I am always
looking for universal images to help demonstrate the deep bond
that can develop between people and animals (especially horses).
I was pleasantly surprised to find a few beautifully realized
in the new movie remake of "King Kong."
personal reactions to the movie itself, most of which were very
positive, I thought Peter Jackson did a wonderful job expressing
and visualizing the emotions and feelings of two beings for each
other. The relationship I saw develop between the giant gorilla
and a human female was familiar to me, and I found myself thinking,
"That's what I see in my horse!"
should especially be seen by anyone who does not understand or
believe there is a deep connection between people and animals;
anyone looking for that special bond; or anyone who has trouble
explaining their feelings about animals to others. The beauty
and pain it evokes and the sensitivity shown when the woman and
gorilla look at each other is pure and honest. After seeing this
movie, you, your friends and family may naturally remark on how
special your animal and human relationships are. And those who
are skeptical may open up to take a look at a potential animal
friend in another light. (They may also consider a major theme
of the story -- how nature and animals are often the casualties
of human greed.)
of relationship do you have with your horse? Is he/she an employee,
a dance partner, a friend, a significant other, a lover, a mother
or father, a child, a distant relative, a co-worker, an acquaintance,
a protector, a slave?
Being a lifetime
horse person at age 50, I have had a long time to observe and
experience what I believe matters to horses and how our relationship
with them makes a difference.
might think that human concerns alone have meaning, that what
matters to horses (or any animals) isn't important. In this line
of thought, it follows that we do the best we can for horses in
domestication and that should be enough. Horses are there for
us to enjoy and ride and drive on occasion; they should behave
properly when we are using them and not eat too much or get hurt
when we are not around. This is the way people may approach a
relationship with a horse. Some of them (the people and the horses)
will get by with this, and some of them won't.
I have a
different view of our relationship with horses. As we round the
corner toward the New Year, I'd like you to take some time and
re-evaluate your approach to your horse(s).
interaction is a life experiment that is always being tested.
Through your one-on-one work with your horse you bond as partners.
Any horse can be rigged up with gear and forced into doing his
or her work for you. I consider this a very shallow, impersonal
relationship with an employee-employer or master-servant dynamic.
a cowboy-type who lives in Dallas, looked at horses in this way
in the past. During his formative years, horses were a physically
fun and active way to enjoy some time around the farm or ranch
or get some work done. He would go get and drag the horse to the
barn area, maybe knock off the dust, throw a heavy saddle on his
back, get on and go. When he was done, he'd dismount, take the
saddle off and drag the horse back to the pen.
I saw a change
in him this Christmas. He came to visit me and we went out on
a ride together on Christmas Eve. He borrowed a nice old Quarter
Horse from one of my friends. He brought the horse into the barn
and he actually listened to some thoughts on how to treat the
horse, how to carefully groom and saddle him, and all the little
details that would make the horse more comfortable. He took some
time saddling the horse, who was a sensitive and "cinchy" type.
He talked to him, stroked the horse's neck and gave the horse
the time he needed to be cinched up slowly and carefully. When
he rode he was much more sensitive with his hands and listened
to what I explained about stopping and turning the horse.
talked to me about the incredible feeling horses gave him and
that he actually felt a certain spirituality around the horse.
When he dismounted, he spent a good 30 minutes or more toweling
the horse's long wet coat and brushing him and giving him carrots
and talking to him, thanking him for the ride. Even turning him
out, he was slow and careful.
What an incredible
transformation I had seen the horse create in my brother. He allowed
the horse to come into his body and mind and received the great
feelings the horse could give him. He has always had a good heart,
but this particular horse experience brought it out even more.
Now we, his human family, will feel it in our relationship with
him. I am so proud of him and thank the horses once again for
presenting the mirror my brother needed.
If you show
up as your horse's boss, prepare him for work, go to work, work
hard, give him a hand shake and say "see ya tomorrow, maybe you
can do better," you are only creating a robot, a machine, and
the horse will not want to partner with you or perform for you.
He or she will only see you or humans as taskmasters and not as
a herd mates. I perceive the horse to be thinking "Why am I working
here and for this person? This human obviously does not care about
me and my needs. I'm here just to help her get ahead and look
good. When I am hurt or laid up, she hardly ever visits, or she
ignores me altogether. I guess all she wants me for is to perform
for her. I hate my job. I'm bored, I am not getting anywhere in
life or having fun! I think I'll just quit dealing with these
the obvious mental disconnect, this scenario sets up tightness
and tension throughout the horse's body. The nervous system is
compromised, affecting all systems of the horse. Ulcers form,
toxicity heightens, colic is probable and lameness a sure thing
at the first bad step. Another horse for the trash heap of life?
It doesn't have to be that way.
of this sound familiar or resemble someone you might know? I see
it around me all the time, and it hurts. The horses are miserable,
the riders are miserable because the horses are miserable, and
it goes on in a vicious circle."
I meet horses
people say are mean or angry or just plain jerks (they use stronger
words and names I won't) or like Kong, "just a dumb animal," and
dismiss them as just being born that way. Like they are some sort
of sub-set of sentient beings. Many of these horses are very smart
and sensitive and just won't stand for the way they have been
or are being treated and handled. How else can they express themselves?
Are they supposed to act complacent and pleasant when they are
miserable and out of sorts? As I have said before, I have only
met one horse in my lifetime that was unrecoverable and he apparently
had brain or nervous system damage that was irreparable."
are mad or frustrated with their human interactions, relationships
and the negative environment that they are living in. They deserve
a chance to be who they are; a pretty special, sensitive soul
and a tremendous athlete.
with a horse is animal to animal first and foremost! The fact
that you can ride him and dance with him is a pure gift!! Your
first responsibility is to his or her psyche, their well being,
their mental health, their self-image, their need for air, space
and light, their need to be a part of nature, their need to be
around other horses and graze.
I am all
for "using" horses and do not want to see them go the way of the
extremists who want no human interaction with them. I believe
horses and humans help and save each other. If we honor them,
listen to them, give to them, appreciate their needs and place
first what matters to them instead of what matters to us, they
will have very happy, fulfilling, long and sound lives.
In this crazy,
hectic, overcrowded world we live in, horses are the one vehicle
that takes us to a safe, calm, peaceful, restorative and healthy
existence, even if it is just for a few hours. What would our
lives be like without them and what they do for us? For me, life
would be very empty, and this is not a slight to my husband or
to my friends and family.
fills me up as if I were a car going to the proverbial fuel station
every day at the barn. When Kong finds Ann Darrow in the dark,
cold city at the end of the movie, he feels whole again. Life's
meaning is restored. Animals – our horses – do this for us every
moment we are with them. Whether we perform with them or not,
they deserve our compassion, our time and attention to their needs.
do receive all the life-force nourishment they need, they are
the most amazing and beautiful dance partners in the world.
a few beneficial websites for you to check out for you and your
a Sony Handycam from my wonderful husband for Christmas and plan
to use it a lot on my website. Stay tuned for helpful photos and
video downloads in the New Year. I am also looking into creating
DVDs with my lessons for you and your horses.
Rider System" went to the printer last week. Watch the website
for the release of this helpful female rider program.
I am getting
some amazing testimonials about the benefits
of the W&H Essential Oils. They are being published on the
Year to You All!