Head Butt and Muzzle Hug: The Language of Horses

Bury Your Head In This. ..And Smell His Horsey Body

My heart was aching as I was feeding the horses one night. I sought out the comfort and the wisdom of Shaman Tal, my teddy bear horse. When I found his big, woolly body, I started to cry about a repetitive and gnawing problem in my life which I couldn’t seem to get a handle on. I was searching for what I was doing wrong. Shaman who is drawn compassionately to people who are grieving, startled me by pushing me away roughly with his head. Wooh! What was this head butt about?! Feeling sorry for myself and the ache getting worse with this unexpected and out of character reaction, I didn’t understand his uncaring response to me.

Deeply offended since I was coming to him for comfort, I opened my mouth to scold him for such rude behavior that was completely unnecessary. Instead, what came out of my mouth changed and reinvented my original message. Instead of scolding it became, “Oh this is because I am railing on myself again, beating myself up!”

For the longest time I have known I am not to look for what is broken or wrong with me. Not that it isn’t there, but I’m a bit of an addict about it. Those things drop off effortlessly when I see the hidden gifts. Now that I’ve had enough years to practice this, the horses are impatient with me when I default to that familiar and addictive inner rant that has carved deep ruts in my habit patterns. Shaman had no tolerance even though I was in agony…but it was an agony that was coming from a false belief.

I continued interpreting Shaman’s head butt, “…so, this is about being on the roll in a positive way and this is resistance flushing out?!” Shaman licked and chewed, and licked and chewed his affirmation. First, I was busted because of my self-flagellation! Then, when I got it, he was now affirming my recognition that often times when we are in fact on track in our lives even though with some ragged edges, we flush out some violent storms as the inner barometer changes. With the acceptance that it wasn’t me messing up, but rather a good thing in disguise, I cried harder with mixed and conflicting emotions all vying for attention.

Shaman, who towered over me like a large burly father, pressed his muzzle into my shoulder and hard against my neck, holding it there patiently and compassionately for the longest time as I sobbed both relief and self-compassion. It was a cleansing. With this hug from his huge head and muzzle pressing in firmly, no human gesture could have equaled the feeling of security it evoked in me. I later learned it was not just his amazing physical compassion he was offering, but he was sending healing that manifested on my way home, removing a blockage I have been feeling every since I embarked on my journey to my inner home place.

Horses and other animals or manifestations of nature not only bring messages or revelations to our conscious minds, but they actually are radiating healing without our realizing it because it can’t always be felt in the magnitude that it is offered. Perhaps it needs time to absorb and for the mind to gradually catch up.

Driving home, I had an epiphany. I knew that the issue that has been playing out in my life is actually a reversal of my gift. Where my life has been dysfunctional is where my gift is embedded, hidden and not operating because it has been submerged. My life has manifested the opposite of what is true.

It is both frightening and empowering when a new super gift is uncovered. So how can I move into experiencing the power of my gift? A step at a time with this new awareness. I’ve been experiencing the distortion of my gift for a large part of my life. I now see it surfacing, like an interesting rock emerging from the sands of the wear and tear of history. A new way of thinking and feeling, and the perception of myself as no longer a victim is already shifting.

I know the steps I am to take today.

Shaman’s head butt became a muzzle hug. It not only comforted but shifted my perception. I love those muzzle hugs!

[After sharing this story recently at one of my presentations, someone mentoned the location on my body where Shaman placed his muzzle. I hadn’t yet put together that his muzzle hug was placed where I “shoulder” the most stress in my body as a pain in the neck.]

The Embrace of Equine Love and Compassion

Amoura and Kaheka

Before leaving the horses in the evenings, I often check in with each one. Kaheka and I have hit a few bumps in the road lately, and he was not acknowledging me when I asked playfully if he wanted to give me a kiss which I’m not prone to force. He continued to obviously ignore me as I tried to engage him in other ways asking about possible hurt feelings. He is a very sensitive and emotional horse, and that was likely the problem.

In the meantime, I sensed another horse behind me. It was Amoura. I shifted my conversation to her noticing she looked very sad. As I mentioned her sadness (which could have been mine she was reflecting), Kaheka, who had continued to act as if I didn’t exist, stepped forward briskly and started massaging her withers at the base of her mane. Amoura was reluctant at first, a bit hesitant as I am when not quite ready to release my discomfort. But her shift came faster than mine and she in turn started responding to Kaheka, both of them standing side by side looking in opposite directions as they embraced one another with their massaging hugs. I stepped back and absorbed the joy of Kaheka’s quick response to Amoura’s sadness, and the intimacy of their hugs.

This beautiful interaction made me shake my head a little and chuckle quietly in enjoyment of the mischievous trickster side of Kaheka who was listening all along and responded quickly to Amoura with love and compassion. It was consistent with his character quality of being drawn to the other horses when they are ailing for any reason.

Amoura and Kaheka not only danced with each other, they also danced with me!

Introducing Four Pages: Healing Portraitures; Sketching Horses; Problem Horses; Equine Guided Personal/Spiritual Growth Sessions


The Art Of Healing Through Portraiture:
https://themystichorsechronicle.wordpress.com/the-art-of-healing-through-portraiture/

 

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Sketching Horses: Equine Guided, An Introductory Class https://themystichorsechronicle.wordpress.com/sketching-horses-equine-guided-an-introductory-class/

 

 

“You Talkin’ About Me?

Problems With Your Horse?
https://themystichorsechronicle.wordpress.com/problems-with-your-horse/

 

 

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*Kaheka and Amoura”

Equine Guided Personal /Spiritual Growth And Healing Sessions:
https://themystichorsechronicle.wordpress.com/equine-guided-personal-spiritual-growth-and-healing-sessions/

Walking Away

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Amoura. “Walking Away”

Amoura was the third to open her classroom door to me. I had learned non-resistance from Shaman, and sensitivity rather than anger from Kaheka. Since non-resistance was so amazing, I was prepared to experience that with Amoura, but I wasn’t quite sure how to apply it to her, and did not want to do it as a technique, and especially if not appropriate.

I wanted to check her hooves and to clean them from impacted debris. I don’t usually put a halter on to pick up hooves. When I leaned over to lift her front hoof, she walked away.  For some reason that makes me feel a little awkward and silly when that happens, as if someone is watching and I feel embarrassed that the horse had her way with me.  I must admit that I become more determined and forceful. Today I had an overflow of peaceful energy from Shaman so I stepped back and relaxed into the process. I let her walk away (as if I had a choice!). I was feeling a kind of non-resistance but we weren’t making any progress toward solving the hoof issue, though I could have let that go.

Of course I continued to try again, and again unsuccessfully. Each time I peacefully watched her walk away. I noticed, though, that she actually wanted me to clean her hooves and would circle around, and come up to me, but then walk away just as I reached out for her hoof. This is something Amoura has done since she first joined the herd. She wants to cooperate but because of her abusive background, she has difficulty trusting.

“Fear,” she whispered. Aah. Professor Amoura gave me a “classroom” tip. It was fear! As I had learned with Kaheka, I started to reassure her in a soft, gentle, voice. She immediately stopped in perfect synchronicity with my energy shift, and lifted her hoof. Four hooves later, she had clean feet!

Such a subtle shift in recognizing her fear, and a simple reassurance was all that was needed. I could have haltered her and forced the issue, but we would have both missed out on the deeper connection, and on the lesson she wanted me to learn. Does it take time and patience? Sometimes, yes! But the deeper connection with the horse is worth the wait, and sets the stage for going even deeper next time. It is also preparing me personally for working with ordinary problems with other horses in non aggressive ways, and with humans as well.

 

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Amoura. “For the Joy of It”

What My Horse Taught Me Today

Kaheka Boy

Tonight I tangled with Kaheka Boy. Again. Every evening I put the halter on him before turning him out into the interim pasture to eat his supplement. Every night he throws his head at the very last minute just as I am buckling the halter, jerking it right out of my hands and propelling it to the ground. Each night I yell at him, “Every goddamn night you do this!” all the while I’m cringing inside with poisonous shame and guilt. I knew I was being a bitch and not solving the problem even a little bit. Even though I knew there was a better way, taking the easier road, I persisted in my reactionary response.

My goal for the past 20 years has been to work cooperatively with horses. But I still forget. Tonight, I not only yelled but I picked up his halter from the ground and threw it back down. Hard! I don’t think I could ever hit this horse but throwing the halter on the ground like I did felt like the same harsh energy. Even though he is in his 20’s, an older guy by now, he has a youthful innocence. Like a teenager, he can be challenging but endearing at the same time, and extremely sensitive. In this instance, he simply rolled his eyes, turned his head and looked around as if embarrassed, to see if anyone was watching my foolishness, then patronized me with a “guru” type superior nod as he patiently observed my childish tantrum.

When the halter hit the ground in a puff of dust, I wondered at how I had regressed. It seems the closer I get to responding to ordinary behavioral issues in nontraditional ways, I backslide more ruthlessly into the very tradition I am hoping to abandon. But all was not lost.

In my efforts to work cooperatively with horses, Kaheka communicated to me now that I was listening with intent to learn from him. He had been throwing his head nightly when I haltered him because he was nervous about the other horses nearby. When I started buckling the halter, he felt constricted and more confined. Instinct for flight overtook him and he threw his head ready to flee. As he explained what was going on with him, I began to feel compassion and understanding. I instinctively lowered my voice, reassuring him that he was safe. “You’re okay, Kaheka, you are okay,” I was reminding him that all was well. And it was! We breezed through haltering him that night.

The next time, he threw his head again! My heart sank after thinking we had found a solution. “Wait,” he said, “This is a process. Don’t give up on me.” He meant don’t give up on yourself! I took a deep breath, let it out slowly, then, spoke softly again and reminded him to try to keep his head down, and that he was safe. After more coaching from him, I gave him space to stand in a position that helped him feel more confidant, where he could see the other horses. I whispered reminders to keep his head down, and to reassure him. All has gone smoothly since.

We are now both getting what we want. I get to buckle him without hassle, and he gets to feel confident and safe. I can feel him still on the alert, but putting every effort into keeping his head from flinging upward. He gets buckled more quickly, and then gets to his food sooner. There is a new camaraderie between us instead of antagonism.

In addition Kaheka also has shown me how I do the same thing in my own life. Throwing my head when I’m starting to feel constricted and unsafe, and slowing the process of forward movement by giving into my fears. That is his “guru” lesson for me.

Gratefully, the connection and the cooperation between Kaheka and me has grown deeper and at the same time more transcendent. It is another step forward on our horse and human journey, to work together in cooperation.

 

A Simple Nudge That Turns My Day Around

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Dollar [a view that caught my eye one day. I love the flowing lines around muscle, and the warmth of his coat in the sunshine.]
As I returned home after a Thanksgiving trip to join my son and his family for the holiday, I was feeling depressed that I hadn’t found a place to move the horses yet. As I entered the pasture area, Dollar, the head guy here, came up to me and quietly pressed his warm and soft muzzle into the back of my hand and held it there. It was the most alive, and soothing kiss I’ve ever received and brought me quickly out of my depression. He reminded me of the world of love beyond the material.
He’s so human sometimes. That’s not necessarily a compliment for him except for the fact that he knows how to speak my language.
Tonight, I had another brief moment with him. I’d had a troublesome human to human conversation and had lost my spiritual connection. Dollar sauntered by and gently nudged me on my leg, and as he continued moving past me, turned his head back to look at me and check my response. His equine gesture felt like a reassuring human squeeze that said, “Stay cool. You’re okay.”
The acknowledgments from this sentient being are remarkable. They often come as a surprise to me when I’m too consumed by my own “stuff” to even acknowledge him. Walking past him with my eyes glazed over, he snaps me back to awareness in such a gentle way with his nudges. He draws me deep into the heart of love, and turns my day around.

Kaheka on the Move

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The whole herd is on the move. Literally. We are relocating in a few days to a small ranch with a lovely homestead feeling. And it’s for sale! I’ve always envisioned an opportunity like this. Depending on how things evolve this is either a temporary stay on our way to a more permanent place or this will become our permanent place as the magic kicks in. That is my desire. And the magic is working lately even in finding this place.

Revision: Since writing the above post, the magic has taken us on a detour at the last minute. We have not moved to our dream place after all, but maybe there is something better, or maybe something will change and we can buy it or find a buyer that would lease to us. In the meantime we are still on the move, and need a place now. Time is of the essence.

I am including in this post a link to our Gofundme site that a young and supportive friend set up on behalf of the horses all of whom have been rescued; and myself, and not to exclude Henii, the rescued Airedale mix). We are in transition and would welcome support for feed and care of the horses for a few months until the vision becomes self sustaining. This would be a “bridge” like entrepreneurs use during a start up.

We also need funds for trailering the 5 equine beauties, as a friend calls them. If you are inspired to be a part of our journey by contributing or by prayers in whatever way you do that, we would be grateful.

https://www.gofundme.com/kaheka2016

Beverly