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The Whole Horse newsletter, Issue #019-- Does Your Horse Choose You?
October 28, 2012

Does Your Horse Choose You?

Spotlight On Training

Challenges and Opportunities

Every time we ever sold a horse we had a problem with that we couldn't resolve, we noticed that the same problem would show up in another horse later on. This phenomenon didn't have to repeat itself very often before we realised that we couldn't escape something we needed to change in ourselves.

Now we look at such 'problems' in a different way. Partly because we have learned that having expectations of our horses spoils our enjoyment with them, as well as obscuring our understanding of how to move forward with their training. Expectations are born of having fixed ideals, and in terms of training horses, that means ideals such as horses should be doing such and such movement at such and such age, or should be responding in this way by this time etc.

This kind of thinking creates a negative pressure which eats away at your self-confidence and often motivates forceful methods.

So now we see problems which come up as opportunities to expand our experience and above all develop our inner selves.

This might mean becoming more patient or resolving a certain fear or understanding how to ask more without losing sensitivity. Whatever it involves always brings us closer to being in the present moment, and the horses definitely join us in that. As a result of training for what each moment requires, the horses are always becoming more 'there'. Their personalities are clearer and more accessible. So they are able to listen more, and this means we can communicate better.

Every moment with our horse is our chance to be present with them and is valuable whatever we are doing

If we believe that every experience is a chance to challenge and resolve our own limitations, then it makes sense that whichever horses we choose to be with in life have also chosen us. Horse/human partnerships resonate powerfully with each other and we can therefore heal our problems together. Any relationship with another being is like two sides of the same coin, and with our horse it is no different.

Satisfaction with who we are and what we have only comes from inner change anyway, so searching outside ourselves for a better riding experience will never be enough. What feels good is the input we have put into something ourselves and then we don't even need to be appreciated and reciprocated by our horse, although we often are because they are so generous and wise.

Although these two half-brothers inherited a tricky temperament from their sire, the joy of training them was in strengthening our inner integrity so we could find the way to their trust

The Parallels with Management

It is some riders' habit to only know their horse from the saddle, and this is a pity because such a relationship is one dimensional at best. Riding or working with a horse on the ground is the ultimate gift, but it can only be appreciated as this once we have earned the privilege by looking after our horse physically and spiritually outside of the arena.

Most people understand the importance of physical care, but the commitment we make to the horse spiritually is just as important. A spiritual commitment means to take responsibility for the well-being of your horse so he or she knows that you are there for them, full stop. If there is always a doubt hovering in the air, and you know you can always get rid of this horse if necessary, your horse will never trust you, no matter how many supplements you buy or how many nice rugs. This is why if we cannot make such a commitment it is kinder to a horse to find someone who can, although we will be missing out on a chance to know our real selves better.

Ca-Va was born with severely twisted front legs, but the value of the bond between her and Gaby is not influenced by the fact that this limits the results of her work

Often we don't take into account how perilous many horses' life situations are. From one day to the next they can lose everything they love in their life. We abuse our power over them only because we don't understand what makes us happy. We don't see that committing ourselves to our horse - come what may - can make us happy, far more profoundly than finding a new horse which might perform more easily for us.

The horses' contentment is our reward

HHT's monthly Try This At Home Tip

It is a very interesting exercise to sit down and consider your horse ( you can do this for all of them if you have more than one) by bringing your horse's personality into your mind. When you have a strong enough sense of him or her, turn your attention to your own sense of yourself and try to describe what feelings come up for you. If you feel positive feelings, like love and pride and trust, then let these feelings fill your being for a few minutes.

If you feel negative feelings such as irritation, anger or fear when you think of your horse then accept those feelings too, and try to stay aware of them until they fade away on their own. Allow yourself to feel them fully rather than denying them or trying to override them, the better you can address them, the more effectively they will resolve themselves. Do this every time you think of your horse until positive feelings begin to come through.

If you only feel positive feelings when thinking about your horse, practice bringing to mind a problem you have, either while riding or on the ground. It might be a time you are afraid of him/her, when he/she is afraid of something, or when you can't achieve something in your riding sessions. Search out the negative feelings in yourself - frustration, anger, anxiety or even hatred. It doesn't matter what it is, stay with it until it dissipates.

Do this as an exercise every now and then when you think of it, and observe if it makes any difference to your relationship with your horse. Either overall or during the difficult times.

These energy exercises are more powerful than months of battling with a problem physically, because you are addressing them at their source. It may take time for you to develop sufficient concentration, or for the results to manifest in everyday experience, but sooner or later they will happen.

We love to hear about any experiences you have with 'Try this At Home' ideas, so don't hesitate to get in touch.

New Pages on HHT:

The Spiritual Connection

Natural Dressage: A True Definition

Sharing the Holistic Message

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The equestrian world is one dominated by traditionalist ideas and conventions, but we like to think we can help inform the growing minority of horse-owners who want to make their horses happier with progressive and holistic methods.

Happy Horse Training now has over 100 pages exploring many different areas of holistic equitation. Do have a look through our site plan to find the subjects and categories that interest you.

Now Available from HHT:

The first part in HHT's Training series: How To Train A Horse Without Force. This quality e-book gives you a unique holistic understanding of training horses, from the very first contact with a young horse, through to a thoroughly explained method of lunging that is beneficial for any horse, not just in preparation for first riding, but at any stage of training.

With your purchase you will receive a free bonus supplement on Horse Trauma - cutting edge insights on this subject that up until now have mostly been applied only to human trauma. This supplement shows how to recognise, avoid and deal with horse trauma, which is much more common that we realise.

These two e-books, comprising more than 75 thousand words and richly illustrated, are available for only 19.99 Euros (around $26). Click here for more details.

Other HHT Products:

The Simple Seven-Step Natural Trim eBook

Learn how to perform the ideal barefoot trim with this comprehensive how-to guide.

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