Here at Weston Equine, a new addition has caused a little bit of stir among the two and four-legged creatures here.
His name is Pig Pig and that’s exactly what he is. A piglet that is growing fast into a full-fledged hog, one that is quickly learning the ropes about being around a bunch of horses, including getting snorted at and kicked at a time or two.
Case in point. My horse, Star.
Now, I have had Star for years now. One thing about Star is that he has a very high level of sensory acuity. More than a time or two, he has nearly jumped out from under me all because he was convinced that some horse-eating deer or rodent was potentially stalking him from far out in the field.
You might imagine how silly he must appear trying to keep track of such nonsense.
Well, a few days ago, I was working Star in the arena and, sure enough, Star was having a time of it. You see, he could smell and hear Pig Pig but couldn’t locate the little creature because Pig Pig was outside the arena, beyond where Star could see.
No matter what I did, moving his feet and doing a bit of what I use to do in the past, I couldn’t get that horse of mine to let go of thinking about that little pig. Even though Star did move his feet as I asked, he would not let go of the thought. His movements were pretty doggone light but lacked any softness in his body, because he was constantly distracted with the fearsome thoughts, “I know that thing is somewhere! I know it’s here somewhere!”
I’m telling you, the whole thing made me chuckle and got me to thinking. Made me think a bit about my lifelong journey with horses.
There is this saying that goes, “It takes a lifetime to learn how a live a life.” In that moment with Star, I realized that it has taken a lifetime for me to come to the place where I am now working with horses the way that I do.
Instead of what I used to “do”, the question I ask now is “What do you believe, horse?”
A few months back, in the very early morning hours, I was driving south from Washington State and I saw something that I had never fully grasped before. No. Not in a lifetime’s worth of working with the horse.
And it was this. That, in all our interactions with the horse, we are dealing with a belief system in the horse. Due to their innate nature to make a decision, to choose one thing or another, to let go of one thing or another, we are really looking at a belief system, most particularly in what the horse believes about you and me, the human.
Kind of sounds like another group of creatures I am acquainted with.
However, most of the traditional and current training methods try to “condition” the horse to accept this or that. We train to him to respond or react in a specific manner – so that the horse will do what we want, namely accomplish our goals. But, if you will allow me, there is another, even better way of interacting with these amazing animals.
It starts simply with this: “What does your horse really believe about you?
Do you have any idea?
Do you know how your horse might answer the question, “What is between you and me, horse?” If your horse could ask you, “What do you have to offer me that I can live and operate safely and securely in your human world,” what would be your answer?
Something to think about, right?
Throughout my decades of working with horses, I have found them to be a fairly accurate constant. The horse does not plot or scheme on how to get even. He does not haphazardly change his affections or alliances. His honesty somehow always turns my thoughts so that I look at Jesus Christ.
You see, like Star a few days ago, we might not appear to be doing very well, carrying thoughts that cause fear and worry about what we can’t see out there. Jesus has a way for us to deal with that and it is always through the nature and expression of His love.
Personally, I have never known Him to degrade, upbraid or, even, correct me. Instead, with kindness, He always deals with me along the line of teaching me about, well, whatever I am willing to learn. He always works towards me in ways that make me feel good about myself. Even in the midst of my junk, Jesus never condemns. Nor does He tolerates some foolish nonsense out of me.
To me, Jesus is the perfect example of discipline and authority properly applied in love. And, even though I might not perceive it at the time, He is ever drawing me into to the place of perfect peace, joy and rest in relationship with Him.
Could anything be better between our horses and us? That we also might be the teacher, inviting them into an untroubled relationship with us?
In the coming weeks and months, we will be talking more about you and your horse’s belief system. Until then, may your thoughts be those of peace and rest, not full of worry about some unseen Pig Pig outside the arena of your life.
Blessings and Happy Trails,