If I were to choose the most important of the Liberty Foundations, I believe I would choose the first Foundation: Meditation. This is where the relationship between you and your horse begins, where it deepens and nourishes the Open Bond, and where you return when the bond weakens or breaks.
Develop a great sensitivity toward where you are in your relationship with your horse, knowing when to return to this most basic Foundation. In answering a question from a student experiencing a disconnect in any of the Foundations or under saddle, my answer usually starts with this advice: Sit in Meditation. Reset the glue. Renew the bond.
Sitting Meditation has some elements of ‘hanging out’ or ‘undemanding time’, but is far more sophisticated than this. While sitting, you and your horse learn, first of all, what true Liberty for horses really means. You must make it clear to your horse in mind and action that he/she is invited to be with you in an area. The horse is free to agree, and also free to turn you down and leave. This, first of all, makes you more sensitive in what you are doing with your horse, knowing he can ‘vote with his feet’, and leave. The arrogance leaves you when you realize that the horse has power and is free. When going to my horses, I check my ego at the gate.
One of the most moving articles I've read about the value and joy of Meditation with Horses was shared by Liberty Foundations Instructor in Australia, Rozlyn Lambert. Rozlyn has worked with a number of horses, making great differences in their lives. She feels that Meditating with them has led to the beautiful connections they form with people. Read her experiences, complete with photos, and feel the depth of the bond!
Rozlyn Lambert, Hobart, Tasmania
Time is precious. We fill our time busily “doing.” We are constantly planning and organizing, trying to achieve this and that. We get so busy thinking and doing that it’s easy to forget about giving ourselves time to simply be. Allowing ourselves to stop and just enjoy the moment, to pay attention to our bodies and what they are feeling, to switch off our thinking minds.
In Liberty Foundations the first 2 things we learn about are meditating and greeting. Both these exercises are incredibly powerful and intertwined. Both require the release of our ego and agendas.
In meditation we simply ask to share space with the horse for the pure joy of being together. It doesn’t matter if the horse is on the far side of where you are or right beside you. You are simply sharing space and time together with no agenda, what is is. This can be even harder than you think! You may be thinking about how much you want your horse to come stand with you, or planning your next ride, or maybe you just struggle to switch off your thinking mind, which is something I really struggled with at first.
The amazing thing is though, when you take away tack and agendas and step out of confined spaces and offer the horse the freedom to choose where they wish to be, you ultimately offer yourself that same freedom as well. Freedom to enjoy the present moment without having to achieve anything, freedom to be your authentic self.
I have come to realise that Liberty Foundations isn’t just about working without tack. It is about giving the horse freedom to be itself; it’s about being able to have a two-way conversation, respecting and accepting the horse exactly as it is and where it is at. Liberty Foundations is also about giving yourself these freedoms as well. Through releasing yourself of your ego and agendas, and releasing your horse from your needs and desires, you arrive at a place of magical connection and communication. And it is through meditation that this incredible transformation happens
To allow your mind to come to a place of quiet observation and acceptance can be quite confronting. As humans we like to feel in control but not be controlled. Incredible things start to happen as we begin to let go of that need for control and we begin to open up to the freedom of the moment, and the way the horse starts responding in almost magical ways. For me it’s like I become engulfed in an incredible calmness, a blissful tranquility. My mind is released, emotions and feelings can flow freely through me without overwhelming me, I don’t have to think or worry, I just am. My body becomes free to absorb the sights, sounds, and smells around me. My skin begins to feel alive, feeling the gentle breeze, the warmth of the sun, the individual drops of rain. I become content and feel like I am in heaven on earth.
The horses respond to this by joining me in that peaceful and calm place, and for a while we are joined in a glorious communion of horse, human and nature. This state of being begins to trickle down into all other aspects of our interactions with horses, bringing a calm place that we can always return to. We begin to carry that tranquility in our bodies, in our beings. And our horses learn that when they are with us we are a source of safety, harmony and contentment.
I have found over time that many horses will begin to invite me in their own way for me to join them in meditation at various times, or to indicate where they would like me to join them. I have been meditating with one horse and looked up to find the whole herd standing at the fence joining in. I've had my horses take me to the neighbour’s fence so their friends can share this joy with them. Meditating with horses always makes me feel incredible but when they start inviting you into these intimate moments it is a truly glorious feeling to which words just can’t do justice. It is a truly remarkable touching and humbling experience. It’s absolutely magical.
In the time that I’ve been practicing Liberty Foundations I've been blessed by having the opportunity to work with a number of horses. Through meditating with them each one has touched me on an incredibly deep and intimate level. This has allowed me to begin to heal myself in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I've worked with meditation for years, and although I knew all the theory behind mindfulness and breath control, I struggled to put it into practice. Funny enough though, when I started to do it with my horses it was easy, I wasn’t doing it for me, I was doing it for my horses. Before I knew it I was noticing the impact it had not only on the horses but also on me. When I’m in that quiet place with the horses my emotions, fears and past just aren’t as scary and are able to flow. I don’t have to explain or stay stuck in my emotions. Things I’ve carried for years just don’t seem to matter anymore. Fear and worry are replaced with joy tranquility and love. My body and mind have now learnt that they are free to feel and experience without fear. I have found my own piece of heaven. And in finding that with the horses I’ve had the privilege of working with I have forever changed for the better, illness no longer controls me, it just is. It is through offering this freedom to my horses that I (unknowingly at first) have also given it to myself.
I have also found that just as mediation with horses has helped me deal with trauma it also helps horses who have experienced trauma to heal themselves. It allows them time and space while in human company to process and release their fears, learning that people can be a place of safety and contentment. As this happens their behaviours begin to change; they soften and open up, they begin to enjoy interacting with people again. Seeing this is just mind-blowing, humbling and inspiring.
By offering to your horses the opportunity to meditate together, offering the gift of time spent just being together and not asking or doing anything, you allow them to be themselves without pressure or expectation. You begin to open yourself up to the pure joy that being together in harmony and at liberty can bring into your life.
Even if you’re only going to your horse to feed them for the day, gift them and yourself by allowing just a bit of extra time to sit with them in quiet meditation. I promise you won’t regret it and the rewards will be huge!
Watch for the next class in October!
Come learn Native American and Old West traditions in a ‘new’ way of liberty training that is as old as the time horses and the ‘first people’ came together in the American West.
Invest now in the magic that can happen when you train the Liberty Foundations way with Free Horses! No restraints are used -- your horse becomes a willing participant.
Your Online Class will include a private online Classroom with lessons, photos and video teaching planned for your best understanding of building an amazing bond with your horse! Four Webinars will give you personal teaching with Ruella, sharing with your classmates in a friendly atmosphere, and ample opportunity for Q & A. During each 8-week class, you will have full access to Ruella by email or phone and a private Liberty Foundations Club on Facebook for needed explanations and questions.
The cost is 300.00, which you may pay by credit card at the PayPal button on the Home page. Reserve your spot now, as the class size is limited. Two Webinar times will be offered on alternating Tuesdays: 12:00 noon and 7:00 p.m. Central US Time. The 12:00 p.m. class is popular with European students, as that time is in the evening there; The evening class is popular in Australia and Japan, as it's in the late morning there Questions? Please email Ruella at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ruella is a member of the Independent Liberty Trainers Network Worldwide. Please listen to her interview by HorseConscious about Liberty Foundations, on the Home page.
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