Maybe it is possible to work with horses without being a trainer. Perhaps it is truer to say that we are all trainers, leaders and guides for each other. Could it be that the true trainer is the Universe itself, and we are all here to offer our individual gift. A gift which unfolds the whole process of bringing Oneness here fully on earth. The further we enter as a herd into the framework of training the clearer this integration becomes.

The Whole Herd

Some things have been happening recently that have made me realise, not for the first time, that it is possible to see this process with the horses differently. I have moved on from presuming that it is about me training them, and doing that because I want to. Yes I definitely want to!

I love working with them, and although I do enjoy our progress, the love is for the connection itself. The connection that exists in everything we do together. The connection which also manifests itself in different ways. What we have when we are training feels like a seam of gold that we are discovering. And we are uncovering it together.

The horses are not the trainers either. Please forgive the word trainer if it bothers you, it bothers me a little too. The association with ego, dominance and control. But even exchanging it for leader or teacher or guide makes no difference. I don’t decide what we do.

We are unfolding a process together in which we are all equally engaged. We are uncovering issues, limitations, patterns, that need to be acknowledged, supported and released before we move into the next part of the process.

The point being that the process itself is not coming from my agenda, or any of our individual influences. Does it come from the whole herd? from the whole equestrian community, or from the Universe itself? I don’t know that, but I do know that no individual is at the helm. Which makes sense of course, as individuals don’t exist in the real, (energetic) world. 

I mentioned last time that it seems that every session we do individually ripples out and alters the whole herd. This is becoming so clear. Each of us has our part to play, our own separations and attachments to being coming out into the light.

Quaramba was not choosing to go out, day after day she said no quite clearly, and we accepted that. After a while, however, this felt misaligned. I could sense that she wanted more, and she needed help with it.

So we stood together and held ourselves, and she reminded me, in the energetic sense, by channeling it through to me, of a consuming, chaotic fear within her. My human mind jumped straight to the panic attacks she had begun to have in the arena before we came here. She is a deeply sensitive horse, and although she has experienced very little of our turbulent and demanding world, some things, particularly the inability to escape, will trigger a profound panic for her.

It doesn’t matter whether this is from her foal hood or past lives, we just needed to embrace it, allow it and watch it drain away. It is interesting to note that the engagement work we had been doing in the arena had allowed the unseen fear to surface. Even though she was so tranquil in her behaviour.

I am not the Trainer

After a while, when we had let this release process itself fully, there was a different form of reluctance when I felt ready to ask her again if she wanted to work together. She wanted to go, but she didn’t want to. And this is where it becomes so clear that there are no set rules about reading horse behaviour.

What you should and should not do, depending on what signals horses show you or not. It goes deeper than all of that. The only reliable source of information you have is your relationship itself. The unconditional love you feel, the willingness to be unattached, the strength of your bond. That is how you know. It is profoundly individual, and as such beyond all arbitrary technique and experience. 

At this stage, in this moment, between us, I knew that we were ready, she was ready, and although she acted reluctant, underneath she is deeply committed to this thread we are mining together. To have accepted her at face value would have disappointed her. Putting the cavesson on was a grounding exercise for both of us. We were focused and feeling into the deeper truth. Revisiting the previous turn of the spiral where there had been fear and confusion in our lives, coming back to it with compassion and acceptance. 

When I invited her to walk with me she came easily, yet she wanted to pause for some grazing, to prepare herself it seemed. There was a sense that we were going up a level, and also a feeling of some limitation surrounding her, like a plastic bag. There was willingness too… the engagement felt connected, lively and responsive and yet there was this undercurrent.

It came into my mind, to help her, to create a bridge. So I showed her by trotting myself and then she broke through. More easily than we had felt it might be, and then afterwards she chose herself to create such a beautiful trot. It was such a breakthrough for her, because going up a gear entrains the fear of losing control. Triggering all of her associations with escaping and fleeing, and the panic that submerges her is all mixed up together.

I could feel how crucial it is and will be to go with this carefully, moment by moment, unfolding each wrinkle in the present moment.  We were so happy and she was so transported by this that she wanted to stay at the arena gate for a long time, touching it, feeling the situation… the openness of the gate…and then she grazed for a long time before we returned to the herd. 

This process, this energetic pattern that has arisen is so vast, and it touches all horses. It simmers beneath, and is often avoided or dulled by circumstances. It is also challenged, fought and suppressed. Can it be allowed, this marvellous capacity to charge up and flee, so wildly, so joyously? Is it possible for us to embrace this vibration of escape so fully that it can exist, and transform, and transport us into a new place of grace, of wilful expression, free from the chains that fear this power? I don’t know, but this trot was our latest beginning. 

We spent some time familiarising and engaging with the fly bonnet. I am aware that in this delicate time, we need to acknowledge and allow every little part of the process to be heard.

This is the way to anchor into the present moment, and avoid conditioning and associations which might grow like pathogenic bacteria. The next time we went out Quaramba performed another dramatic trot, almost two circles, on the right rein this time. It was beautiful, and yet it was still untouchable. It was her idea, and under her control. This feels so important, that she is inspired to move, to act, to discover herself, and yet she cannot allow it to be influenced by more than my supporting presence. My influence may be balancing and appreciating, not exploiting and controlling, but so far she has not allowed me to fully show her that. This feels good, it feels organic, that our wellbeing dialogue is functioning. That every part of our communication is allowed to unfold fully. 

Yesterday when I worked with Honey I started to realise how deeply this web of process is working. It is not only Quaramba in this turn of the spiral, we all are, and Honey in her own way is engaging her part. We had done a trim the day before and I thought she might prefer not to go out, yet she kept just being there, even after Cheyenne and Aimée were taking attention away. The last time we worked together we were still focusing on creating a freer engagement, allowing the movement to find its way through, like soaking a lump of earth in warm rain. This day she had a different energy from the start, intentional… and it seemed clear that she also wanted to make the breakthrough into trot! 

The last time we spiralled this way, a few years ago now, we had a weaker partnership, and she was quite irritable about doing this. I was exploring therapeutic aiding as opposed to pressure guided by results, but as a herd we were not in a very stable place. Now it felt like the irritability that surfaced was just a skin, and there was a deeper power, just as with Quaramba, an undercurrent that was ready to express itself. I could feel the nature of this process, so far beyond me and my individual ideas, so exciting to be a part of, a collaborator and not an instigator. A fellow student, not a trainer.

 I am not the Trainer

Afterwards, when Honey wanted to stay in the arena for twenty minutes, just being together, the message, keep going, believe in this, was so strong. Not necessarily believe in the trotting, and the expression of it, but the voice itself that connects us all together, because that voice is the knowledge that we are not separated here.

We are all experiencing each part of our own integration process. In listening to that, and not what appears to be something on the surface, we will return fully to the true expression of our individuality, which can only exist within the certainty of the whole.

6 thoughts on “I Am Not The Trainer”

  1. Amazing. Quite different from the ‘usual’ ! I am find with Jasmine that she is taking over the relationship. She is choosing to interact with me since I am no longer thinking in terms of training her.


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