All Posts by suze

Soft Heart Technique

SoftHeartRidersMindComManage your energetic state of being and your actions will manage themselves…
As horse people we can get caught up in ‘doing it right’ but our horses are far more interested in the intention behind the actions. Next time things aren’t going as you planned, pause and listen to your head traffic – is it empowering ie. calm, encouraging, appreciative etc, or dis-empowering ie. anxious, judgemental, frustrated etc?
If you don’t like what you hear, try this Soft Heart technique to shift to a empowered energetic state…
  1. Recognise what you are feeling, denial can’t make the feelings go away but a Soft Heart can
  2. Remember, it’s not the situation that cause your dis-empowerment, but the significance you’re giving it
  3. Find your Soft Heart attitude by feeling love, care or appreciation for a person, your horse or something you really care about. This is a reset button for your state
  4. Allow any unwanted feelings to bathe in the compassion of your softened heart, letting the significance dissolve. Take all the time you need to do this
  5. Keeping your attention in a Soft Heart can help you recoup mental, emotional and physical balance and vitality
  6. Be gentle with your human-ness – you are doing the best you can at that moment

Remembering to soften your heart when you are struggling helps you come back to easygoing compassion for yourself and your horse. It’s not a mushy or self-pitying place. It’s a place of ease, self-care and empowerment. Fantastic things can happen in this state…

Adapted from the HeartMath Institute.

Burning Question – “Do you still want to be ridden or officially retire?”

As our horses age it can bring up a lot of emotion when we grapple with how to best care for them. Good on you Jo for asking a hard question – one that could mean changes in the way you spend your time together. When relationship comes before riding then these changes are easier to adjust to.

Finn said that he was tired and would appreciate short stints of riding then some leading then back to another bit of riding. He was grateful to be asked and showed a picture of him and Jo in native bush taking life at a leisurely pace. Finn knows Jo will listen and that he is very loved.

Burning Question – “How can I help you learn? Why the biting?”

Horses never disappoint with their clear (some might say blunt…) advice that is always encouraging. Some how they can effortlessly give constructive advice without judgement – a skill my kids would say I need to polish up on!

First up was Bud – his owner was sick of being a chew toy and she wanted to know what he was trying to tell her with his biting. As he calmly and gently came into the session he replied with “She is rushing me, I take time to settle into things. Show me, explain to me and then gently do it”.

Emm, I know I’m guilty of this one…like a Rushers Anonymous meeting – “I’m Suze and it’s been 0 minutes since I last rushed”. He showed a little soreness, but it was feeling flustered that made him bite. Each horse has their natural rhythm and when we do things out of sync with that rhythm it can really throw a sensitive horse.

Next up was Dennis – his owner wanted to know about his training preferences – “Think about the human you enjoy interacting with the most, and who best helps you to learn/understand. How do they act around you?” Well Dennis was delighted to answer – he didn’t name names but he was very clear on what energy he enjoyed the most. His first two words were clarity & smile.

He showed a situation where he felt him and his human were really in the connection game together. The trainer was poised to let him know exactly when he did what he was asked and reinforce this with a big pat and celebrate how clever he was. He called this ‘Poised to Praise’ and said ‘it feels good when you are delighted’. He said he shows more of himself when the energy coming towards him has a ‘look at you gorgeous boy’ feel to it.

“Words can be pretty clumsy things to describe moments of wholehearted mutual connection….’Love’ covers it

Those moments of harmony are what keep us coming back mystery lameness after mystery lameness… We can spend our whole riding life ‘preparing’ to have the perfect ride and miss the moments that are right under our nose, or more precisely, under our butt.

When we are totally focused on ‘improving’ our skills and performance we are constantly in ‘fault finding mode’ rather than ‘magical moment mode’ – we look for what needs fixing rather than what deserves gratitude and celebration.

I am all for healthy striving but don’t let the ‘perfection monster’ steal your magic moments. When we acknowledge these with a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to our horses, their self-confidence and willingness blossoms and we strengthen our mutually enriching connection x
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Thanks Kimber Brown from www.pipiart.co.nz for capturing this moment at the recent Carlos Tabernaberri Clinic. Fly and I were ‘soaking in’ a calm & focused ridden session

Develop a Harmony Habit

Horse/Human Harmony is a topic dear to all horse lovers hearts. Magic happen when we this is one of our ‘not negotiables’. When I was given the chance to submit an article for the Natural Horse Management Magazine it felt like a goodie. Our human-ness can make us pretty talented at getting in our own way when it comes to living in harmony with our horses. So I outlined 3 simple steps we can take.

‘Live in the energy of play. I miss you laughing.’

 

Meet SJ. She has been lucky enough to spend her whole 20 year life with the lovely Lindsey. They have shared many adventures – Lindsey was the first human SJ met when she was born and she has done all her schooling with her.

Lindsey said “We used to be insanely close, and now there’s a distance that makes me sad. I miss having that super close connection with her.”

My heart soars when the first question people want me to ask ‘Is she/he happy?’. This is usually followed by questions about their physical health and how they feel about their human friend.

Often people imagine their horse has all sorts of judgments and criticisms but rest assured, this is a not part of the horses world -this is a uniquely human thing. Horses either feel safe and comfortable around you and want to be close. Or they don’t and they move away. It’s not about you per se – it’s about how they feel around you. As a prey animal they are hard-wired to constantly sense our energetic state (our ever changing, unique combination of emotional, physical and mental disposition).

SJ shared a potent reminder for Lindsey – to live in the energy of play. You see life had got increasingly serious for Lindsey – growing up will do that to you! Education, work, relationships…the stuff of being adult can take us a long way from the energy of play, which our horses enjoy so much.

SJ shared her view on life – ‘I love living – it’s fun – life is beautiful – there is so much to discover and enjoy.’ She lived in a state of ‘gentle rapture’. Something I know I could do well to emulate when I feel being an adult has got heavy going…

Thanks SJ & Lindsey for the opportunity to share from the horses heart x

“Your joy is magnetic – it draws me to you”

 

Have you ever wondered what your horse might write in an ‘ideal human partner’ description (picture online dating for horses looking for humans…)? What would they be really drawn to ie. states of being ? Words like calm, playful, accepting, grateful to be alive, kind, present and joyful come to my mind.
 
This is quite a list so how could we summarise this? How about ‘love’? We usually talk about being ‘in love’ – but I reckon love is a doing word, so we could drop the ‘in’ and make it ‘being love’. We may say we love our horses but when emotions run high we may not act lovingly towards them. Does that mean we don’t love them anymore? I feel ‘being love’ is a good value to hold ourselves accountable to.
 
The old adage ‘words are cheap’ is very true with our horses – our actions speak far louder. Sometimes kids can get horses to easily and generously do things that adults can’t…I always find that fascinating and it shows how our intentions and expectations shape what we experience far more than most people realise. Why? Humans love being right because it makes them feel safe. Therefore, if we have strong expectations we shape the outcome to make sure we are right – this can be in positive and negative ways.
 
This phenomenon is called creating ‘self-fulfilling prophecies’. We would rather be right about something unpleasant than surrender to the unknown beautiful potential possibility of the present moment. We humans can be really funny like that!

‘My fulfillment is your peace & joy. Stop & stand quietly with me – just being together is peaceful & warm.’

This is gorgeous George. He is a lucky boy because Karla’s first two questions were ‘Is he happy?’ and ‘Does he like his job?’. George, like most horses, was very aware of himself and his preferences and liked being asked to share them. George is also, like most horses, very aware of Karla’s emotional, mental and physical state moment to moment – as a prey animal he is hard wired to be – it can mean the difference between life and becoming lunch.

As humans we are often very focused on WHAT we DO – the mechanics of action. The horse’s world is more focused on HOW they FEEL. What upset George the most was when he didn’t now how to please Karla. He was always seeking relationship harmony.

When he shared his wishes it was not for more carrots and feed – it was for more smiles, laughter, play and fun for fun’s sake. His ambitions lay in connection not ribbons yet he said ‘I like to feel my powerful body’ so he was happy to be ridden. He delighted in Karla’s happiness.

Please leave a comment below how reading this made you feel. I would love to know if this touched, surprised, made you feel uncomfortable, etc. When I started communicating with horses I felt guilty/ashamed that I had been so insensitive to their way of experiencing the world. Human arrogance has blinded me to their depth.

Thanks Karla & George for the opportunity to learn more about life from the heart of horses.

“I am magnificence without arrogance. Arrogance is based on comparison. I don’t need to compare as I know who I am.”

This week I had the privilege of chatting with Senna. Senna’s human guardian was worried that he was aloof and withdrawn on the ground and spooky when ridden. Her question were ‘How can I make his life better? Our relationship better?’. Senna is a very lucky horse because his needs are a very high priority.
When I connected with him, Senna showed himself stuck down a long tunnel with a gate. He was sad and the heaviness in his heart bought tears to both our eyes. he said ‘no one sees me’ and he showed me his huge wings. The insensitive treatment he has received in the past meant he retreated to deep within himself.
Gradually he began to share more of himself and then showed himself hovering off the ground at the place he lived – he was not connected to the energy of the earth. He has recently moved grazing and had new paddock mates and hadn’t yet ‘landed’ there. As I told him this was now his forever home he settled on to the ground and shared the most beautiful vision of ‘roots’ of energy streaming out in the all directions around him like the scene in Avatar where everyone is connected to each other and the land around the sacred tree. Feeling ‘grounded’ is very important to all animals.
He then shared what is written below “I am magnificence without arrogance. Arrogance is based on comparison. I don’t need to compare as I know who I am”. Thank you Senna, it was such a honour to connect with you.

What’s at the heart of your time with horses?

Sometimes having horses in our lives can get really complicated – mysterious health issues (for both of us…), advice from ‘guru’s’ coming from all directions, nagging questions in your heart about doing the ‘right thing’ by you horse, this list goes on and on and on….

Personally this year I have had quite a few times when I got stuck wondering what to do with my fulla, Fly. The irony was each time I played with the thought ‘what if I’m not the best person for him’ things changed. I know this doesn’t sound like ‘positive thinking’ but somehow it gave me the humility to stop trying to be the ‘best’ person and just do the best I could with what I knew at the time and let that be enough.

I stopped attaching to the outcome of our time together and let ‘trusting relationship’ be the most important thing. If that couldn’t be found in the saddle then I got off and started at first base – standing together quietly, sometimes with my ear on his belly listening to him breathe (when a girth on he often breathes so shallow that I don’t feel any rise and fall).

My ego fought with weapons of shame like ‘you are an experienced rider – get on and sort him out’ but my heart said there is no win/lose in trusting relationship – only lose/lose or win/win – trust cannot grow individually at the expense of another – it’s an ‘us’ game.

This got me to thinking about what my life with horses had been all about. And I realised at the heart of it was a little girl hugging a hairy pony knowing that she would love horses for the rest of her life, come what may.

Thank you for liking this page – it has taken much soul searching and detours for me to step into supporting horses and riders find happiness together. I wish you and your horse a very Merry Christmas xxx