Mary Corning Long and Low

Long and Low

We cease being victims of life and all its fears when we realize that contrasting emotions can teach peace.”
Perfect Practice

Long and Low

Today I switched saddles on Grace. As her body is maturing, I want to stay aware that I have the best fitting saddle for her changing needs. This one (also a Harwoods) has
a rear cinch. So I worked with her in re-introducing that sensation.

Without question she felt it and was a bit surprised. But I love how she kept her mind in the game while working it through. I often say that, “Everything I do is for everything I do.” Whether it’s in horses or in life it’s not about the details or events taking place. It is about how we perceive and receive what is happening.

It’s not a given that horses will embrace change. They (like us) need to learn through positive guidance.

What’s more important than acceptance?

I don’t mean the false sense of acquiescing or stoic denial but true acceptance. Learning the value in this can be a real game changer.

One example in my life was this past week as I was dealing with Apple about my iPhone. I bought the newest greatest and… most expensive iPhone because I utilize the camera for my video and imagery. As it would turn out, Apple has a serious software issue. And the images are blurring in and out. After a week of about 15 hours on technical support, as well as having to upload all my data onto the cloud and pay extra for it, I lost many of the options that made my life simple. And still the problem is not resolved. Apple basically told me “Deal with it”.

Oh my goodness I was so stressed out! Each day it got more and more intense until finally, I did just that! I dealt with it. I emotionally surrendered. I threw up my hands and said there’s no data in the world that could be worth this kind of stress. So I let it all go. I found full acceptance for the situation that I could not change. And I have to tell you it was a good choice. In my book Perfect Practice I wrote:

When faced with a difficult situation, we have three choices. We can accept it, change it, or leave it.”

This may seem simple but in truth the habit of control seeps into our psyche and begins to take over our lives.

For many years, I’ve seen people trying to control reactions and effects without having a clear understanding of what the source (or the cause) of the resistance truly is. This can really create chaos in a life

Problem-solving and accepting change can actually be a very positive and enjoyable experience. But in order for that to take place, we have to practice creating a positive environment around it.

Grace has learned so many things about life through her life experiences. Trailering was not about trailering. It was about finding acceptance in separation. Moving forward under saddle was not about carrying a saddle or a rider, but about being flexible and adjustable to life conditions.

When we take a broader perspective and see the greater value in each event we are experiencing , we can be much more effective in life. We can become more acutely aware of what we truly want. We want to feel good, successful, happy, fulfilled, and inspired. We want to feel peace. That is what life is for. And it’s no different for any sentient being.

The truth is that in order to strengthen our ability to consistently experience these natural attributes, we need to be willing to embrace their opposites with a perspective of expansion. We can see that we have a choice. There is another way to see things. As I wrote in Perfect Practice:

We cease being victims of life and all its fears when we realize that contrasting emotions can teach peace.”

We can teach our horses in the same way. But we have to have this greater mindset before we can give it to them. We must first get out of the “trainers mind“ and see the bigger picture. We can learn to see that what we want is for the horse and ourselves to feel good. And that becomes the focal point. This is a great turn around in the world of horsemanship. And I’m happy to report that I am seeing it take off.

As Grace and I worked through this experience this afternoon, we utilized certain exercises that she has learned that bring relaxation, awareness, and peace. Grace has now adapted these things on her own. She has actually learned relaxation techniques and looks to use them as we move through new experiences.

Life doesn’t hand us a simple roadmap. The details of life can and will be stressful. But that doesn’t mean we have to settle for stress. There is another way for horse and human.

We cannot overcome fear, while perceiving a fearful world. And we cannot offer a loving experience without knowing the love in our own heart.

First things first. Have peace to teach peace and don’t settle for anything less. Then, life miraculously seems to fill in the blanks. And before you know it, even the challenges become entertaining.

Mary Corning Long and Low

The images here are of an exercise I call “Long and low”. Grace has come to utilize this in a very holistic way. She has found that it turns her loose, mentally, emotionally and physically. It’s wonderful because it can also be done from the saddle. Long and low helps set up success in many varied applications.

It’s quite simple and incredibly effective. But in order to develop this practice we had to realize the true value of turning loose. Relaxation had to come first and be offered as an option. Only then can we break the habit of fear. To do this requires shifting out of the mindset of control.

Grace and I have both learned to release stress in our experiences. Even when those experiences feel unstable. I’m not sure of a more important lesson than this for either horse or human.

We can take our lead from Grace and learn to go “Long and low” in those times of need.


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

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