Sunday, November 29, 2009

Horse Wisdom: Trust Thyself

During a recent client session, the healing herd did a really unusual thing.

They all laid down. Not just down. But all the way out on the ground- all four of them. At least one was snoring in fact.

“I didn’t know horses snore!,” my client remarked.

This was astonishing.

As creatures of prey, horses are constantly vigilant for predators.

So, almost always when it’s sleepy time, at least one of the herd remains standing, as sentinel, guarding the vulnerable, resting horses from danger.

And humans, especially strange, unfamiliar ones, like a new client, fit in the category of potential predator, until proven innocent.

So, horses will rarely lie down with people they don’t know well. Even when they know you well, some horses never will lie down with you close by. When they do- it’s a huge sign of trust.

So, here were 4 horses, all who not only were on the ground, but laid flat out- the most vulnerable position possible for a horse- with me and my client standing nearby.

One of the tenants of equine-assisted work is to always assume that what the horses are doing is a message. Not just a coincidence, but that their behavior has a direct or symbolic meaning for the client.

This time, the message was clear:

It is safe to be vulnerable with others.
We trust you.
It is time to wholly trust yourself, in the same way.

The horses want you to know that until you trust yourself, success will always be just out of reach.

It’s time to heal whatever is standing between you and trust.
Trusting yourself, trusting others, trusting the universe.

The horses are standing (or lying!) willing, ready to assist!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Top 10 Reasons It Kicks Ass to Have Your Horses in the BackYard.

On the eve of Thanksgiving, I turn my heart toward all that I am thankful for. Of course, the very first thing I live in gratitude for is residing on this gorgeous ranch with my amazing herd of healing horses!

To honor the depth of my thankfulness for this experience that I’ve waited my entire lifetime to enjoy, I’ve written down a few of the more compelling reasons I love living with my horses.

May they help bring appreciation into your own heart as well!

My Top 10 List of Reasons It Kicks Ass to Have Your Horses in the BackYard.

Number 10- Pony cuddle time, three times a day!! Hugs and kisses all the way around.

Number 9- When cramped for time, I can be on and off a horse in under 20 minutes.

Number 8- Star gazing with the herd, on silent nights.

Number 7- I can feed the horses in my pajamas! Thank goodness the neighbors are a few acres away.

Number 6- When the Farrier is an hour late, it’s not too awfully inconvenient.

Number 5- At my leisure, I can ride 3 horses a day- one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one in the evening.

Number 4- In the middle of a nasty snow storm, I don’t have to sit at home worrying if my horse is shivering, OR risk driving to the barn on slippery, snowy rollercoaster roads- I just stroll out the door.

Number 3- Anyone who’s ever boarded a horse, say it triumphantly with me now: I can feed as much hay as I want, as often as I want!!!! Shhh, don’t tell Greg, the Hay Police, that I said that!

Number 2- When the vet orders something to be soaked and wrapped 3x a day- there is a chance in hell that I may actually be able to do it!

And Number 1- My all time favorite: Bareback moonlight pony rides!

I wish you a very grateful Thanksgiving filled with appreciation for all that is well in your world and all of the gifts that are on their way into your life as we speak!

Readers: What is YOUR favorite thing about having horses in the backyard?! Please share!

Monday, November 23, 2009

What is Your Horse Thinking???

Lately I’ve been noticing that when I take one of the horses out to the arena to ride, the remaining 3 spend a great deal of time watching us from the paddock. It always surprises me a little, quite frankly.

I can’t help but wonder what they are thinking??!!!

After some consideration, I’ve narrowed it down to the following:

1) Good God, I’m glad that’s not me!
2) When is it gonna be my turn??!!!
3) Hmmm, let me assist and send Jenn some tips on how to ride that horse right!
4) Let’s help out that poor pony and give them some clues about what on earth Jenn is trying to communicate.
5) It’s so boring out here, at least there’s something to watch.
6) All of the above.
7) It depends on which horse you are talking about.

So, which one do you think it is?

Personally, I think it depends on which horse is watching.

If Charm is watching, I imagine her to be saying: “How could she have picked that horse instead of me! I’d better watch and make sure nothing untoward is going on!”

If Seren is watching, I imagine her to be thinking: “Oh thank god, I lucked out today. I get to sit here and be teacher for the little ones.”

If Little Man is watching, he seems to be saying, “ Oh please, I want to be next! Please, please!”

And if Frolic is watching, she seems to be soaking in the lessons, “Oh, so that’s what a round circle is! I’ll try that out next time.”

Readers: Please share- What would your horse be thinking???

Monday, November 16, 2009

Horse Wisdom 101: Being IS Doing

Recently one of my favorite animal communicators wrote about the healing that was taking place in her relationship with her horse, Ed.

Bridget Pilloud, of Pets are Talking, writes a kick-butt Reading of the Week blog post- and I devour it as soon as it comes out- so I think you'd enjoy it too.

This week, her horse Ed reminded Bridget of one of the founding tenants of Horse Wisdom: The Power of Being Instead of Doing.

Ed is a smarty pants and apparently a bit of a poet. He described it by saying:
"We're passing the peace."

How lovely is that!!??

Bridget is right, most horse owners want to DO something with their horse. They get satisfaction and feelings of accomplishment from DOING.

That's all well and good.
Horses like that too.

But they like it best when we balance it by spending good quality time BEING together.

Just hanging out, side by side, being quiet together. Maybe gentle brushing, light touching, but mostly just being together, with your mind quietly present- not doing the usual mental gymnastics.

You can even try just BEING atop your horse- maybe bareback while they munch on hay or grass. I've got one horse who appreciates this style of togetherness.

Another animal communicator friend of mine,
Kali Crosby, tells me that horses love this quiet, 1 on 1 time together because they love to talk to us. Think your horse isn't talking? You probably just aren't listening quietly enough.

If you get your mind still, breathe deeply, and just listen for what wants to pop into your mind, you'll likely get an idea of what your horse is talking to you about.

It's the perfect time to connect Who We Really Are with Who They Really Are. And to let the love flow.

Horse are masters at Being. They don't often worry about DOING- they go with the flow- in the moment- where love resides most powerfully.

Personally, for awhile now, I've let the balance slide over to more BEING than DOING with my horses. And though I miss the action, what I've found is that the beauty of connection, companionship, and communication that comes from just being together, far outweighs the glory of accomplishing by DOING.

The best part? Once you are deeply connected by BEING together, the DOING happens much more easily and effortlessly as a harmonious team.

Readers: Head out to the barn today and try just Passing the Peace with your horse- and let me know what you feel!

Read about it in Bridget and Ed's words here: Pets Are Talking Blog

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Little Man Finally Gets a Real Name!

Little Man had been here maybe 2 months and still he didn’t have a proper name. I feared that his nickname would forever be his calling card. This was especially troublesome since he’s on course to be our biggest horse. He should reach 17 hands- nowhere close to little!

Worse, I wondered if my previously high-functioning naming ability had left me high and dry. What else could I conclude after a series of less than innovative names like Squeaker, Big Kitty Kitty, and Little P?

But I needn’t have worried. Because his perfect name was just waiting for me to discover it.

Late one night, right before bed, I picked up a book I had previously read (and marked all up). Looking for some general inspirational guidance for my life, I employed a handy technique I have been using for awhile after learning it can be a more concrete way to access your intuition.

Holding the book’s covers between my hands, I asked, “If there is anything that would be helpful for me to know right now, please show me…” Then I flipped through the pages, allowed the book to open to a random page and started reading.

This time, within the first paragraph an unusual name was circled: Jaren. By the time I read the following sentence explaining it’s meaning I actually had tears in my eyes and I really didn’t know why.

I let it settle in that Jaren is the Hebrew word for “outpouring of joy.” And I immediately had a knowing that it’s the perfect name for Little Man.

Then I was startled into the present moment by noticing that I had previously circled the name over a year ago, for no good reason that I can remember. I chuckled at the serendipity of it all.

Yet, on a logical level, I still couldn't decide if it’s the totally perfect name for him. Heck, when pronounced the way it looks, it’s awfully similar to Seren, what we call my mare Serendipity. Yet, it does conform to my tradition of naming my horses after something that’s full of happiness.

So, I played with it for a few days. I started pronouncing it with a sort of French twist on the J, and a Spanish twist with a rolling of the R- more like Ja’ rrrren. Now, that I was more excited about. It’s fun to say. And it reminds me of a sexy Frenchman, which definitely fits a part of Little Man’s vibe. Except, I have no talent for rolling R’s and have to ask my husband to pronounce it the way I intend it to sound!

So I took it out to Little Man. I figure it’s supposed to be his name so he should get final approval. Over a bucket of hay, I asked him what he thinks of Jaren, letting him know that we’ll still use his nicknames that include words we know he likes such as Manly Man, and Handsome Man. With all of the munching going on, I didn’t feel like I could hear his answer.

I made a note to ask him soon during some quiet 1 on 1 time.

I never did get a chance to ask again- because about a week later Little Man found a way to let me know.

It happened after 3 days away from the ponies for an intense emotional workshop. The first day back, I took some time to connect with each of the horses, starting with Little Man.

He seemed eager to share something with me, but I couldn’t tell exactly what. He was pushing me around a bit with his head and neck. After a minute, I guessed he was trying to position me in front of his chest, with easy access to his heart charka. So I stood there and placed my hand on his chest. I got quiet and took a deep breathe and a lovely feeling of joy suddenly welled up into my heart, and came out as a few tears. I smiled and thanked Little Man for sending me such love. I thought he was just trying to reconnect with me after my absence.

So what I heard next surprised me. “Well, that’s my new name isn’t it?!” I giggled as I recognized that indeed, yes! Jaren meant an outpouring of joy. And here he was, sharing his outpouring of joy as a way to confirm acceptance of his new name.

How very clever indeed! And totally joyful and loving. The perfect name for a horse with a heart of pure gold. Thank you Universe for dropping it right into my lap! Literally.

Readers: How did your favorite pet get his/her name? How did the inspiration strike you? Please share.