Winston Churchill once said “There is something good about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” He is not wrong.
Horses are very good for us in so many ways, mind, body, spirit and soul. Horses can be our Soul Companions, Earth Angels, Healers and Warriors. I have been blessed owning several amazing horses and work daily with lots of wonderful equines. I know first-hand from my own experiences with horses the massive positive difference they make in our lives. I want to share with you in this interactive article just a few nuggets from my time with one horse that gave me so much – Merlot.
I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my wonderful horse Merlot. He is now in spirit but always with me. I rescued him from a terrible abusive home and the life lessons and horsemanship he taught me had a profound effect. They say when the student is ready the teacher will arrive. My horses are my teachers. The day I met Merlot is one I will never forget. I often think back to 1998 to that day in May when I went to view Merlot and ponder who chose who. Was it fate or destiny? I think it was mine and Merlot’s destiny to meet. If you look up the meaning of destiny it is a predetermined course of events or fixed order of the universe. In reflection I truly believe horses are gifts to teach us life lessons. I felt this little bay horse reach out to me and grab hold of my heart. I now know he attached an ethral cord. Little did I know that day how much I needed him or what lay ahead in the education this special little horse would give me in horsemanship and life. I may have rescued him, as with all things in life they go full circle and it was my wonderful Merlot who in return rescued me. He was instrumental in my recovery when I was so ill and when I was struggling to keep going. And it was my brave little horse when he passed from this world he gave the courage to free myself from a damaging relationship that had caused me pain, heartache and fear.
Merlot arrived at a point when I already knew there was a better way to work with horses. Just as well, as Merlot had already been labelled as a dangerous horse that they wanted to sell cheap and fast. My little bay horse soon revealed he was a very anxious and easily stressed. He was understandably fearful of humans with his trust and respect in tatters. This made him at best reserved in connecting to make a bond at worst aggressive as attack is the best form of defence. Understandably he had a very negative outlook in regard to humans. He had a range of behaviours to make people keep their distance or go away. These ranged from the pinning of ears flat back so he looked like the horse with no ears. The threat of biting and often people who were not savvy enough got bitten. Rearing and striking out with his front hooves. Leaping around on the end of the lead line, the list goes on….
I was like us all, I was seeking my personal equine dream, a close magical relationship with Merlot. What a challenge to try to seek a close magical connection with a horse that disliked humans. I knew the road to success was paved with interspecies communication. I had to listen to understand and help Merlot unpack his emotional baggage. Merlot taught me to look beyond his aggression to his emotional state of mind that fuelled the behaviour and I saw a distrustful, frightened, anxious, and very worried horse. By working on his emotional state of mind helped to reduce his need to act in an aggressive way. He taught me so much about the very subtle communication and the layers within horsemanship. I learnt to listen carefully to his emotional state and his thinking as this was the seed for his intent. This would shape his energy state and breathing patterns. This is way before any shift in rhythm or body language. He taught me a huge amount about the finesse in communication.
Horsemanship is a shared language with dialogue. Our relationship with the horse requires us to have mutual respect and trust. Imagine the journey with a horse that has understandably huge trust issues and has been disrespected by his previous owner? Merlot taught me so much about how to mend shattered trust, to build his confidence and self-esteem. Mutual respect had to be high on the agenda to be able to move forward. I had to provide Merlot with stability, safety, security and a relationship built on mutual respect and trust. Horses thrive with training that uses intention, energy, focus, direction, patience and correct timing. Therefore an essential skill to develop when working with horses is the ability to read, project and absorb intent and energy. You can read for FREE my article on Intent and Energy that appeared in Western UK Magazine in the Horsemanship Journal section. Just a thought to ponder - Without two way open honest communication there is no relationship; without mutual respect there is no love; without trust there is no path towards unlocking potential.
Merlot taught me horsemanship is as much about personal development. I learnt no matter how much I loved Merlot that love was not going to be returned until I had proven without doubt I was worthy. Love knows no boundaries between species. I knew the love was in Merlot but buried deep. That first day we met the emotional balance, harmony and wellbeing every living thing needs to thrive was missing for Merlot. The emotional place he was in was terrible. He had not shut down completely, many horses do. Merlot still communicated mostly expressing negative emotions: memories of pain, distrust, fear, anxiety, stress, anticipation of force and abuse, sadness, anger, frustration, etc… To move forward was about these being a high priority. The tangle of his emotions was the bricks in his wall he built to defend himself that love and emotional harmony was locked behind. Each well cemented in place. With this tangle of emotion you have to slowly chip away those bricks. The chipping away chisel is the language of the herd, horsemanship. The hammer you hit the chisel with is love. Love is the power. Love and language of the herd is the force that breaks down the barriers. You need both without either you are lost. I listened and heard a horse wanting help. I felt and understood his emotional pain. I learnt I had to freely give unconditionally with no expectation of it being returned. It taught me to wait. When I had proven myself to him to be trustworthy, respectful and through enjoyable quality time together the bond grew from strength to strength and little glimmers of love from Merlot shone through like precious diamonds. Giving him unconditional love helped him learn to love, open his heart and let me in. Over time this love and bond deepened. One of the lessons Merlot taught me was to put love into everything I did with him, to make love my goal. Using their language of love you can connect with your horse from the heart.
You can read for FREE my published article the Power of Love that appeared in Horsemanship Magazine.
In this interactive article I have just touched on a tiny aspect of the journey I shared with Merlot. I hope these insights help you in some way. If you enjoyed the article please share it with your friends. If you wish to leave a comment or feedback or share your insights and experiences there is an on-line form below.
For those of you passionate about connecting to another level with your horse here is how I can help you.
- MY GIFT TO YOU - FREE to read Published and Blogs
- Come along to one of my workshops. Places are always very limited as I only teach small groups.
- Or have one to one support from myself. I am happy to travel out to you and your horse.