“BE the change that you want the world to be” is a quote that is attributed to Ghandi, the great spiritual leader / political activist who led India to independence with a specifically non-violent approach to life and vast political change.
Ask me for the story about how this philosophy became such a big deal in my life, in a live seminar one day – it’s hilarious!
There’s a spiritual level to this philosophy, that we can’t change others, but we CAN change ourselves, to influence the change that we’d like to see others make – to be the example of what it is that we want to see in others. I have at times reflected that there is an arrogance in me if I’m wanting someone else to change without embodying that change in myself.
With your horse too there is also that spiritual level to this philosophy where you are taking ultimate responsibility for your part in the relationship, knowing that you cannot MAKE them change, but you CAN help them by truly looking into and changing yourself. I’ve seen it over and over and over again, how people change themselves and their horse just melts. Look around at the truly great horsemen and women – they all talk about how life with their horses changed when THEY made personal growth breakthroughs.
There’s also a practical level to this philosophy – where because of this wonderful connection to your horse that you will develop on this path – you can feel into your own body, do whatever needs doing in yourself to fix what’s going on in your own body and see the practical result in your horse – where no matter what the problem is that you are having with your horse – you can FEEL into yourself, FEEL into your own body for the source of the problem.
Oh yeah I hear you, the REAL source of the problem may well be in your horse – he or she may have a tension or a weakness somewhere – but it’s in your connection to your horse – in the way that you FEEL your connection to your horse, that you will be able to feel that problem in your own body – in whatever way is your unique sense of feel – AND THEN FIGURE OUT YOUR CONTRIBUTION TO SOLVING IT.
I’ve seen many many – even more than many – examples of how powerful it is to “Be the change you want to see in your horse”. Sandra and her horse Milly in the photo above, were one of the very early ones that knocked my socks off with such profound changes to Milly’s health in such a short amount of time. Those photos above, are about 6 weeks apart. I’ll talk in more detail about their story below the audio.
There’s a written version of this audio below and Milly’s story is below that.
If you have any trouble with the audio player, then click here to listen to Be the change that you want your horse to be. Or download it and listen at your leisure – right click, follow the prompts and save).
Written Version of the Audio
Back all those years ago when I wrote Zen Connection with Horses, I wrote that adding pressure to fear and confusion, making or forcing a horse to do something, no matter what pretty words you dressed that up in, LOST you leadership.
In fact, it’s much bigger than a leadership issue. Adding pressure to fear and confusion, making or forcing a horse to do something, causes resistance and tension in your horse – which is still there even if they are doing what you want.
Even if that tension is not reflected in health issues yet – YET… – it will be very likely getting in the way of what you are looking for from your horse. And since the effect of these tensions are cumulative – each one adding on to the next – when you have enough tension, there WILL be health issues.
Think of all those lovely things that we want from our horse – confidence, softness, responsiveness, calmness, willingness, cooperation. Think about it – you can’t get any of those things by force. You can’t get any of those things by ANY DEGREE of making them wrong. You can’t get those things by ANY DEGREE of pulling or pushing, or BY ANY DEGREE of kicking or using spurs to drive them on, or BY ANY DEGREE of using flags to scare them with or sticks to smack them with. You can’t get any of those beautiful things that we are looking for with ANY DEGREE of force or make, and especially not with gadgets that are designed to make a horse do something either.
You can make a horse COMPLY with what you want – you can make a horse DO it with “make” or force or gadgets – but you can’t make them LIKE it. And you can’t make them WILLING like that. And you can’t make them HAPPY like that.
You can’t MAKE a horse be calm.
You can’t MAKE a horse be confident.
You can’t MAKE a horse be soft – I’ve seen lots of people try, but it’s always lacking.
You can’t MAKE a horse be willing to do what you want. Again – they can DO it, but is the way that they’re doing it, what you’re really looking for.
So how the heck CAN we get these 4 – 600 kilo animals to give us the beautiful, happy, expressive stuff that we’re looking for?
I’m glad you asked.
You can get that beautiful stuff with your horse by BEING the change that you want your horse to be.
BE the change that you want your horse to be.
This is a powerful and far reaching concept.
When we want our horse to have more confidence, then we simply address every cause of fear or anxiety in ourselves.
The first layer of “BE the change that we want to see in our horse” is easy – it’s our Feel at work. For example, when we feel fear or anxiety or tension that is our horse’s, then we figure out what WE need to know or do about that to support them. We take action on it and our fear / anxiety and tension is gone. The practical result of our communication systems flowing is that by taking action for our horse, we feel good again and in this way we’re helping our horse to feel the confidence that we would like them to have. Can you see how in this case we ARE BEing the change we want the horse to be?
The second layer is just as big or maybe even bigger. Using the same example, when we feel fear or anxiety or tension that’s OURS – our own warning signal about our own safety – and when we take action on that to be and feel safe, then THAT’s what we’re communicating to our horse. Our OWN confidence is what we’re energetically and subliminally communicating to our horse.
So when we are confident, when we are truly aware and authentically confident in that awareness, then our horse can take their cue from us with confidence. This is real leadership stuff here.
And authenticity is the key. Horses are masters of Feel. We CANNOT push fear down, suppress it, pretend that we’re not afraid or anxious and have our horse follow our leadership. When we do all those things, they can feel it anyway. Why would a horse want to do something that is causing anxiety in the human? When we ignore our anxiety about something for example, then the anxiety itself and the tension that comes from that, is what we are actually communicating to our horse.
Authenticity means being willing to be open, willing to be aware of our feelings, willing to be guided by them – LISTENING TO THEM, and using them as the communication system that they are.
We can’t MAKE our horse be confident. Or calm. Or soft. Or willingly responsive.
But we CAN be all those things ourselves.
When our horse is at peace in themselves – when they feel safe with us because we’re consistently listening to them, when they feel safe enough enough to be listening to what we do in OUR body – then they WILL release the tension of that resistance in their own bodies. I’ve seen it happen consistently.
You want self carriage? Then embody self carriage in yourself – clean up the nooks and crannies of poor posture that are in the way of your own self carriage and get it for yourself first and allow your horse to mirror that.
You want collection from your horse? Then find the ability for your own body to collect and wowwww… feel the change in your horse.
You want your horse to pay more attention to you – then you pay more attention to them.
Can it really be THAT simple? Yes! A big resounding YES!
For an extra dose of contentment and happiness OUTSIDE of horses, you might like to notice how “BEING the change that you wish to see” in others, might apply in other areas of your life too. I look forward to your feedback around that! 🙂
Sandra and Milly – a case study in the power of BEing the change.
This is Sandra who you might already know from being on staff here.
Milly had been having a series of life threatening colics over several months when Sandra brought her into a “Heal your horse’s back” clinic about 8 years ago. Sandra was already a very good and sensitive rider.
The dramatic healing in Milly happened from Sandra making the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual changes that came up in her connection with Milly.
Sandra felt emotional stuff come up – her Emotional Feel – felt into it with her mind wide open to understand “whose is it and what do I want to know or do about it” (The Magic Questions), got the answer, which was to do with how horses perceive conflict with people and MILLY released the tension associated with those emotions.
Sandra felt discomfort in her posture and the blocks in her spine which wasn’t moving properly (her Physical Feel), allowed herself to feel that discomfort with her mind wide open about “whose is it and what do I need to know or do about it?” (Magic Questions again). Got the answer, which changed Sandra’s posture, which flowed through into Milly changing HER posture. MILLY’s wither bones popped open and that took the energetic pressure off some of her internal organs.
SANDRA had a monumental ahaa moment of thoughts and ideas (her Mental Feel at work) that lifted SANDRA’s sternum and then MILLY made those changes with her, MILLY’s spine released, MILLY’s sternum lifted and that was the last time the chronic colic was ever seen – gone – pffft!
MILLY released her emotional / stress / tension blockages, MILLY’s posture changed, MILLY’s spine released.
As Sandra said when she sent me this second photo “it’s a work in progress”, with her sternum continuing to lift as Sandra continued to listen and release old stresses.
Even Milly’s metabolism changed. If 40 odd people hadn’t watched this whole happening through the course of the clinic, it would have been hard to believe it was the same horse.
And six months of multiple bouts of life threatening and chronic colic were over… pffft! Just like that…
See… I know from my alternative therapy background, that each of the spinal bones is related to a specific organ, that each muscle has a relationship with an organ via the meridian energy system and that emotional stresses cause physical tension that affects muscles and spinal bones and joints and organs and energy flow. At it’s root, that means that all kinds of dis… ease can be caused by emotional stress.
This lack of ease in the body can be the cause of all kinds of things – from a horse having trouble cantering on one lead, to a major health issue like Cushings, to colic symptoms like Milly, arthritis – I could give you a list a metre long.
I can tell you from first hand experience in over 27 years in working in the alternative health industry (at the time of writing this), that every single health condition I’ve come across if not actually CAUSED by emotional stress, is made WORSE by emotional stress. Vast amounts of conditions and illnesses that doctors and vets think are impossible to get better, or incredibly complicated – are only impossible to heal when we ignore that whole web of emotional stress / physical tension / posture / muscle, spinal and joints / flow of life force energy.
You’ve been learning how to change that stress, at its source, with your Feel.
And “BE the change you want to see in your horse” will become one of your greatest tools.