I was Quiet Minding a problem with Oliver, who has some kind of PTSD type reaction in him that has him going from genuinely relaxed to a mindless flight reaction in a split second. It’s only happened twice and we’ve done all kinds of lovely Release work with him that has him in a genuinely relaxed place now. But still… there’s this core of… something that wants working through.
For those not familiar, Oliver is my 18 hand Warmblood, given to me with a bad reputation on the ground and what his old owner thought was “a screw loose”. He’s made excellent progress with us, bringing us much love and wisdom and lots and lots of joyous experiences – in fact he’s so special that I get all warm and smiley just thinking about him!
On our last Live Seminar for students, Oriana (thanks Oriana!) got the insight that the PTSD type thing had something to do with back up. I had been looking out for what the cause of this problem was, but because I no longer use the technique that caused Oliver’s PTSD type symptoms, the real cause hadn’t yet come to my attention. Oriana’s insight gave me the short cut and then it just needed a Quiet Mind to finish working it out.
I no longer use this action (although it WAS in my original horsemanship training) because it causes a disconnection between me and my horse.
There is no understanding or learning possible when the horse is reacting to pressure this high, so if understanding and learning and harmony is your goal, there is simply no point in applying it.
I can only think of one exception – to stop a horse coming forwards in an emergency situation. And if I found myself having to take action that strong, I would be apologizing to the horse and having a conversation about how we could avoid ever having to go there again.
In that same Quiet Mind, I experienced an understanding and a deep sense of regret – with tears – that I had used a similar technique on my dear old Bobby way too often, back in what he would no doubt consider the bad old days. I understood that although he dealt with it differently, Bobby was experiencing the same sense of trauma as Oliver. Because Bobby is a Caretaker Horse, I saw that he shows his PTSD symptoms differently and goes inside himself, with the consequent damage to his own body happening more easily.
Writing this article is what I need to know or do about the sense of guilt that I felt, when I understood what I had done and what a big deal it was.
And then coincidentally (I don’t think so!) I saw a video of a VERY good horsewoman who I have a high regard for, wiggling the rope in such a way that the horse was hit in the head by the rope and flinging his head up to get out of the way of the rope hitting him. Figuring out why I felt like I did when I watched the video led to the rest of this article.
Please note that I am not saying that the person you can’t see in the photos above is abusive. My insight was that what I did back then, was abusive to my horse. My observation is that the force involved in the photos above is a disconnect. And anything that disconnects us from our horse is unlikely to produce harmony or anything else of grace and beauty.
And except in an emergency situation, that force is simply unnecessary.
BEing the change that we want our horse to be, is going to be much more effective and will produce more harmony and beauty and learning and ‘feel good’ between horse and person, which I explain in more depth in the Ninth Key of the free lessons The 9 Keys to Happiness with Your Horse.
And here’s the big deal part of this article.
What makes us blind to what we are doing?
I look back to when I was doing exactly the same as the photo and I must have been blind not to see it.
And we see this blindness and these disconnecting actions everywhere, at so many levels – from the elite riders and trainers and teachers all the way to beginners. I was blind to the effects of what I was doing, just like the person in the photo is blind to the effect of their actions, just like the wonderful lady that I was talking about is blind to the thing that she is doing, just like you will probably have something that you are blind about too.
What makes us blind?
There is no way that any of us would hurt our horses on purpose – well not me and the people I know anyway.
So what makes us not notice what’s really happening?
And more importantly, how can we change that blindness?
What do YOU think? What makes us blind like that? How do YOU think we can change that blindness?
This topic is worthy of some serious discussion and I look forward to your thoughts and chatting with you in the comments section here.
I was thinking that the next time I write, we (the royal ‘we’ of the horses and me) might bring you a short meditation to help us see things more from the point of view of our horse and we’ll bring in the discussion that happens here.