Horses Don't Have Bad Days (2/3)
Last time I confessed to you my imperfection.
I shared a story about Kali and the concrete pile. She has seen that concrete pile every day for a half a year. She’s walked past it a million times (possibly an overestimate), rubbed her itchy head on it, pooped beside it, and grazed next to her poop (as horses will do). She was never afraid of the concrete pile. And then one day, out of the blue, she was.
In my opinion, horses don’t do things out of the blue.
They don’t wake up on the wrong side of the pasture. They don’t just have bad days. They don’t just act one way one day and then act another way the next day. Horses don’t flit about like that.
But we do.
We have bad days. We act one way one day, then another way the next day. We wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Our thoughts, feelings, and attitudes flit from one thing to the next thousands of times a day, shifting our internal environment along with it.
But here’s the thing, to a horse, our internal environment is their external environment. And as we all know, horses are more than a bit sensitive to their external environment.
So why was Kali having a bad day? Because I was.
Why was Kali concerned about the concrete pile? Because I was.
Why was I concerned about the concrete pile? That’s for next week.
But for now, know this.
Your horse doesn’t just act weird all of a sudden. She doesn’t really have bad days. (She’s always ready to have a good day with you.) She doesn’t just bolt for no reason. He doesn’t just bite for no reason. He doesn’t just freak out randomly.
That’s an insult to their intelligence to think that.
There’s always a reason why a horse does what they do. Sometimes you can figure it out. Like there’s a weird noise, or rustling grass, or their girth is pinching some skin, or they have a rock lodged in their hoof by the frog. Sometimes you can spot it, or guess it.
But what about those times when there’s no obvious explanation. What then?
You’re not going to like this. Take a look at yourself.
Be so honest with yourself. Are you having a bad day?
Are you feeling anxious, frustrated, concerned, annoyed?
Did you bring some negative thoughts, feelings, and attitudes on the ride with you (or into the pasture or wherever)?
No? You’re feeling good?
Ok. Then reflect on the situation and ask yourself this set of questions.
What was the situation?
What does that remind me of in my own life?
Use the experience with your horse as a mirror to peer into your own life. First describe the situation. Then see if it reminds you of something from your own life. If you put your heart into this, you’ll see the reflection. I promise.
Remember, your internal environment is your horse’s external environment. What you feel inside is very obvious to your horse. And being the lovely reactive creature that he is, he’s going to react to that.
Your horse is going to act out what is going on inside you. He is going to re-act.
To get to heightened levels of partnership with your horse, it is absolutely necessary that you start to listen to the feedback that your horse is giving you.
Next week, I’ll share with you what I learned at the concrete pile.
Here’s to You and Your Horse