Between Horse and Human

By: Deb Kitchenmaster

What do you think it takes to understand and help a horse? For starters you learn to recognize and appreciate the uniqueness of each animal. When a human approaches an animal with the grace of acceptance and the assurance of the true worth of the animal, the animal knows that. It’s all about energy, intention, and attitude. These exchanges between human and horse are recognizable to observers as communication and understanding flow from human to horse and horse to human. It really is a masterpiece — challenging to explain. But it is REAL. More times than not, it is easier for man to communicate with the horses than it is for him to communicate his thoughts and feelings about the horses with the humans. Sometimes it is hard to find the words.

As you continue being with your horse, your ability to recognize and meet your horse’s needs grows. And along with that, your awareness of how much there is to learn. Look to other horse people for advice and encouragement so you can enjoy your horse more and you can pass it along when someone comes to you for such. You see, your horse is teaching you all the time. When you learn something from a horse and someone asks you what book you got that from, you usually (unless you did get that from a book) have a pause and respond that you don’t guess you read that from a book, but your horse taught you that. Brace yourself; faces have some of the funniest expressions. Communication between horse and human is not something that can be handed to someone. It has to be learned. It has to come from the inside of a person and the inside of a horse.

Horses naturally have tremendous faith in the human being. It is their natural instinct of self-preservation that the person needs to understand in order to gain the confidence of the horse. What beauty, absolute breathtaking, when a person can present himself or herself in a way that is understandable to the horse. The horse then tells you what is going on within himself. When a human thinks of a horse AS A HORSE, connection begins. Now this may seem silly to some, but seriously, some people think of horses as dogs or humans. Did you know that? If this one remark gets your attention enough to do some personal inventory, this writing has been worth your time. When you see a horse as a horse, you are seeing what he is and his potential.

Last month I wrote about EMOTIONS. This month I want to touch base with you on FEELING. Horses are amazing therapists when it comes to both these arenas of life. I was taking English riding lessons and my instructor would ask me this one question from time to time — “Do you feel that?” What she was referring to is the FEEL that comes when timing and balance synchronize. It’s awesome. There actually is a NOW moment when you and your horse are in that time/balance zone. This is what you hope to build on and go forward with. The older I get, it seems to me, more and more people tend to have so little feel of the whole horse. A horse knows when a fly lands on his back! Do we not think the horse feels our hands, feet, heels, butt, back, shoulders, spine, fingers, wrists, neck, and our eyes? They do. What about us? Do we FEEL their shoulders, back, hips, legs, neck, head, and tail? This is what BETWEEN HORSE AND HUMAN is all about; FEEL THE WHOLE HORSE.

To tie this up, the human needs to recognize the horse’s need for self-preservation in Mind, Body and, the third factor, Spirit. The person’s approach can assure the horse that he can have his self-preservation and still respond to what the person is asking him to do. This recognition is going to be a useful thing to both the human and the horse.