We have a huge, ethical responsibility to ensure that when we ask our horses to release old patterns, come back into their body and allow themselves to open and vulnerable to change that it is safe for them to do so.
This is why, whenever we bring in practitioners of any kind to work with our horses, we need to be an engaged part of that process; that we educate ourselves in the changes that need to be made and ensure that we meet them with lashings of patience, empathy, and support, as well as the required skills to meet them in the moment.
Exactly what we would ask for ourselves in the same situation.
In my work, I’m often fascinated to watch the changes that occur in people’s bodies in real time and the consequent emotional shifts that they make. When the body releases a physical pattern that is no longer serving it, all the emotions and thoughts that live with it rise to the surface also.
Frustration, anger, despair, fear, and concern can all be a part of this. As humans, we can explain the process, gain understanding to soothe our worries, and take active steps to support ourselves.
With our horses, we need to communicate in other ways.
We need to hold our heart in our hands when we touch the lead rope or lay our hands on their bodies.
We need to ensure that they are free to express and cycle through whatever presents without meeting punishment or reprimand.
We need to meet their needs of movement, friends, and forage so the body can allow for greater and greater movements towards vitality.
Of late I’ve stood with some horses whose bodies hold stories of discomfort that humans have put there, and whose minds reside in places other than right here.
And I’ve asked myself, who I am to ask you to be more present, if where you choose to hide is a better place for you to live?
If we’re asking a horse to “come back”, it’s on us to make sure that where they land is a better place than where they left.