Once upon a time, the world was HUGE. Getting from one place to another took ages and here in Oz, it also took several gerry cans off petrol and several spare tyres. Long distance phone-calls were exciting, rare events that had us dashing to the phone to talk to a distant friend or loved one and we marveled at how well we could hear them…..even though they really did sound like they were on the other side of the world. Snail-mail was also exciting as it brought letters and news and newspaper clippings, and this wonder-of-the-modern-age was something we benefited from 5 days a week! We had 5 whole TV stations to tune into, that brought us much edited and censored news and info and heaven for bid we somehow managed to survive without mobile phones or computers! And we had to actually go to the bank and the shops! Good grief!
Don’t get me wrong, I love technology and living in our new world of ease, access and availability. It means I can live and work where I choose because I love it here, but still get what I need from anywhere in the world. How cool is that!
Trouble is though, that now, things are so easy to get, so available and we have so many options, it can be incredibly confusing trying to decide what, when and who. And I don’t just mean “shall I have the double espresso or the latte” kind of decisions either.
Take horsemanship for example. It seems every man, woman and their dog have something to share and show these days. The magic answer, the perfect video, the one and only training tool or tips you can’t possibly do without. And this is great. It means that all day, every day, there is someone out there somewhere who has help, advice, information or products to help just about any horse owner with just about any horse. And I wish good luck to each horse-lover in trying to find the one that best suits them without wasting a lot of time and money.
However!….this is not what I want to talk about today. I’ve been thinking about it a lot though. And even more so recently. Of course, I reckon Quantum Savvy is the best pathway to success with horses that there is…..I sure know it works! But there is so much more to sift through and choose from. Even if you’re not actively looking, one way or another some horse trainer, horseman or coach, is going to cross your path. So my thoughts have been, how on earth do people choose? To borrow a phrase, how do horse owners choose sh#t from shinola (shoe polish). We’re inundated with it until it is overwhelming and we’re left drowning in a sea of methods, terminology, opinions and advice. So what do we do?
Like I said, it has made me think a lot about this conundrum. And one thing it really made me do, was take a good look at what I do, and why. The message I am trying so hard to get across and the legacy I’d like to leave. I feel I really have something important and valid to say and to share, but how do others know? What am I really trying to achieve with my life’s work; what is it that I feel so desperately in need of getting across to people?
Now, this much I do know, for I have been trying to spread my message for more than 20 years. I’ve traveled Oz and OS many times, to share my thoughts, discoveries and ideas with horse owners in many countries. And I figure I’ll keep doing it as long as there is breath in my body. And that is, that until we learn to keep it simple, until we put our ego aside and step back and really listen to our horses, until we stop trying to make things hard for them and blaming them when things don’t go right and instead take responsibility for everything our horses do, true horsemanship will escape us.
To this day, there are very few people at any level and I include the world’s ‘top’ equestrians and trainers in this, who really ‘get’ horses. Who understand the fundamental concept that we have to stop trying to get our horses to submit to our will, stop trying to control, coerce and manipulate them into doing what we want them to do and expecting them to tune in to us. Until we do this we will never learn to tune in to them. To tap into their frequency and really hear them and what they have to say.
A good horseman whether male or female, knows that the only way to be truly great with horses is to do just this….tap into their frequency. To take on board their feedback. To listen, pay attention and take your cue from them. Then and only then, will life between horse and human become as simple, safe, calm and solid as it should be.
We have to stop making things difficult for horses to do the right thing and instead do our very best to help them to be right. Stop the blame, stop the make, stop the silencing of their opinions and instead listen and learn.
Horses are simple. They are kind, fun, playful, intelligent and clever. They can tell us and teach us everything we ever need to learn. If we take our lead from them, they’ll tell us what we need to know; when it’s okay to move on and when it’s not. If you are a good horseman, you’ll know that you need very few ‘tools’, or constraints or any gadgets.
But you do need compassion. For it is what is in your heart that will out in the end. If your heart is filled with thoughts of ownership, dominance, submission or make, this will all manifest itself in the kind of relationship you have with your horse. There is no room for impatience, force, fear or intolerance. And you know, you can say the right words, use the right lingo, be pretty handy with a rope or even be a good rider, but if the intention in your heart is not working in favour of your horse and truly getting the best outcome for their well being, confidence and happiness, they will know. And they’ll express it pretty quickly.
What do you do when your horse tries to tell you something? Do you try to cover it up? Silence it in someway? Strap it in and down or closed so no one else knows? If so, your days are numbered. More and more people are becoming aware of what is going on here. They are understanding that the more ‘stuff’ you use on your horse, the less you really ‘get’ horses. Make no mistake, the gear you use or think is okay, tells the rest of the world way more about you than it does about your poor horse.
So at the end of all my thinking, and all my pondering, I realised one thing. It really doesn’t matter what method, technique or school of thought you use. Because if you have good things in your heart, you’ll always find a way of applying even the worst of ideas and methods, in a good and kind way. And if your heart is filled with make and dominance, you’ll interpret even the kindest of approaches with ideas of advantage and mastery.
So choose at will! I wish you well in your search for whatever works for you and your horse. But remember, in the end, what comes out through your hands will depend on what first comes from your heart.
– Meredith Ransley
Quantum Savvy March 2016