I recently had an individual session that made me fully believe this statement,
You Can't Bullshit a Horse!
During this session, I started with my client (I’ll call her Sally) Sally walking through the barn, paying attention to how she felt as the horses noticed and interacted with her. She expressed that she felt drawn to one horse in particular, one that I had not felt an affinity for and hence had not used him much for sessions. However, Sally felt a connection with him so I agreed.
I felt a bit of tension as I led him to the round pen, but I was in control. I walked him in, closed the gate and as I unhooked his halter, he exploded away from me, running and bucking and kicking.
I never felt afraid that he would hurt me but his behavior was wild and I decided to move him instead of him moving around me. Pointing with my hand in the direction I wanted him to go and focusing my energy directly at his girth, I asked him to move and clicked my tongue for his canter which he replied with a gallop. After several minutes, I moved him from canter to trot then to walk. Then, I turned him to the opposite direction, to which he exploded into canter again. After a few minutes, I asked him for the trot and finally a walk, which he did and then lowered his head. I felt calmer and so did he. I stopped moving and slowly stepped backward so that he could meet up with me near the middle of the round pen, which he calmly did.
I exited the round pen and knew Sally could safely begin her encounter with him. She entered and her emotional presence was obviously felt by him. Honestly, I watched as he became “doe-eyed” (think of Bambi with the big, soft, almost teary-looking eyes) and he leaned into her as she petted him. She started to walk and he was her companion, walking with her, shoulder to shoulder. If she stopped, so did he. He was a completely different horse!
I asked her if she could share what she was feeling and she said “confident”. She explained that she had been intentionally practicing calming, loving, mindful and peaceful ways for her to be, for about a year.
It was then that I felt it, I had little of these feelings as I had entered the round pen.
- - In the weeks leading up to this session, I had traveled to Tennessee for a week, for my son’s marriage which fluxed with excitement and happiness, anxiety and exhaustion. Three days later I was home and had my birthday with a party (and lets just say it was a really big number for me), and during which I had an encounter with my daughter that left me with upset, grief, anxiety, and guilt in “not one of my proudest as her mom” moments.
All of these recent experiences had me in a state of emotional chaos and I worked like a cat in a litter box, covering up my “stuff”. - -
And on this day, I had a session to facilitate and I am a professional!
On this day, I chose to enter the round pen with a horse and that was when the gig was up.
I witnessed him respond to my proximal emotional content in real time. He was aware of my true emotional state, felt his heart beat in unison with mine and gave all my “stuff” back to me.
I fully believe that you cannot bullshit a horse, they see right through you and they will give you what you need, when you need it. They live in this moment, not the past or the future and they only care about where you are - right now.