Mary Corning leading from behind

Leading from Behind

I took a lesson from a master yesterday. (You can watch the video clip here).

My horse Far Go leads his herd with brilliance and with passion.

It was a blustery, snow mixed with rain kind of day. I offered the herd a romp in the dry sand and pulled up a chair to observe.

As with much of my horsemanship these days, I saw things I had never seen before.

A few days earlier I was working with Grace and Bubba, specifically observing their nature while leading from behind.

This is when (as I shared in a previous post) after running and bucking their way around the arena the two of them synced up so gracefully.

So now, with Far Go clearly in charge, I pulled up a chair and a hot cup of Joe and compared notes on our approach.

I was thrilled to see that my intentions from the other day and Far Go’s actions with the herd were very similar. However he was much more proficient and eloquent than I was.

He started by singling out the horse who held the biggest resistance—Bubba. He left the other two while he focused his attention on him.

Then with Bubba in line he moved his attention to Poco. Once the two of them were in line Grace naturally blended in. The herd was moving and she was drawn to move with them.

I wish I could describe in detail what I saw, or more importantly, how I felt as I was watching. I guess the best way to say it is, I seemed to understand what I was witnessing. I felt a little Buddha smile take over my lips.

Then it was my turn. I stepped in to try my hand at the master’s teaching.

The biggest challenge was that Far Go had to then adjust from being the leader to being led (from behind). This took the bulk of the time. But eventually he understood the shift in responsibility and we all flowed together.

Of course, I thought about the lesson that we humans might learn from all of this.

I was realizing how we too can become identified by our roles. And how it can be challenging to, for instance, shift between leader and follower.

There are people who would rather be told what to do and how to do it. Then there are others that want to explore, break free from rules and find their own way. Often we can get stuck in our roles and our conditioning.

Now, more and more in horsemanship and in my life I am looking to see and do things differently.

Ultimately, where I feel the most freedom and fulfillment is when I drop my preconceived notions and look at the world from a state of grace. One might call this perception coming from neutral.

This neutral is a tall challenge for an analytical mind. But the beauty is that, it’s not a challenge for an open heart.

Opening the heart is the wisdom my horses bring to me. They continue to guide me in this process of observing from a natural state.

I can’t begin to tell you how much fun we all are having exploring the opportunity to unify our worlds.

I feel this is the work of my lifetime. This is what I took birth for.


If this blog resonates with you, please consider reading my book Perfect Practice. You can read an excerpt from the book HERE.

Enjoy this post? Share it!

You Might Also Like:

Mary Corning Grace maturity


One of the many things I have learned at this stage of the game is that maturity is not necessarily a learned subject. Maturity comes differently for everyone. And it

Read More »
Mary Corning eclipse of the son

A Total Eclipse of the Son

Animals intuitively know for themselves what man must realize to thrive. They know coexistence. Nature serves her children. Man’s insatiable need to control is a total eclipse of the Son.

Read More »
Scroll to Top