This Easter I have been reconnecting with the fun and childlike part of myself and indulging in silliness, including with the horses.
I am the girl who always wanted a pony growing up but only got one once she was over 40!
The very patient pony in the picture is Dream, my Icelandic Cob cross youngster who is just turning 4. He has been teaching me so much about myself and horsemanship and boundaries, boundaries, boundaries.
In Equine Facilitated Learning you often hear that our relationship with horses reflect our relationship with ourselves and others.
Working with a youngster whilst practicing Inner Bonding * for my own growth , I have been noticing that how I treat Dream relates to how I treat my Inner Child.
For those of you running for the trees at a fast canter at that term, please think of it as your inner vulnerable selves.
On the surface Dream is a pushy, confident boy horse, wanting to roughhouse play and stick his nose and shoulder anywhere he wants, when he wants. His reaction to pressure is ‘bring it on’ and fight. It would be easy to make him ‘wrong’ and focus on what I don’t want. I have realised that pressure and release means that I am starting the conversation with pressure.
I wonder how often I start conversations with myself with pressure and only release the internal pressure when I’ve done the’right’ thing. I noticed that if I shifted my focus to ‘ask and respond’, the techniques might look similar but the response, relationship and connection are totally different.
What happens when I start the conversation by remembering that he’s an adorable little horse who is also my friend and fun to be with? What would my internal world be like if I thought that way about myself?
How do I respond when he makes mistakes? Increase the pressure or be kind, patient and help him find another way? Can I slow down, breath, reconnect with myself and him?
In Inner Bonding they say that you can only have two intentions – to be willing to learn about love or to control and protect. No judgement on the control and protect part as we all do it, but it doesn’t always get us what our hearts really want. Working with Dream gives me instant feedback about my intention.
Am I willing to learn about harmony and relationships and have fun or is my intention to get my horse to do what I want?
As with any relationship, self care and boundary setting are still important , so I am not advocating letting your horse run over you because your intention is loving. We have all heard horror stories of young horses who have been brought up without proper boundaries and end up having to be put down because they become dangerous.
What ‘love’ looks like is not always clear, with horses and humans.