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The Project:

Horses from many walks of life, communication through body language, tools used only for safety, never to train.


The Goal:

To discover how far Equestrian Art can be developed solely using body language.


Unapologetically Happy

When was the last time you were completely and totally unapologetically happy?


For me it happens in the early mornings as I am walking out to see the herd of horses. The fog is slowly lifting and sunlight is filtering through, bringing us all into the bright sunny day ahead.


For me, the more deeply I feel I know and understand the horses, the better I can find my place among them and the richer that happiness feels.


A couple of weeks ago I set myself a weekly challenge to spend eight hours in a single day with one horse. I started “The Eight Hour Challenge” with Cleo who I know well. Then the second week I continued, “Playing with the Foundations of FBT”. I did this with a horse that belongs to a friend of mine; this horse Lily has deeply fascinated me for a long time.


This week it was time for me to return back to my roots and the horse that started it all: Myrnah.


Here is the funny thing about me, I feel like I need to earn my happiness, and work at increasing it perpetually. I fully believe everything in life waxes and wanes in natural cycles and we get more of what we pay attention to.


If I want more happiness in my life, I need to pay attention to the things that foster happiness.


Connection with Myrnah was my focus for eight hours on this beautiful day in August, however I wasn’t going to do it the easy way, I was in deep for learning!


When Myrnah and I are close together or touching our connection feels effortless and her focus changes are so fluid and easy as she does whatever it is we are doing together.


When I am farther away Myrnah seems to ignore me completely and while it doesn’t feel like she is overtly pushing to get closer to me, or trying to get away from me, I often find myself somewhere completely different than I had intended to be and I was never quite sure how that happened. On this day I was determined to practice this thing I wasn’t good at!


I would stand in flow with Myrnah about twenty feet away, watching her with my peripheral vision to see any changes of focus that would signal me to move slightly to my new place of harmony with her. When she walked I would do my best to walk with her holding my relationship in space with her… yet somehow I found myself on her right shoulder about six feet away over and over again. It was funnier than anything to see how deftly Myrnah put me where she liked me.


I persevered and kept using my supportive leadership and walking to find my distance flow again. After a particularly good stretch of harmony, I would relent and drift in closer to that six foot distance or touching that Myrnah and I love so much. Then when I could I would drift back out to the challenging distance again. I walked and walked and walked all day struggling to establish distance, and while Myrnah didn’t seem to object, she certainly didn’t make it easy for me to do.


As I watched throughout the day (one hour in the early morning, and then seven more hours in the afternoon and evening) I saw how much more social Myrnah is than most horses. She drifts around the herd in continuous close partnership with one horse partner after the next and she LOVES her friends. The interesting thing is she particularly loves a friend who will push her a little. When a horse would approach with pinned ears and a nod of their nose, Myrnah would pin her ears too and grumpily move her feet to accommodate their push… and then the two of them would settle, staying in perfect flow with feet matching stride for stride, step for step for ages. It was like the push was the glue that stuck them together, and that togetherness brought Myrnah so much peace and contentment.


Now, I had taken the task on of being her partner passively and supportively with as much distance as possible, and since there was no push between us it also felt like there was no glue. I didn’t feel unwelcome, but I felt completely unnecessary to Myrnah in this endurance day of partnership.

I persevered, because I really felt like there was something important for me to learn from this.


I watched and mirrored, and found new places of harmony on the thinking moments I saw in Myrnah. When she did not let me hold my chosen place of harmony I walked and walked and walked until I saw a thinking moment that might yield better success for us feeling the flow together.


By the end of the day I felt more connected to Myrnah than I have in a long time.


It was perhaps one of the most challenging eight hours I have ever spent with a horse. I could see how perpetually happy Myrnah was all day with all her various friends, and I only seemed to make the friend list if I was close enough to touch her. I wanted more connection with her than that; I wanted to mean more to her than everyone else seemed to! I had to laugh at myself as I realized I was in that trap of wanting what I wanted when I wanted it! That wild streak in me needed to be tamed and I needed to show up and pay attention to building what I wanted, one small success at a time.


When I walked out into the early morning fog to see her the next morning that unapologetic happiness for us seemed deeper and cleaner than ever before and I think it wasn’t only me, it seemed deeper for her too.


I am eternally grateful for everything Myrnah has taught me, and continues to teach me. Connection with her is my unapologetic happiness.


What is your source of unapologetic happiness? What would you do to foster it and let it grow?


Hooves and Heartbeats,


(for those of you who get this by email, click on the title at the top to see the video on the blog site)

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