot in concepts, in right and wrong. It’s difficult for me to accept that different ways, that more than one way can be “right”.
    But in the end, that is how it is. Everyone has to find out what works for her or him. I am looking for my answers, you are looking for yours. And mine can bring you closer to yours but they can never be yours. You are looking for the truth in you. For what feels right in you. Because that is the answer. What feels right in you.

    For me, as well as it seems to do for you, Jini’s, Güliz’s and Kesia’s approaches, ideas and answers have brought me a lot closer to my truth.

    You told about the experience that you think you don’t hear Spitfire. I hear you on that one! I would love to be able to really do animal communication. But for me it feels like I can’t. Yet. But people kept giving me the feedback that it very much looks like I AM understanding what they are communicating. Just like your husband thinks you are having rich dialogues with Spitty.
    What has helped me to 1) believe in it more myself and 2) actually hear more and more is wording it like I actually hear them.
    For example if I used to say ‘I think she wanted me to put the halter on’, I now say ‘She asked me to put the halter on’ . Or ‘She said ‘Put the halter on please.’ ‘
    Start wording it that way and you will gain confidence and trust in that you do hear her.
    For me that also is good practice to discern what really comes from the horse and what is it I might be making up. The more I do it, the more I realize the difference.
    Because yes, in animal communication some people acoustically hear the animal. But that is not all. There are so many different layers of communication. And body language for example is not less meaningful, just because it is more obvious! So I think you’re on a good way with horse speak and all the other things you already do!

    So, now to the horse-human relationship:
    What is the nature of it? I think it is a relationship between a horse and a human. Between two beings of different species. Meaning that it is something else than a horse-horse relationship or a human-human relationship.
    So in my opinion we as humans shouldn’t try to be a horse. Just as we shouldn’t try to make the horse a human.
    And yet, we have to communicate. So I think it is useful to learn our opposites language and culture. To understand what he/she does and wants how she/he feels and why.
    The relationship that is created between beings of these two species is not like any other, just because every specie is unique. That means that we can’t find answers about it when we look at other relationships, we can only find them in contact with the horse. We can only find them in contact with the horse.

    That weaves in with what Güliz said about the being. Being in togetherness.
    We learn from experimenting, from doing things together, from interacting and communicating. We learn from what works as well as from what doesn’t work. From harmony as well as from disharmony. From congruence as well as from incongruence.
    And what you do together, through what kind of interactions you two learn, that is up to you. As Kesia and Jini said. It is a dance of ideas and boundaries.
    Thinking about it is good, but being and doing is a different level. It will bring you to truths that lie within you and that you will need no external proof for anymore. No proof, no validation, no confirmation, no reassurement.

    One more aspect I want to add to the answer finding thing, finding answers in ourselves:
    It. Takes. Time.
    I feel like we sometimes forget that. Especially when it comes to situations where not having the answers yet brings discomfort, lets us make “mistakes” or doesn’t directly lead to where we want to be.
    But really, finding answers is a process. And that process includes the searching. The not knowing. And the wanting to find them.
    When I now think of finding answers in myself I don’t need to find them right now anymore. I now know that they might be in me, but in another time. Later. And when I’m ready, they’ll show themselves. You have it within you doesn’t necessarily mean you have it all within you right now. It might need to unfold and grow. And that takes time.

    I guess I’ve not written every sentence for you, parts of it were also for me, to tell myself those things. Nevertheless I think they might still be of interest for you and I hope you can take something out of it.
    And I also didn’t give you answers to your questions, on how to deal with Spittys overweight, on what is the spiritual nature of the horse human relationship or on how to deal with that Spitty is so itchy, yet she doesn’t seem to want the treatment from you. (oh, side note to that: does she know the cream or fly spray will relieve the itch? Maybe she walks away because she hasn’t made the connection between the treatment and the consequences yet and doesn’t see the benefit of the treatment, only the uncomfortable parts?) I don’t give answers, I only ever bring it back to that everyone has to find her own. But I want to give you confidence and trust in yourself that you’ll find a way. That you will find your answers yourself! And, to be honest, I think you are very very close. Maybe deep down you already know. Dare to trust yourself!

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