This is stated many ways for people – we are not our actions ‘what we do’, we are not ‘how we react’… Yet this is how we describe animals, and it is only one tiny piece of their life. A change can be made so the behavior can be a thing of the past.
The beautiful horse I met last night touched my heart. A horse that is a reactive introvert who is born into the world of a sport he is not suited for – mentally, emotionally, physically – will react. The reaction may be small at first – or it may be huge, depending on his desire to be heard. Regardless, the reaction is based on an opinion that the horse has on how we are with him – how we are using him, using his body, controlling his life.
If a horse is being asked to interact and he isn’t especially keen on humans, he is going to put any obstacle available between himself and the human. If he is in a paddock with foals – that is the obstacle he will put between himself and the invader. He is not a wimp because he hides behind a foal. That is the only tool he has and he is using it wisely to his advantage. It was clear by the catching dance the level of interest or curiosity he had which was not so much. I could have gone up and haltered him immediately – that is what most people do. I don’t often halter a horse if they choose to stay with me after our connection. I want the feedback of what allows them to stay and what makes them leave. But what if I’d stopped there – walked away before connection – having given him only that much time? Instead of walking away I asked for connection, I asked for tolerance, patience and to accept my touch. I got all those things – hopefully not only because he was haltered (not by me). We worked, tested boundrys, changed his mind about people. A lot changed not only with him but the two foals as well. Funny how good energy ripples through a herd.
When faced with avoidance, what if the human approaches with a polite ask and genuine heart felt interest? What if the human gives him time to decide if there might be something in this connection should he choose to allow himself to be approached and touched? This is where the magic happens – when we combine our energy into interaction that is agreeable to us both. It is about exploring each others openness, level of trust and interest in what we both have to offer. Humans easily share themselves with other humans equally. How often do we share ourselves with other species in a mutual relationship? When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and open and we seek to find each others gifts – that is when we understand ‘what this horse is’ – or more accurately – ‘who’ this horse is in his heart and what he is capable of. From that moment on – he is no longer whatever he’s been called.
All too often we ‘size up’ people, horses, dogs based on how they react in given situations. What often goes unheeded is their response to our energy – combined with the surroundings, their energy and what is being asked or expected in a given situation. When we approach we have expectations, questions, an attitude, thoughts, we project energy… Others see us as interesting, overwhelming, self absorbed, controlling or maybe open to connect.
What if – from birth – we allowed and nurtured this connection? What if we allowed everyone to seek and find what works for them? While it’s great to breed for bloodlines, sport and to educate throughout ones life – it is also imperative to allow other outlets for abilities that don’t fit in the mainstream flowchart.
I believe it is time to intenionally allow other species to ‘be’. I believe there has to be a place for all to live and thrive on this planet outside of our control. Horses can take care of themselves as long as they can find food and water which is provided by the earth, not by humanity. We all need a place to go when we don’t fit in where we are at. Just my two cents worth…