You Are Patronizing Me: The Language of Horses

(oil painting by beverly smith, click here for full painting)

The horse on the corner lot down the road from us lives alone. I tried to befriend her but found no response so passed her by on my daily walk with my dog. Weeks later, I found out that her name was Cinnamon and would then call to her as we continued walking. She still gave me little response beyond lifting her head and briefly looking my direction, then turned away to continue whatever she was doing, eating. This went on for a few months.

The other day when I yelled, “Hi, Cinnamon,” as usual, I was surprised by words that flew back to me so fast I almost ducked. “You are patronizing me,” were the words that came. I did a double take thinking I had misheard. A bit shocked by this accusation assuming I would never do something like that, I stopped in the middle of the road and did some remote viewing of my relationship with this horse to prove it wasn’t true. But, sure enough, it was. There was definitely a cocky attitude. I’d come on the scene months before, thinking I was to fix this horse who was most likely lonely (but actually, in truth, appears very content), and then develop a deep and secret connection with her because of my skills.

Picking up on my attitude from the start that she needed fixing, Cinnamon would have nothing to do with me. From then on, when I called to her with a phony lilt in my voice, I realized in retrospect that I was being superior and goading her with my high pitched musical voice as if to say, “Even if you won’t talk to me-e, I’m talking to you-ou,” followed by a sweet chuckle that I now saw as belittling. It all seemed to indicate that I am evolved and you aren’t yet. OMG. I didn’t realize. It was such a subtle poison, and this horse had picked up on it!

One of the first things I learned from the horses when embarking on my journey with them years ago was to focus on receiving with gratitude their special nuggets of wisdom, rather than trying to fix them because something was wrong or inferior. By the way, this can also be applied to our relationships with one another.

I was always frustrated when visitors especially horse people would find something wrong with a horse’s physical body and totally miss the presence of the magnificent being and the personal spiritual gift that had just been offered. With Cinnamon, I had entered her life with a similar intention of fixing her supposed loneliness, and her supposed inability to relate to me, judging her as tuned out and unaware. In retrospect, as I spurt out a quick embarrassed laugh, the exact opposite was actually true of this horse. With this new awareness and view of myself and what I had caused, I felt a sudden bittersweet humility wash over me, and was reassured that Cinnamon had finally given me another chance by offering her forthright message.

I walked on down the road with my dog, and when I came back by the small pasture, there was Cinnamon munching grass in the corner closest to where we walk. My heart responded knowingly that she was welcoming me. Enjoying her gentle invitation to connect, I whispered a thank you from the burgeoning gratitude filling my chest, then feeling that was enough for this time, walked on home.

The next day on my routine dog walk, I stopped and chatted with a neighbor nearby. When I finally got to Cinnamon, she was at the fence with her body pressed against it. I could not resist, and humbly walked over to her. She presented her soft nostrils to me and let me touch them for the first time! The next day, the same response. We stood together briefly then she would walk away.

Yesterday, when she saw us, she left her stall and walked quickly to greet us. What I had wanted with this horse in the beginning has finally happened, connection. Isn’t that what we all want, even with each other? She brought me out of my ego and reminded me to receive rather than to be her saviour or hero which can often times be condescending. Being humbled by this beautiful being who spoke the truth to me, “you are patronizing me,” I am tasting the sweet nectar of life in connection with her. We are “home.” Together.

For further discussion about this experience, click here: subliminal messages or https://themystichorsechronicle.wordpress.com/subliminal-messages

Non Resistance

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

Shaman is a teddy bear disguised as a large horse. People love to bury their heads in his neck, smell his sweet horsey breath, and sink their lips into his soft muzzle.

He recently presented me with a new problem to solve, after Kaheka Boy and I finally resolved a halter issue with him (prior post). It all started when I recently made a commitment to get more serious about working with equine problems other than my own. Since then the horses in my care have lined up to present new lessons to get me ready. As the “professors” in their equine university, they never miss a chance to groom and school me for what is next. Thankfully they always show me where I have already changed but didn’t realize it. One of those times is demonstrated in this story.

Apparently I had to first be shown a technique that I didn’t like. An acquaintance wanted to show me a 1-2-3 step to get Shaman to step forward on “demand.” (her word, not mine) Multiple times he failed steps 1 and 2 and ended with the 3rd step which was jerking on Shaman’s head and using the abrasiveness of the rope halter to get him to step forward. No. That is not to be my relationship with horses! That was clear. So, I was now ready for my own step forward with my equine instructors.

A friend, who is honing her skill of listening carefully to her horse, said to me recently that her desire is to work with her horse in a way that allows her to choose to cooperate without threatening consequences. We both value an authentic, cooperative, and deepening spiritual relationship with our horses. A horse may change its behavior because of uncomfortable or negative consequences, but that change is based on discomfort or fear, and hierarchy, not trust and cooperation which is my goal here at the ranch. While there may be the desired outward change, their connection with their human is not the same.

Daily I move Shaman back and forth between paddock and pasture at supplement time. He tries to sneak away under the rope I use as a corridor to guide him. After multiple attempts, I hoped he would settle into a routine. He didn’t. Finally, I put a lead rope gently over his neck like a bolo tie with my hands as a clasp beneath so I could guide him to our destination. He immediately did an awesome musical figure 8 with his huge neck and head and almost dislodged the rope, pulling his head under and away from any confinement. Clever. And a bit mischievous. I, instead of bracing and holding the rope taut like I normally do, was extremely surprised by my spontaneous and effortless response which was a new experience for me. Without thought, I simultaneously released any tension on the rope. Still holding it, I let it drape loosely in place beneath his neck, and felt that inner place of peacefulness and harmony. He stopped immediately. There was no resistance for him to push against. I waited. At last he took a step to move forward with me.

For 5 days we did this. Each day he whirled his head around to free himself from the rope. Each day I relaxed and released any tension. The 6th day, after putting the rope softly over his neck yet again, there was quiet. There was no figure 8 with his head. None. Instead he immediately stepped softly forward on his own initiative toward our destination. It was a gracefully choreographed movement which I am sure was designed by the gods with me as his dance partner. We then walked side by side with his bulky body light as a feather!!

There was no human jerking his head, and no figure 8 maneuver on his part. Instead he chose to step forward quietly without any waiting…and without any threat. We floated back to the pasture. He gave me these moments of feeling what two Olympic ice skaters must experience during a gold medal performance. Complete synchronicity and pure harmony. We’ve been experiencing that daily since then. The joy of non resistance. Not a technique, nor a rule for all times, but a pure moment when what was right for that time emerged spontaneously.

 

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.

There is a Reason

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There is a reason so many people are drawn to horses even with varying degrees of fear and trembling.  Both the fear and the draw are in part due to their sheer size; but I also think their pure magnificence and spiritual presence is something quite mighty to experience at the soul level and also touches something quite mighty in the unconscious parts of the human being. And that can be a very awesome and a fearful thing.

Even without our knowing, horses may plant a healing that we might not be aware of that will manifest days, weeks, or perhaps years later. I am learning that we can accelerate the process by developing our awareness in their presence.

They are powerful beings wrapped in beauty and grace; gentle enough to walk beside us on a simple lead rope. Their spiritual strength and eternal flow of wisdom can crumble any resistances in our soul by our surrender to it in their presence.

This morning, I am on the cusp of being financially forced to re-home my 5 spiritual healing horses, just as we are coming into our power as a herd after 25 years. As I was pondering my surrender to, and acceptance of that very real possibility, I noticed that my least affectionate horse, and the most mystical, was lingering at the water trough with her head pressed as close as she could get to me near the fence. She was standing quietly, looking softly, but intensely at me with her deep brown eyes. There was a peaceful quality about her.

My memory turned my head back to the day my mom died years ago. She was many miles away when she departed, before I had a chance to go home to be with her. Mariah stepped up to me in the pasture, and presented herself as a physical and spiritual surrogate for my mom. This normally stand off-ish mare allowed me to hug her and caress her for as long as I needed. I knew I was touching my mom while tears of grief intermingled with joy and gratitude for these parting moments through Mariah.

Was it mom visiting a second time today through Mariah? I wonder that as I write.

As I moved to a different location along the fence, there was Mariah again this time with her head lifted high on the fence hovering her peacefulness and flow of wisdom over me like a shower of radiated spiritual light. “I receive,” I whispered to her not yet knowing the full impact of what is coming. “I receive.” Thank you.

No matter the outcome of the next two weeks, I felt a sense of quiet. I sat in an herb garden and watched the honey bees busy with their food gathering from a borage plant, the sweet purple flowers backlit by the sun. Coastal breezes were playing with my hair and keeping me comfortable from the heat of the day. “This is living,”I thought to myself, “It is not for sale.” I’ll always carry that surrender to it deep in my soul. This is the reason so many people are drawn to horses.

Glory Again. The Amazing Things Horses Can Tell Us

Glory. A true equine mystic! He’s that chocolatey thoroughbred I wrote about in my last post. The one who gave up his pasture for my horses.

On a following day, I had stopped by his stall to check in on him. He exudes such personality, a strong presence in body and an enticing lure of those deep brown eyes, I find it difficult to stay away. I was later to discover that on this visit his focus was not on my horses, nor on himself but on me. I didn’t get it at the time.

When he heard me, he pranced in from outside and came directly over to me at the stall gate. I felt quite flattered. With my ego all fluffed up, I prepared to interact. But, immediately, he swiveled around on his back legs in dramatic style and headed away to his automatic water feeder, the little sink that sticks out chest high from a wall at boarding facilities. It reminds me of the old fashioned days at the dentist with the little sink we use to spit into that swooshes water all day long. However, since at the barn I’m use to bright blue plastic water buckets for my herd, I had a memory lapse and thought this cute little sink must be for grains.

When Glory so quickly turned away, I had a very strong sense that he was showing me something…and I had assumed it was food related…that he was telling me he was out of grains. I had the whole scenario fixed in my mind. However, when I heard the hissing of fresh water coming in, I felt confused and disillusioned and decided I had misread his intention to communicate something to me. I negated my initial feeling. All that in one flashing moment.

Glory, not at all distracted by my busy internal clutter (feeling one thing then mentally assessing and ultimately discarding it for something else}, started drinking. And drinking. And drinking. I grew concerned that he was drinking too much especially since the water had been readily available to him all along. Why would he be “catching up,” I wondered. Finally, he stopped and came over to me again where  I was still standing at the stall door. He briefly touched in then quickly curled his body back again to the water bowl and continued drinking!

I found this to be very curious, but had abandoned my original significant hit that Glory was trying to tell me something. I thought nothing more of it except to tell his person.

After saying goodbye to Glory, I headed down the dusty hill to hang out with my 6 horses. It was a hot, dry day. I am use to a more moderate coastal climate. I carried only a small partially filled water bottle. Once I arrived at their pasture gate, I drank the remainder of my water, then set to work greeting, hugging, and grooming my horses. The heat of the day was penetrating but I tried to give it no attention while focusing on my horses.

An hour or so went by quickly and I began to feel faint. I had remembered being in Texas years ago in the heat of summer at an event where bottles of water were distributed readily and we were cautioned to drink whether we felt we needed it or not. Perspiration quickly evaporated so dehydration could sneak up on us unaware. This memory flashed through my mind and I grew concerned. I am an older woman and normally tend toward dehydration anyway. I had no more water with me and it was a small hike up the hill to my car in the heat. I worried that I might not make it but no one was around so I knew I must.

I hiked the hill with my mind focused on the goal. Water. Drinking water. The heat pushed in and fear made ugly faces at me. What if I passed out? Who would find me? When? Water. Breathe. Water. Finally to the gate with my car nearby. I had made it. Thank God, I had made it.

It was later that I melted in humility as I realized what the horse had been telling me. Glory had in fact been giving me a message as I originally had thought. He was warning me to drink water…lots of it. He came to me first, then to the water and gulped and gulped, then returned to me to make sure I was paying attention. Instead of holding on to the sense that he was telling me something I assumed I was wrong. Fortunately some part of his message got through to me subconsciously so I was able to access the memory that made me aware that I needed water before it truly was too late.

He not only saved me from a worse demise, he taught me a powerful lesson about honoring the intuition and not carelessly negating it because of a misinterpretation. How often have we done that…and still do as habit? We must remember that we are not in a rehearsal. Our intuition is real life. It not something to flirt with. The messages our animals bring us are real life. We must rise to the challenge of going higher and deeper in our mystical attributes. Thank you, Glory. You are a true equine mystic who hasn’t had your spiritual nature trained out of you! You were diligent in giving me a life saving message.

The Hug

painting by Beverly Smith
oil painting by Beverly

One of my interns at the ranch was a teenager from a troubled background. She had been guarded with me in the beginning, and a bit awkward with the horses. Often she’d grab a chance to stroke the face of whichever horse was closest when she threw them hay. Then there was always a glance at me to make sure I approved. I would quickly look away always a second too late but with hopes that she would have her own intimate time with the horses without relying on my approval.

Three years have gone by since she first came here, and being with the horses has brought many changes in her. The other day she was working on the pasture side of the fence removing dangerous fragments of barbed wire from a fence post. While she worked on the wire, one of the horses, Dollar, came from behind and put his head on her shoulder making her work a little more challenging. She giggled with enjoyment but said his timing sucked. As she was telling me about it, Dollar wrapped his head and neck around her, hiding her in a hug. I instinctively asked her how it made her feel. She said, “loved.”

I felt a warmth emerging from deep inside. Through our years together, she had grown comfortable with the horses, with me, and most of all with herself. In her own personal time with this horse, she was able to receive love from him and to recognize it. More importantly she allowed herself to feel it. Isn’t that what we all are wanting?