(I would like to note that any mathematical equation can be flipped around, i.e., it could also be Happy Horses=Happy Humans and mean the same thing.)
This is a very clear lesson that my lovely mares have been teaching me lately. Happiness and love come before softness, before connection, and before energy, and before any of those other cool things we can do when we start to communicate.
There are many qualities of pure happiness and love. One of those is complete acceptance, and even utter appreciation, for each other. As the humans, we get to initiate that way of thinking by loving and fully appreciating our horses for what they are… but also knowing that that is not just mediocre, but amazing. For more on this perspective, see my Facebook post – if you type the phrase “I’m learning a new level of self-acceptance.” into the search bar, you should find it immediately.
I have been experimenting with a type of communicating with the horses that involves no pressure. There is no “and… you have to.” at the end. There is no force. I haven’t been using a whip with a string on the end – I’ve been using a (riding) dressage whip while on the ground, for guidance, for encouragement, and as an extension of my arm, meaning I will touch and love on them to tell them they’re awesome or they’re alright if they’re afraid as well. With Hope, I’ve been using a rope (for giving her a feeling of sureness and safety when she gets nervous)… but the rule is, no pressure on the rope, and I have to drift with her. With Cherish, we’ve been at liberty in large, open spaces. If they leave because they’re uncomfortable or not connected, I drop all aspirations at communicating and follow in love and happiness and relaxation.
This has been quite an interesting experiment. It requires allowing them to make choices. It’s been difficult, and especially while using the rope, requires discipline – but it’s also becoming very liberating.
The horses respond not just as well, but so much better, when they feel like they are loved, taken care of, appreciated, and listened to. We are communicating, not in a way of “because I told you so”, but in two-way communication. There is a co-leadership going on, but that co-leadership is full of mutual respect, trust, love, and joy. This kind of communication requires that we take ourselves off of our podiums and become individuals that see our horses as individuals.
I’ll share more as we go along. For right now, happiness and love are all you need.