Which is the greater feeling? To love? Or to be loved? To receive a gift or to have the joy of giving?

At the heart of all my training is a deep rooted love for the horse. Unconditional love, love that doesn’t depend on reciprocation or performance isn’t always freely accessed. The ability to love requires nurturing. It’s almost like love is a fragile fluttering bird that we release. If we attempt to hold on to even the tiniest part, we risk destroying its ability to fly. When we whole heartedly give flight to the joy of freeing our love, we are truly giving, unconditionally.
The tiniest holding of breath, tension or loss of grounding detrimentally influences our balance and therefore our feel.

Feeling IS emotion. It is my belief that when we talk about using feel in horse training we are talking about our emotional state, from which all balance, physical, mental, spiritual is derived.

Last year I took an eight week course in Mindfulness. One of the many very useful lessons was about non judgement. Not only towards others, but towards ourselves. It got me thinking about how this sits within my role as a horse (and human) trainer. Letting go of our attachment to results is fundamental to the spirit of positive training. Being able to approach a training session with the curiosity of a child, to allow our horses the freedom to offer behaviour, to try things out, to view nothing as a mistake, is very liberating… Both for us, and the horse.

I often tell my clients to view training as an experiment, to be curious about what the results might be, to observe and accept, to be open to the learning.

I believe that learning to train this way is not only enriching for our animals, it is highly enriching, even life changing, for us as individuals. Even if you only work this way as a portion of the interactions that you share with your horse, I would love you to give it a go. Be free of judgement. Be curious and open to learning. Remain soft and relaxed, ready to receive whatever your horse might offer. You might surprise yourself!