"Horse Sense and the Human Heart""What Horses Can Teach Us About
The following excerpts from this highly recommended 1997 book,
Horse Sense and the Human Heart,
are for your enjoyment and inspiration:
Only in modern times have animals been physically and spiritually segregated from humans.
Reverence, admiration, and deep appreciation for horses usually signal a reemerging cultural and spiritual renaissance. Like fine wine, art and music, a passion for horses has often ushered in a revival of the sacred esthetic traditions. Horses act as larger-than-life-size mirrors, reflecting back to us the totality of who we are, complete with light and shadows. Training a horse is all patience and heart, not intellect or force. Understanding comes from the heart, not the head. Training becomes a test for the trainer and in reality reveals more about the trainer than the horse. If we want to learn about our dark side, this is the test.
Since we can communicate with horses in a multitude of ways -- mentally, physically, and through extrasensory perception, visualization and telepathy --
these alternate avenues work. Good trainers take this for granted and know that training continues in or out of the saddle, even during sleep and in dreams.
Karl König wrote that the horse's movement affects us in a way similar to a musical instrument. "Is not the horse's body comparable to a musical instrument on which movement plays its rhythms and melodies? ... If any melody is to sound through this rhythmic locomotion, a man must mount the horse. As soon as this happens, gait and direction -- under the rider's control -- can become melodically effective. Now the frontal plane passes through the human being, joining rider and horse together; the two have become a unit. The horse gives the rhythm, the man the melody, and together they become a harmo-nious musical entity. This is one of the numerous secrets of the joy in riding: man and animal together become music--music that can be experienced." (Karl König: Elephants, Bears, Horses, Cats and Dogs)
Jose Risso Montes, a Peruvian caballero and international judge and trainer specializing in Peruvian horses, also concurs with this esoteric philosophy. He maintains that to ride properly and artistically, riders must get out of their intellects and only ride with their hearts and souls. We all agree on the vital importance of interior riding and training. Riding with passion, with the interior self, is the path to mysticism. Passion springs from an innate energy, known simply to most of us as the will to live, and originates from our basic survival instincts. This pulse of life not only sustains us but, property nurtured, can metamorphose into heightened activity, animation, and an indescribable sense of vibrancy. Experiencing passion keeps us from developing tunnel vision.
To become a centaur, we advance farther on the spiritual road. We no longer experience distance. Two distinct and separate beings join and become one. There is no differentiation between human and horse: we are the dancer and the dance. No one ever really masters "the dance," but they begin to feel the music of nature. Nonetheless, experiences of this kind with horses allow us to enter their circle of light.
If the rider manages to achieve this oneness with the horse, in the beginning it is typically a fleeting but indelible experience. Suspending intellect is what allows a human mind to unite with the mind of a horse and to enter the realm of pure feeling. To begin the meta-morphosis, riders must feel secure enough, both mentally and physically, to stop imposing their will. Trusting the horse is crucial and sparks intimacy. When trust occurs at this level, our human-made fears disappear and the horse responds lovingly with great elation. The love and unity are art. What often demarcates such a union is that fruits of the relationship become luminous.
On a horse, letting go must have a mental and spiritual component. Everything you do must be done with pure intentions, free from malice, and in the spirit
of complete love, trust, and confidence. This is when telepathic communication begins. The merging begins with an inner feeling of complete peace. As we relax our human defenses, becoming less vigilant, our senses become more acute. Everything around us becomes heightened. We become more sensitive to the various aspects of the experience, such as the sound of the horses' hooves hitting the ground, their muscle movement, their breathing. We begin to meditate on the inner energy of the horse. We begin to meld with the horse by waves of sensation. Nonetheless, we can still find remnants of our intellectual process as we feel our seat in the saddle and our legs on the flanks of the animal. However as we go deeper into the unconscious we feel our seat, hipbones, and legs being absorbed into the body of the horse. Interestingly, the last to go is usually our hands because they are the human symbol of mastery, control, conquest, domination and power. Finally, we are out of our body and we are in the horse. Our mind is in its mind, and we are one. The entity we have created explodes with creativity. This leaves us in a state of pure feeling. The Greek word for this is extsasis, meaning "to get outside of oneself," to free oneself from the shackles of rationality. According to John Sanford, due to the confines of our ego, we rely predominantly on our five senses for knowledge and adhere to fact. Logic has its advantages, but if the soul never gets a respite, it feels imprisoned.