Horse Whispering – Preparation H

By: Deb Kitcnenmaster
Preparation for a 9,000 mile tour was underway. Map, dates, specific connections were being made as a dear friend, Brian, who I met twenty-seven years ago and haven’t seen for 25 of those years, was getting ready to leave Canada and come to the United States. He was going to be involved in an event known as the Awaken Life Tour, 2017. Brian attended Christ for the Nations in Dallas, Texas, the same year my daughter was a student; that’s how we met. Interestingly enough, he is a rapper! Last year he was recording another album and one of the raps brought me to his heart. Silence was broken and a simple phone call reconnected us.

As perfect, unfailing love was tapping out unforced rhythms for each mile of this tour, our presence, our home, and our horses became part of the preparedness. What a joy and a delight to see Brain again, and meet his wife and two beautiful daughters! Their first visit was after they left Arkansas, and their second visit was when they returned from Florida. Each time we enjoyed horse activities.

The youngest daughter is a confident, enthusiastic horse lover with some understanding and limited experience with horses. Groundwork was a new experience and reading a horse’s body language was an entirely novel way of connecting with a horse for this young lover of horses. What was interesting to witness was the outgoing, almost demanding personality of this nine-year-old become respectful once she was in the round pen with her horse. She became attentive and willing to receive feedback from her horse. Confidence is being willing to try, becoming sure of what you’re doing, learning from mistakes, and functioning with an absence of fear. When confidence grows after showing up again and again, being with your horse, demanding is replaced with leading. It’s a process.

As you can imagine, the preparation that was required to tour 9,000 miles took time, focus, and communication. It’s very much like the preparation that takes place when you connect a human with a horse. When you’re traveling that distance, you want to set yourself up for success. Check tires, oil, fluids in your motor home; clothing; food; and water for the journey. When connecting with a horse, you want to set your horse and yourself up for success by doing the following three things:

  • Learn how to read your horse properly. It is here I will talk about the horse’s ears, swishing of the tail, the eyes, head set; things like that.
  • Know how to respond to your horse. Is my horse scared or defiant? Do I smack or do I rub? Am I to be firm or friendly?
  • Utilize equine psychology, as it is an important tool. Simply put, is my horse responding to me because I am making him or because the horse wants to?

What about you? Do you realize there is a preparation involved in learning? Ninety percent of people quit their goals before ever achieving them because of not liking what they “feel.” Many people “want it” but few people “get it.” It’s not about them or the program, it’s a lack of understanding how we learn. We ALL have a comfort zone. It’s a zone where we feel normal and neutral because there aren’t any challenges and we are comfortable. However, all learning occurs outside this zone. It’s my responsibility to step outside my comfort zone, and when I do, to pay attention to what I’m feeling.

Two magnificent opportunities open wide to me when I choose to do so. I become aware when I have a physical sensation of discomfort, which is accompanied by internal rumination. I have to ask myself, “What am I doing?” or, “Am I having a headache, a tummy ache, difficulty focusing; is my heart racing or my palms sweating?” And isn’t it amazing that out of all the names Abba Father could give for the Holy Spirit, it is The Comforter! Almighty God knew we would be uncomfortable in our lives and Comforter would simply make sense. What a great opportunity to build an enjoyable relationship with the Holy Spirit; the exact same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead.

Go ahead, receive comfort from the Holy Spirit as you step out of your comfort zone onto the edge of learning. Once you get there, feel the sensation and stay long enough to give your brain and your body a chance to occupy this new position. Discomfort can change in one of three ways: 1. It can be neutralized, with the result being a sense of well-being. 2. It can be changed to a completely different emotion. Fear/anxiety can become confidence/courage. 3. It can stay, but not control us. An example would be public speaking, which brings discomfort right up to approaching the microphone. We learn to cope with it and do it anyway!

It all comes down to using a lot of Preparation “H,” and “H” stands for horses!