Archive for the ‘Horses’ Category

Control
Verb
a) to exercise restraining or directing influence over.
b) to have power over

We take the word control for granted most of the time.  We believe we control our time, our work, the direction of our lives.  At times we attempt to control other people, our children and circumstance.  We use terms and phrases like quality control, control variables, controllers, and self control as ways we can express how we exert power over things.

On an unconscious level control, or perceived control, can play into how we feel about our life and the world.  Take expectations for example, the energy associated with the word expectation, added to this unconscious idea of control, can make us feel like victims of circumstance.  The very word expectation implies that we have control not only of ourselves, but of other people, environments and circumstances.  It makes us believe that a plan will always go perfectly, and when it doesn’t we are frustrated at best or compete failures at worst. With expectations we either get what we plan and move on ignoring our great luck, or the day is a complete wash (disaster) because it didn’t work out as we expected.

A better choice when planning and executing is to have the energy of intentions instead of expectations.  Intentions give us a map to follow to get to a goal, but unlike expectations, detours are allowed.   When we do things from an  energy of intention we are super happy when things work out perfectly.  With intentions we know we only have control over ourselves and that many variables must fall into place to be successful. When things don’t work out perfectly, we are open to modifications to reach our end goal and we are entertained by the adventure.  With intentions we really enjoy and appreciate when things work out perfectly and when they don’t we enjoy the ride.  In making this small choice of energy (intention over Expectation) we find more satisfaction with our day and our choices.

Real life example:

I was getting some family and professional photos taken with my horses and I decided it would be fun to get a photo of me meditating on the butt of a free (no ropes, no saddle, no nothing for control) horse.

The Goal: photo, horse free in the pasture, me on horses butt cross legged, meditating.

If I use expectation: I’m assuming control of the environment, the horse (who I remind you I want completely free), the photographer, the weather, other horses, my hair, my clean cloths… you get the point.  I may even think that, since I’ve trained my horse well and I’m a good rider and the photographer is a professional we can pull this off fairly quickly.  I may expect I jump on and BAM picture perfect.

I may even test to make sure my horse will let me sit on her butt.  If the test works my expectations might be even higher.

This, perfect, picture was taken while I was testing to see if it was even possible.
Thank goodness I’m not an expectation girl.

Things of course don’t always go as planned with horses, I think they enjoy playing with us if we have expectations (yes, I’m anthropomorphizing my horse).  Expectations are a bad plan especially with so many variables including a very playful and mischievous horse.

Luckily I went in with intentions, not expectations.  Here is what happened.

First few attempts she wouldn’t stand still.  So I moved to physical control.

Of course when I let her go she walked off

That’s cool, I can flow with that.  And we got a great picture when she stopped, except….

Horse butt in the background.  Grrr. 

So I went back to basics.  I wasn’t going to try and control her as much.  I was going to put her in an area I liked and wiggle on her back, while she is free until she stands still.

 

This worked because this is what she knows.  It’s how I trained her in the first place

 

And finally, with patience and humor we get the perfect shot.

Here is the takeaway.  We can’t control everything, nor should we try. We can only control ourselves and the way we decide to be in our world.  We can make plans, they can be really good and sometimes they work out perfectly!  Instead of expecting perfect to happen,  really celebrate and enjoy those times. If you think about it, those perfect plans are really hard to create.  Go into your plans with a sense of adventure, with intentions, and enjoy the ride as you create the, sometimes winding, path to your goals.  By controlling what you can, and enjoying the rest you won’t feel like the victim you will have control where it matters most.  In YOU.

Special thanks to Kim Beer at Midnight Productions, inc. For taking all of these really fun photos!

Burrs

What a mess!

My thoughts:

“It’s a beautiful day and I have the time… I need to get out and clean those burrs out of Karmel’s mane, forelock and tail. I’ve avoided the work long enough, and who knows when I’ll find time again. I…hate…BURRS!”

Off to the pasture I go…

As I’m working to clean the burrs out of Karmel’s mane I’m feeling very smart and Zen like because I’m thinking I’m so connected to the process. “Where am I?” I think to myself, “I’m here. Now.” I’m feeling pretty satisfied with myself.

Karmel suddenly stomps his left front hoof on the ground and then puts his nose to his hoof.

I stop and look… No bugs… I shrug and I’m back to my work and the thoughts that go with it. “So meditative! This is a great exercise I should do this more often, I love these active meditations… Maybe I should write something… What a good old horse… I wonder if we are going hiking this weekend…?”

Maybe 30 seconds later another stomp and the nose… again I shrug it off, “random fly”.

*More thoughts*

He does it again and I only half notice because my mind is babbling along again about how meditative this activity is and how present I feel.

Suddenly a big horse head bumps into me and I take a half step back. My mind stops… then one word “Ground”! It’s as if Karmel actually spoke it to me even though I know it was merely me becoming present for the first time all day.

After the head bump I’m awake and present. Finally, REALLY present.

I realize he’s been letting me know that I’ve been in my head and not at all with him this whole time. I take a deep breath and start to ground.

I feel my feet firmly on the ground next to his big, beautiful hooves. I note there’s a lot of weight in my toes, tension in my quads pulling on my kneecaps, my hips pushed forward and my hands feverishly working on his mane as if getting him clean were a race.

I stop, take another deep breath and correct my body alignment; moving my weight to my heels, relaxing my quads, and overall becoming aware from the tips of my toes to the top of my head.

Karmel takes a big deep breath, rolling his nose as he exhales (If you can imagine a big inhale followed by a low cat purr sound, that’s what he did).

I follow his lead and take a deep refreshing breath (without the purring) and become instantly present with him.

I slow my pace as I remove the burrs from his mane.

My eyes relax and I notice a pattern to removing the burrs. I can see what’s connected where and how best to remove one burr and then the next. I realize I’m cleaning him at a faster pace, but with slower physical motions. The resistance is gone…

Every now and again my horse teacher takes a big deep breath and I follow suit.

CleanThe thoughts, I didn’t even realize were taking over, subside.

Karmel is noticing my energy, as my mind wanders, and he keeps redirecting my attention over and over.

What a kind, patient teacher.

And then I’m done. He’s clean. And we are here. Now. At least for a moment.

Thank you for the lesson.

horsesMy alarm seemed to go off very early this morning so I hit snooze.  Shortly there after my phone rang.  Turns out my horses decided that today would be the perfect morning to escape their field and storm around the countryside.

As I hurried out to collect them it occurred to me that whenever I spend time with my horses I learn something new about myself. Today, it was the knowledge that when I move with purpose, I move very easily.  In this particular case I had to run down the horses before they disappeared over the horizon!  I bounded over wood fences, dove under barbed-wire fences and sprinted across fields.    All the skills I practice in the park, and all the time I spend playing on the floor with my son has had the intended effect.  When I need a skill in the moment my body is prepared, fluid and capable.  Even more so then I sometimes realize.

When I finally caught up with my very winded herd, they looked at me and seemed to say “See! You CAN run like the wind!” This morning’s adventure made me so happy, it energized my day and gave me a new perspective on my skills and abilities. I so love my herd for that!