For some reason, reaching a calm and confident state seems to be difficult at times. Staying in that state is a whole separate issue for me! I hope someone else can relate to this! Over the past few years I have tried to trade in anxious feelings for calm ones. The past 2 years I have been more intent with it, and experimented.
Gaining an animal’s trust is my favorite game. As a child, I would sit outside for hours trying to lure in a wild kitty. I wanted to win the heart of the shy puppy of the litter out of the corner, and I was elated when it decided that being with me was the best thing in the world. Its’ need to hide from fears in the corner was replaced with a desire to spend time with me. I thrived on that. It filled my heart.
We had this horse a few years ago, Norm, who had trust issues with humans on the ground. If he HAD to be around humans, he preferred them to be on his back. Even kids freaked him out. Their fast uneven movements were too much for him. He would pull back if you approached him with the wrong energy when he was tied. I kept practicing with him, trying to get him to trust me. I tried a lot of things that sort of worked with him, but I wanted more. I wanted him to ENJOY my presence and not just TOLERATE it without panicking. He showed me that I was still holding tension within myself. Norm taught me to pay attention to that last bit of tension and let it go until the knot in my stomach was gone. When I finally reached the point of complete relaxation within myself, he would take a deep breath and lick his lips. Every time. Horses amaze and fulfill me. He was a gift.
My journey with horses has been mostly self-guided, but this spring I had an opportunity to experience an equus coaching session with Katariina Fallstrom. Her training with Koelle Simpson has served her well and I’m thankful for the time we spent together. She brought me back to that calm state I used to be able to achieve with Norm. She brought that memory back to me right there in the round pen.
As I’ve been learning to compete on horses there has been a struggle with nerves and tension. It runs away with me before I realize it and gets big fast! Reasoning with it doesn’t seem to work. It may even feed it. Is it hypocritical that I thrive on gaining an animal’s trust, yet can’t seem to give my own trust? It definitely sounds that way! I sometimes ride and help prepare cutting horses for their runs at the shows. Getting to ride a variety of horses that are all very different has been a blessing in more ways than one. They each have different needs. I can help them relax and be ready to work. BUT, I do not have to ride in the ring to show them. So again, I’m asking for their trust without having to completely give mine. Busted!
Using the horse’s feedback and being aware of myself, I’m discovering how to be more balanced and emotionally free. Fear, perfectionism and shame are no longer welcome. They will be replaced with joy, self-acceptance and purpose. I am committed to working hard on this starting NOW. I’d love to hear what you’re ready to commit to as well. Feel free to share your struggles and goals with me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.