Just like our beautiful subconscious mind, horses experience the world in present time and through the language of the senses. Whenever we are thinking about what we need to pick up on the way home from work or lamenting over the disagreement we had with our spouse the night before, we are dissociating. Not in the clinical sense but dissociating nonetheless. When we are backward or forward in time, we are not present in present time, which means we are we are not in our body … and in our body is where horses like us best.
Woody Allen once chided that he wasn’t afraid of dying however he didn’t want to be there when it happened. Though shared in humour, being protected from the impact of painful events and
circumstances characterizes one of the roles dissociation plays in our lives.
Here’s where the horses come in.
Considered prey animals who are predisposed to flight, when we watch, work with or spend time with equines, they can in fact teach us to be equal to the unknown, to rise taller than the part of our self that wants to run while maintaining a healthy understanding about when it is actually time to do so.
Like highly evolved tuning forks, horses playback our current level of presence. When we are with them, aware of the sights, smells and sounds around us, attuned to what’s going on in our heart, body and mind in the moment, horses will lick and chew and be engaged with us. When our mind wanders to last night or tomorrow, we’ve left the relationship and the moment. Some horses walk away. Others, like my horse Chiron may become fidgety or agitated while others will bump us or nip in order to bring us back to the here and now … and into our bodies.
When I see this kind of behaviour in the herd, I might kindly ask the person I’m working with where they went. When they seem surprised by my apparent ability to mind track, I let them know it was the horses who told me though truth be told, the more time I spend with horses, well with nature in fact, the more I FEEL it, the more obvious it is, when someone leaves the conversation or situation, myself included. We all have this ability but if we’ve become conditioned out of it, horses can help us get back in touch with the power of now and, if we can stay present, the power of coming face to face with ourselves.
And then, after an apprenticeship of time in the company of horses and of nature, presence becomes so much more than being fully conscious in the present moment. It becomes a deep listening that leads to a state of letting go, letting be and letting come.
With Grace - and Chiron, Xen and Tank,