Connection

The word connection is used so often in modern horsemanship that sometimes I feel it has lost its true, centuries old meaning. Like all things in life, the answer is often easier than we think and not at all complex. For me Connection is merely the art of paying attention. It is that simple.

When we pay attention to our horses and observe in a non-judgemental way, we will start to see elements that hold the key to our relationship together. The immense beauty of the horse is revealed, you may start to see the true spirit of your horse, not the one that we have dressed in leather, saddle pads and the latest bridle. Not the one we see through the lens of training and riding, the true spirit as nature intended. Oh there is so much we can learn from observation and it is truly liberating. You may observe calmness, like an endless still pool, you may witness disagreements, that send ripples across that pool, but the stillness returns far quicker than we realise. This often draws my mind to think about how we battle and coerce for hours on end with horses to gain the illusion of control. In their world, there is a discussion, and it is over and stillness returns, oh how much we can learn from observation and carry it with us into our everyday lives with our horses. Handling becomes easier, riding effortless.

For humans, many times, connection can mean different things, but we see in the horse world how we all want to be up close and touchy feely with horses. I have just spent an incredible 9 days observing wild herds of Dartmoor ponies and what really struck me is how much distance they choose to have between each other yet stay fully connected. They don’t need to stand right in close, petting each other, like we want to do with the horse. 

It got me thinking about how we can bring this into our everyday life with horses, of course, we need to be up close and personal with them to take care of them, to tack up to ride or to feed. However, I do believe there is a way we can both get what we like, both horse and human. Can you give your horse a few minutes a day where you are together, but at more of a distance? What do you observe from there? Does he seem relaxed? Does he want to close the gap, or ask for more space? Did you realise this might hold the keys to a total change in your relationship and how your horse perceives you? 

Connection from a distance is something we can all benefit from. It gives us time to calm before we approach our horse, to drop the baggage from a busy day. To leave behind the to do lists and give ourselves permission to have our time with our horse. I like to stand and observe and relax my entire body, drain the stress of the day out through my feet then go and hold out the back of my hand and let my horse invite me in. Then we carry on with our time together from a place of mutual respect and understanding. Expanding our focus instead of narrowing in as humans naturally do.

The herd we observed spent 99% of their time connected but at a distance from each other, in the domesticated horses life it is more like 1% of the time, when we are with them, is spent apart. This concept may sound simple and that is the heart of it, simplicity. Take a deep breath, everything can change in a heartbeat and because oh so much easier. 

I hope you can join me in Pure Liberty where I will guide you to create the deepest bond possible with your horse. 

Andrea Wady

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