“The ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses.”
“The way in which something is regarded, understood, or interpreted.”
As the gate latch clicks behind me, my heart sings when I see ‘Boots’ lift her head from the grass and look over. A smile spreads through me as she turns to walk, and then trot, over to greet me. It’s taken a while but for me, I feel things are starting to change. Slowing respectfully, she draws near, reaching out her long neck to say hello & inhale my scent.
“Hello beautiful,” my whole being says, as we take a moment to check in with each other. Warm breath on my hand, ears pricked and curious, I step to her shoulder and reach out to stroke her. “Let’s go and check out the fresh grass by the brook”. I head off with purpose and she raises her head, still, yet enquiring. After a moment she starts to follow and I pause to let her catch up. Together we walk towards the bottom gate as her mum joins in with our stride…
“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.” Henri Bergson
I remember back to the first time I saw her. Alone in her stable she was snatching mouthfuls of hay and looking out, eyes wide, head high. A beautiful tri-colour tobiano, she reminded me of my last horse Mr M, yet something was not right. She appeared detached, agitated, and unsure. Her owner was telling me about her past…
It was a complex story; 8 different places she’d lived, in as many years. She’d experienced a whole range of different trainers, riders, and handlers, as well as the lady who owned and bred her who’d called me to help. She’d had two significant injuries by the age of 6 months: one at only 5 weeks old, the other, when weaned from her mum. She was known to rear occasionally when being led, I later found out, flipping over at least 3 times on separate occasions when being asked to load into a trailer. Plus she didn’t like to be clipped, requiring sedation to do so.
Yet interestingly, I’d been asked to come and help with her ‘loading problem,’ as otherwise ‘all was fine’. She just had a tendency to sometimes be a bit ‘stubborn’, ‘cheeky’ and occasionally, a bit of a ‘grumpy mare’.
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Wayne Dyer
I have long been fascinated by how we all see and perceive things so differently. Yet it is only more recently that I have started to really understand the extent to which we all filter what we see, hear, and even feel. Filling in the gaps to see what we are looking for, according to our internal beliefs. This in turn shapes our behaviour and actions, creating more of what we believe.
When I became a mum, I took the opportunity to question what I do, to step back and explore the advances in horse training and related science. The idea of the Alpha mare and dominance theory now put into question, I wanted to find out more. Through the ‘Meeting of Minds’ program and my own continued research, I now believe that there are endless ways of doing, and seeing things. Yet I understand that for so many, this is not the case.
During this time, I also came across attachment theories and began to understand that it is not about what training method, tool, or technique we use. It is all about the ‘Art and Science of Relationships’ and the importance of feelings of safety, stability, and security, in order to learn and grow. How we can build mutually beneficial partnerships, to become the leader our horses want to follow.
To achieve this, I do my best to keep an open, positive and non-judgemental mind. To stop, ground myself and breathe, helping me to become fully aware and present in the moment. To listen to, and connect with, all my senses, and to become more aware of the conclusions and judgements I make.
For I believe that ALL behaviour IS communication, and emotions drive behaviour. This leads me to become curious, to wonder, what is a horse trying to tell me? How are they feeling and why, and perhaps more importantly, what can I do to help support, or change this?
Next time I will be sharing my first few sessions with ‘Boots’. The shock and surprise I had when I saw what she really had to say, and the first steps I took, to start building a bond and trust based relationship…
In the meantime, I wonder what YOU see, hear, or feel, when you watch this short clip of ‘Boots’, her mum and I, down by the brook together…? My non-horsey husband says he see’s two horses eating, with some birds singing in the background!! Of course he is right, as this is his perception, but I’m really curious to find out if you see, hear, or feel anything different…
So sit back, make sure your volume is turned up, and click the link here…
Please leave your comments below, and thank you so much for taking the time to read this.
Till next time, enjoy the moment, with a little TLC
With best wishes