Horses are the same as people if it comes to character. I know you don’t agree with me. Because a horse is a horse and a human is a human with different origin. But as many horses you have, they all have a different character. A horse is not just a horse that you can treat all equal if you think you know about horses. Look at people, do you want to be treated the same as all the people? Why you have friends, while with others you never want to be friends. It’s the same with horses, every single one needs another treatment and you have to find the users-guide of every horse. It is a challenge for a human to understand what type of horse you have in front of you or is given you to you to ride a tour on horseback.
Still, most stables teach you only the technique to ride a horse. Of course you need some skills to know how to ride a horse. Most of the time there is no lesson about the feelings of the horse. He just needs to do what is taught to you. Many see a horse as an instrument that has to do all the tricks you want him or her to do.
If I tell you to forget all about the techniques you have learned, to approach a horse as if it’s the first time you see him? To forget all your thoughts what you want to teach him and what you want to do with him. Just make acquaintance and ask him how he is doing. Sit with him as if you sit with friends. I bet you will see a complete different horse in front of you. Curious about you, while you are in the same time curious about him. What he will do, will he come to you or ignore you? Will he look at you, trying to catch your attention or will he continue to find something to eat? Will he come to you or going further away from you?
Keep in mind that a horse is a very sensitive animal, he can feel your emotions. This skill is better developed then with human. He can feel the state you are in. If you’ve had a fight with your boyfriend before you came to him, if you just had a difficult exam to pass, if you’re happy. He can even feel if you feel obliged to visit him to make the ride just for giving him some exercise while you actually prefer to do other things, or have not enough time because you planned a meeting afterwards. Never seen that when you’re in a hurry, nothing will work out as usual? Taking more time to catch him, taking him from his stable while he is not supportive.
Your horse your victor?
On emotional and intuition level a horse is our victor. As we are occupied with our daily things, plans for the future, being good at ruminating the past, your horse is only living in the here and now. What was yesterday is past. What tomorrow will bring is not yet important because he doesn’t know if there will be a next day. While, for humans it is so difficult just to live in the moment. With a time-ticking clock on the watch and on the phone. Thoughts wandering from what to have for dinner afterwards, not to forget to make that phone call. Remembering the day at work and the conflicts with colleagues or clients. Our thoughts are always somewhere as if they never have a pause, while your horse see this happening. Your thoughts are not with him and he starts to play with you. You start to be angry because you only came there to be with him. But still are not with him.
A horse is a prey animal. For him it is a question of life and dead if he is not aware of his environment. He can feel who is in his neighborhood, if this animal or human is good or not. In a fraction of a second he needs to be ready to flee to have a chance to survive. The danger does not even need to be close by to make this decision. They’re not discussing with each other first if it is necessary to flee or to stay. If one starts to move, the whole herd will follow immediately, even if they don’t know the reason.
Do we need those skills of a horse? Yes and no. Most people live a safe life, but there are still too many who are not sure there will be a tomorrow. Caused by war or natural disasters. Why I’m telling this? Because we can learn many skills from our horses, the important surviving skills, lost in evolution and in comfortable life. Too many human live under pressure of daily life, have a feeling they have lost the way, their base, the meaning of their exsistence. Stressed by the norm that if you’re successful, you will have a nice house, good work (which you not like too much) with a corresponding salary, a family (that you want to give a good life) and many friends who are only your friends because they live the same lifestyle. And one day you realize that it is not your norm anymore because your spiritual and emotional life are not in balance anymore. So you start searching, where did you lose the connection with your self. How many people have at this moment a depression, a burn-out, physical illness, taking many medicines to ignore the real meaning of the cause of being ill. Living daily life seems too difficult as your mind, emotions, illness it taking you back in what you are obliged to your self to do.
Once, you have fallen in love with a horse you will notice they can be real friends. I’ve gone through all this and found myself back through the wisdom of horses. There were times in my life I trusted more on horses than on humans. They never let me down. Now, when I take horseback riders into the desert on our horses, you will get involved with this approach. Forgetting all techniques you’ve learned to become one with a horse. You and your horse are always a team together. Understanding each other will help you to grow to being a better rider. With respect to each other, to form a bond together. I’ve seen the progress of riders through this approach. While you’re busy to teach a new technique in riding and the horse is not responding while you know you do everything right as is taught to you. You start to be disappointed because you don’t know why your horse is not doing where you ask for. You see yourself struggling again and again, sometimes leading to a blockage because you’re occupied with negative thoughts already before stepping on the horse. There is way to overcome this. Without teaching anything to your horse, based on trust of each other.
The approach I’m talking about doesn’t have a name nor following a school in horsemanship. It just appeared naturally by listening to the horses. My colleague, Bedouin Abdullah Alzwaydeh and me are both working the same with the horses. Through listening what they have to tell us, keeping them in their value as a horse, being a friend with them, becoming part of their existing herd. Without giving them any human characteristics. Just observe them how they behave with each other and with us. In the vast nature of the desert where the sun is rising in the morning and setting in the evening. Where time is not important. Just be in the rhythm of the desert with your horse.
Your personal present is stillness in the mind and the whispers of your heart. To make acquaintance with your pure self.
Read more on: Desert retreat with horses
I’m writing a book now about my desert life in Jordan. With many more stories(Dutch) , check it on the fb page: Een leven in de woestijn.