"Bad behaviour" is a very very important issue ..... how do we as humans deal with it? Chronic pain is an epidemic in the horse world. I work with horses and humans......and aware, kind, knowledgeable humans who have no clue their horse is in pain. This is often a difficult edge to approach..... Most humans absolutely L O V E their horses! Most humans go to great lengths and expense....spend considerable time and effort to try and ensure the well being of their horses. What happens when we have missed something, and something as important as pain......???
How easy is it to accept our horse has been uncomfortable or in acute pain chronically?? I am often the bearer of the news a horse is in chronic pain and those behavior or training issues they have been working so hard to resolve before they call me in, are simply pain. That anxiety is simply pain.
Sometimes, people just want to get on with working it out, but one of the most common responses I see to this realization is deep shame. A shame that suggests something has been done wrong. As though, the lack of understanding of the horses true state was known all along and ignored. Sometimes people then shut down and can move no further with getting help for their horse. This nervous system response is called freeze......or learned helplessness. It is the same response we often see in horses who are in pain. The human can mirror the horse.
This is one of the points of change we need to achieve a holistic version of equine welfare. There has been little known about pain in horses to this point. Most of the issues do appear as behavior or look like training issues......and most trainers are not trained to identify pain....like most horse humans. I encourage everyone to start looking differently. To open to more awareness, understanding and information....even if it may mean seeing something uncomfortable. We have all been there....unfortunately. Being open to see accurately and honestly is the only way for this change to come around in the welfare of our equine friends.......
There are cycles in all layers of all of creation. This time of year, every year is a deep learning cycle on Earth. It lasts from approximately early September to midish November. It can be quite intense. It is important time to go within and see what you can evolve, as the process of each person counts and adds to a very important potentiality that will be put into "play" by the end of the year. It matters!!
I am going through FB this morning and there is a continuing thread I am seeing in a very different light.....the animal / equine welfare issue. It is absolutely atrocious what happens within the standard practice of animal care, keeping and use, as well as the laws for protection and the use and guidelines of what we call livestock. In Canada at least, horses fall between the cracks being neither livestock nor pets for the most part. Although, the wild horses in Alberta are considered feral and therefore have the same rights as stray dogs.
Our laws and practices of care are defined by the level of consciousness in the collective. The level of consciousness in the collective is defined by the emotional sustainability of the collective. Emotional sustainability is defined by (most generally speaking at this time) the amount of fear (or freedom) each individual in the collective holds. The amount of fear (freedom) each person holds defines the amount of integrity and quality of ethical behaviour they can express. Active expression of fear, or active protection of the fears within each of us (meaning whether or not we actively believe in our fears and are hiding because of them(unconsciously)) is the key piece to enacting or perpetuating all harm, disconnection, poor behaviour, negative thought. It is what fuels the quality of the world we are living in now. It is what causes all of us distress when we look around.
I have been sitting with this for a few days now and the more time I sit with it the more I realise that yes, fear is the underpinning emotion, but learned helplessness (resulting from the fear) is the reason all of this continues. Few of us are actively causing harm to ourselves, others or animals. Learned helplessness is when a person or animal believes fight or flight (both appropriate responses to fear) is futile, so paralysis sets in. Consider this....how do you become paralysed, ineffective, passive in your life and in creating things that are important to you? How do you stop yourself from making true change or living your passion...or even knowing your true passion for that matter? Is your contribution overt or covert? To give this context I will add that one of the things I love about Trump, is that he is exposing much collective shadow by giving covert negativity, a format to expose itself. Without that it can not be healed.
The reason we live in the world we do is because, for the most part we exist within a linear spectrum. Those who enact harm and those who allow it. They are different sides of the same coin. This might seem upsetting to some. But, have you ever watched a homeless person struggle to keep themselves warm and done nothing? Or eaten meat without having looked a cow in the eye, or held a chicken in your arms so you are fully informed about what being a meat eater truly is?
Why am I pointing out and going through such a detailed description of a very negative situation?.....well, we each need to be aware of the points at which we allow ourselves to get caught up, or stuck in this game. It really is just a game or like a puzzle,…collecting pieces, creating a bigger picture,….and then keep moving to discover more.... It is a game of discovery really. Discovering who we TRULY are rather than believing in any limitation we might think is true. Discovery of a benevolent universe, galaxy and planetary system. Discovery of a benevolent earth...and the love for her children. Discovery that Goodness is a foundational principle here, and playing the game to find it is what allows each of us to uncover it in this reality as well as give others an opportunity to find it and experience it. Beauty is the essence behind all creation...harmonious and loving. Truth is an essential right in all of creation. And LOVE is the fabric of our reality and the substance our being and all other beings are made of. Those are the things that are uncovered and integrated in this journey.
Since there is no "done" and since none of us are witnessing the world we truly want as we look around, how can you move to the next level within yourself and add to the work you have already done with all of this? How can you be even MORE of what and who you truly are? It is our interconnectedness that is the dynamic that allows our own personal work, commitment and courage to ripple out and benefit all. Can you commit to being even more courageous and fearless, to contribute and support yourself and others to bring about the benevolent world we all want to live in? A society that loves and cares for all of us. Where we understand the interconnectedness and that we can not cause harm, or act out of ignorance without also harming ourselves. In this world it will be impossible for us to treat animals as we currently do. It becomes impossible for us to act (or not act) in a way that causes/allows harm and suffering to others…..any others. No matter who or what they are. We will be awake and aware.
Something I have really been working with lately is both courage/bravery and fearlessness. It is easy to consider them the same thing, but they are not. Fear is such a deep program within our species, sometimes we begin to believe it is normal and even a necessary part of our lives. But in the form most of us experience it, it is not.
Fear is normal when you are being chased by a lion, or about to slide off a cliff. It is normal if a horse rears or strikes. But, what happens when we experience fear in an inappropriate way. What happens when we choose to stop ourselves from doing things that are important to us, or even things we are passionate about, out of fear? What sort of fear is appropriate when we are talking about living our passion or doing something fun, but seems scary?
I recently saw a poster that said “Would it kill you to try something new?” Just about all of us can laugh about that and say, “of course not”. But, that is exactly the response that many of us have to trying something new, or being different than usual. Being outside the norm and taking on real and deep change. Sometimes even small change.
When I look at these two states of being my own personal definitions look like this………
Courage or bravery is the strength and focus to move through something that is fearful. It is about an inner state to stand solid within yourself no matter what comes. It is about TRUSTING yourself and the Universe.
Fearlessness is the commitment to the absence of fear. It is the commitment that even if fear is there, you will do it anyway. It is the action of the state of being, that is bravery. It is the KNOWING that no matter what, you will be ok. True fearlessness is also deeply wise and connected in with higher information. It is the opposite of recklessness.
Lots of Love
Holistic Equine Welfare - based on the expanded understanding of the equine species from the perspective of being inter dimensional (both physical and energetic) in nature and interconnected with all things in their environment. The species (equine) is one unique element / expression / aspect of the whole (earth / ecosystem). Fundamental in Holistic Equine Welfare, is the principle that all beings have the right to be sovereign. (Whether or not humanity can understand their desires should not be that deciding factor.)
Holistic Equine Welfare is about meeting the absolute needs of the horse. This is only done when care and needs are met based on interconnection and inter-dimensionality. It is about creating a practice for welfare from deep within ourselves. We have a wealth of true and real information that is better than science and observation based horsemanship. Holistic welfare is what happens when we listen to the wisest part of ourselves with humility and curiosity. When we listen to the highest version of our “inner compass”, we create a new standard of welfare. True welfare starts from within deep within ourselves.
Holistic Equine Welfare must include by its very nature the true (and mostly, yet to be understood) nature of the equine species, the interconnectedness of their relationship with the Earth, land, plants, animals and insects, the weather and human relationship. Its foundation is from a deep understanding of things far beyond the eyes ability to see and the ears ability to hear. It includes heart wisdom, and deep and clear intuition, perceiving the complexity and sophistication in the harmonious interconnection of all these things.
Beginning to consider welfare from a holistic perspective, is the first real chance to make advances in our understanding and connection with horses, by understanding and accepting everything that effects their well being, and addressing their needs from there.
Until next time...ox H
It is an honour to share with you my adventures with the herd, my own horsemanship journey and experiences of facilitating wholeness with these beautiful animals.