It matters to the horse.
I just can’t say enough about how important it is to offer experiences to the horse that are palatable and positive.
That’s not to say we don’t cross the threshold, we just don’t hold them captive there. A great example that I am realizing, is how we take everything for granted. We assume the horse “should”. He should accept the multitude of things we throw at him.
One of the most significant yielding exercises there is for a horse is being trapped in a trailer and going down the road. And I would multiply this when the horse is alone and away from the security of the herd.
It has been my practice for many years to work the “Line in the sand”. Whether it’s a person or a horse, that line in the sand is when any experience goes from comfort to resistance.
This can be seen anywhere, and in any application as long as we are aware of the importance of paying attention to that line.
I feel of all of the unconscious habits that the horse (an extremely conscious animal) has to endure from their partnership with humans, is the habit of unawareness—the ultimate separating factor.
I have been preparing Grace for traveling alone in the horse trailer. And in this in-depth study I have seen the ultimate value of this process. I have come to realize that what we are doing has a far greater reach than simply trailering. We are preparing her mind. She is gaining practice crossing the threshold of comfort and returning successfully.
Each time I work with Grace I realize the intense indiscretions of human behavior. And this realization helps me be a better person. This is not about trailering. It’s about emotional intelligence. It’s about empathy and partnership in a deeply intimate relationship.
I say “intimate” because whether we realize it or not, we put our lives on these relationships with our horses. Within this intimacy, we soon find out if we are operating from unity or separation.
As I incrementally moved Grace forward across the threshold of the line in the sand I could clearly see the emotional hardship the trailering presents to all horses.
These are the heavy hitters for them… confinement and separation. It is widely accepted to put horses in a trailer, tie them up and haul them sometimes for hours without a consideration for what (and how) they are learning.
They have no concept of where they are going. Only that they are captive. And captivity is death in the natural law of horses.
As I see her dealing with each increment, I can see which of the elements she struggles with. There was a noticeable shift from being in the trailer parked and seeing the barn, to driving it out of sight. Grace and I have spent many hours out on our own in the woods. But she has me there. This experience was complete separation. Total aloneness. For a herd animal this is counter intuitive.
As I witnessed her elevated concern, we were still on our property. I simply stopped, went back, dropped a window and reassured her. Just then she took a little bite of food. So I unloaded her there.
Outside the trailer was some luscious green grass. I gave her a few bites then we walked back and I put her in the barn. As I took the halter off I could see that she had great interest in going back out of the barn with me.
Where you leave it, is where you find it.
Each time I have incrementally moved the line in the sand, Grace develops emotional intelligence. She develops independence and confidence. This intelligence is for life! It’s not just for this experience.
The relationship benefits from the experience of moving the line incrementally. She trusts my judgment. This is not a dictatorship. This is two very different species learning to blend in unity. What is more important in life than this?
Can you imagine how our world would change if every child was raised to embrace change? If we, ourselves, would have learned that difference is opportunity and that, that opportunity offers expansion and greater wellbeing for all!
I know I have learned far more than Grace in this experience. I have learned to treat my self with this kind of kindness in times of challenge. And in turn I treat everyone around me with a greater compassion and love.
Can a simple trailering education change the world? Well, if you ask me, it absolutely can. We get what we settle for. And my experience with Grace…not settling for less than unity, has offered a wealth of knowledge and wisdom. This affects every area of my life and I know it affects her as well.
We can understand that life is a process of learning to live in peace, unity and love. If we run right over the top of that and settle for fear, separation, judgment and resistance, then that is what we get. We live what we learn, and we learn it as we live it.
I share in testimony for a better way—a way with far less effort, a way to unlearn the habit of fear. We can practice turning fear into curiosity. This is what I felt when I took the halter off. Grace had interest in going back out with me.
My teacher would say, “Leave them wanting more”. We can choose the source of our actions. Is our life about getting through struggles? Or is it growing past them? The perfect barometer for our work is effort. How much energy does it take to live in peace? How much force is there in willingness?
These are important questions to ask ourselves. And they are the holy grail when it comes to relationships. Grace and I are here to share that there is another way.
The way of peace.
Please feel free to reach out, I hold endless testimony.