I've been thinking much about the power of light lately, because of several incidents I've seen the past week. I've pondered how it's possible to focus on the 'bad things other people do', and still maintain the light, clear energy in oneself. I don't think that's possible...or at least it isn't for me.
An internet page recently opened for the purpose of sharing ideas about our horse training and businesses. I welcomed being there, until it became focused on bashing another trainer, who wasn't on the site. I don't approve of the training method used; I've spent the better part of my life working for nonviolent training and the welfare of horses. I made a simple statement about staying positive, which brought down the wrath of a couple of others in the group. I deleted my comment, and vowed to post no more. The thread went on, and then a highly-regarded horsewoman, whose name you would recognize, stated that she disagreed with the energy of what was happening and would respectfully leave. I liked that.
I really believe that to maintain our own integrity with horses and ourselves, it is necessary to release our own egos and cultivate the light. Be the light, and it will spread like a beacon, to our horses and people around us. According to a story, Benjamin Franklin wanted people in Philadelphia to adopt street lighting, but initially he couldn't get anyone interested. Instead of arguing, he simply hung a lantern on a long bracket in front of his door. He kept the glass polished, and every night he made a point of going out to light it at sunset. Franklin's neighbors watched. Soon they began mounting their own lights outside their homes. After a short while the entire city was brightly lit at night--without Franklin having to do anything more than demonstrate the usefulness of light.*
There, as in our work with horses, sometimes the best way to persuade is to set an example, to be the light you want others to see.
Does this mean I don't speak out for the good of horses? Of course not. Those of you who follow my work know that I raise awareness and campaign against cruelty to horses in any form. Horse Slaughter, mustang roundups, Rollkur, restrictive training devices, and many more issues need advocates, and I am there. But I don't engage in criticizing others for the way they live their lives. We could learn much from horses, when it comes to that. They take care of what needs to be done in the herd and move on.
"There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” – Aldous Huxley
Michaelanne first came for a lesson, hoping to help one of her fillies, who was full of anxiety about humans. Michaelanne herself was anxious, as she had a recently-healed broken bone suffered in a horse accident. Throughout our training, she understood what her horses needed from her, and carried through. Last week I got two messages from her, which affirmed the results of teaching with positive reinforcement and an open heart.
"Today when I was in the forest, Penny wanted me to get on her back....I just kept feeling it from her. We had been lying down napping together side by side. She got up and stood over me and nudged me softly with her nose like she was asking me to get up. I stood and she led me to the fence and kept looking at the fence and at me...I felt like she was saying "climb up there and get on me."
Her next message announced a breakthrough with the fearful, anxious filly Rose, and for herself.
"I rode my horse today for the first time in over 2 years. Last time I rode we had an accident and I broke a vertebrae in my back; it was extremely painful for several months. The most painful part though was the anxiety that robbed me of my greatest joy, riding my horse. A little over a year ago I was led, I believe by God, to a wonderful woman with a beautiful soul who thought like I did about being with horses. She became my teacher and my mentor on my journey to overcome my anxiety and build a relationship of mutual respect and love with my horses. Through Liberty Foundations, where the horse is free to leave at anytime, my whole herd and I have built a powerful bond that is based on love, affection, mutual respect, and trust. Today my horse stood quietly at liberty as I tacked her up and then stood still and relaxed at the mounting block. As I got on my heart was so full of joy and thankfulness for my teacher Ruella Yates, I burst into tears. I will always remember this day."
Learn more about Liberty Foundations at http://libertyfoundations.com; you may contact me at email@example.com
Join us on Facebook at Spirit Horse Ranch Liberty Foundations, where you'll find daily reasons to love horses!
Small coaching groups are forming, as well as private coaching by appointment at Spirit Horse Ranch near Oklahoma City; if you’d like to learn, we’d love to welcome you.
My colleague Susan Smith teaches Liberty Foundations in Santa Fe, NM; she’d be happy to welcome you there, too. Her website is http://orthohorse.info.
Several Liberty Foundations Clinics are planned for 2014, and online classes and coaching will be available soon. May I add you to our waiting list?
*My thanks to Jane Eulberg, my neighbor, for the Benjamin Franklin story.
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Walking a Horse Down
Please view a segment of a coaching session with Michaelanne, Penny and me, as Michaelanne establishes leadership and sets the bond with Penny. She is now with her horses in an open pasture, sitting with them, napping with them, tending to their needs, saddling them...all at liberty.
Her granddaughter, the precious Lily, is now riding her pony safely, after having learned Liberty Foundations with Michaelanne and me. (Yes, children can learn it, too!) Michaelanne has become her own trainer and teacher, which is our goal. Regular support and ideas are reinforced here when needed. I love my job!
(c) Ruella Yates, 2013