When horses are roundup from the BLM lands they are put into large corrals behind secure fences unable to escape, run free or do what nature tells them to do. Our own horses tamed from birth and accustomed to being handled, also reside in enclosures meant to keep them safe and easy to manage, unless we are able to afford large parcels of land that allow the horse to roam free over acres and acres of pasture and wilderness. Horses are grazers and nomads. They have evolved to be creatures who constantly interact with their environment and learn from the wide range of experiences that await them around every corner. With more experience comes the ability to adapt and survive. No animal has perfected the art of adaptation better than the horse. For instance, a young foal can distinguish between what is really dangerous and life threatening versus what is just scary. This gives them a sense of excitement and curiosity of their environment and allows them to move past the feeling of fear that stops them from checking out everything in their world.
A forced method of capture that can stifle their curiosity and affect their reaction to fear got me thinking-what is it that keeps us feeling personally stuck, locked down and corralled in our life, frozen and immobilized with fear? For me it is my logical, rational mind that overwhelms my desire to explore and discover the world outside my thoughts. With this constant structuring, I can keep my environment neat and tidy, free of unexpected outcomes, but in doing so I am also keeping out the interesting and inventive ways to live life to its fullest.
I am sure this is what has kept me from creating more content, more programs, more connections and any new ideas from bubbling up in my brain. Finding a rational and logical explanation for everything makes me feel like I am in control of my world. But this is just an illusion. The horse knows that it is impossible to control every aspect of their environment. Their power AND ours lies not in controlling what is in front of us, hoping to freeze frame the good parts of our life and block out the bad, but in responding with a more flexible approach to situations as they unfold. A rigid dry stick snaps in the wind. A living branch requires a degree of flexibility to adapt to it’s environment, so green or wet wood is naturally flexible.
Instead, we must continue throughout our life to aspire to growth and learning. Each step in the process challenges our established patterns of behavior-our habits. I know that my habits are the result of years of repeated behaviors, gleaned from repeated exposure to the same stimulus. When I see a challenging situation that has many possible outcomes, my logical and rational mind wants to narrow it down to just a few, lowering the uncertainty. It turns out I have a low tolerance for this uncertainty and I have had to practice the art of acceptance and be more open to outcome.
This is where it helps to reach outside of my own thoughts and habitual patterns. The corralled horse knows only what he sees, hears, smells, tastes and touches every day in his limited exposure to the world. This is why some horses who have been ridden in an arena their whole life find it overwhelming to suddenly be asked to tolerate a trail ride or enter a trailer after years of being taken from stall to pasture. It’s not surprising that the horse would fear the slightest movement of a leaf or sound of a tractor running in the distant, when previously they were kept in a “protective” shelter of their barn 24/7. I have begun creating connections with other people, reaching out through MEETUPs, workshops, networking activities and sometimes emailing and texting strangers. It’s scary but it’s also exciting-I’m expanding my world, I’m learning and I feel more ALIVE!
I have protective shelters as well-they are my lifelong strategies for avoiding conflict, an uncertain future or lack of resources to live comfortably. Those shelters keep me safe, but at a price. I love spending time with horses and I am inspired and motivated to create experiences for people with the horses so that they can see the power of their natural expressions of curiosity, creativity and adaptability. But, I must be willing to see the power of their lessons, every day and embody the work in my own life, not simply share the information or give others the opportunity to spend time with me in hopes that it will be transferred to them through osmosis.
This is my passion and my purpose and it’s time for me to venture out away from the safe confines of my personal corral-explore, discover and then CREATE a world full of adventure and excitement that inspires others to seek a new way to live a full life!
JOIN ME IN MY NEWEST ADVENTURE