Connection & Community

Sometimes connection with what we want means disconnecting, either physically or emotionally, from our current situation or circumstance. The essential part of the process for me was disconnecting from traditional horse riding and training and allowing myself to explore what made my heart sing. Liz Mitten Ryan inspired me because she achieved a remarkable connection with her herd of 14 horses who roam on 320 acres in a semi-wild setting yet completely comfortable and happy to be with humans. She developed a harmonious lifestyle that combines the freedom of wildness with the safety and care of domestication. I interviewed Liz for "One With Horses" and asked her how she applies the wisdom she’s learned from horses to her own life.  

In this Friday's webinar, we'll share some excerpts from the interview, how using invitation and reward instead of pressure and punishment is an ideal way to interact with horses. We'll discuss how connection implies seeing and recognising the one you are connecting with. And we'll talk about how spending unstructured time with horses and people allows space for two-way communication which fosters mutual trust and friendship.

It may be surprising to hear that doing nothing but spending quiet time together is one of the most healing and restorative activities. We often think we need to do more to achieve more, but the horses are urging us to do less and connect more on a deeper level to our heart’s truth. Perhaps the current state of the world is asking us the same thing?

The animals require us to seek connection through presence, allow freedom of expression and allow the horse to make their own decision. Listen when they say no and offer an alternative. Give them a choice without consequence, focus on their intrinsic motivation by supporting them to be the best they can be.  Aren’t these the things we want for ourselves in our human relationships?

Horses live in connection with each other, as a herd, as a family, sometimes genetically related and sometimes chosen bands. Horses have taught me to look after the members of my herd because the strength of the herd is only as strong as its weakest member. 

One of the most potent benefits of this book and especially this chapter about connection is that you'll realise you're not alone. When traditional horse people with old school methods tell you the way they think it should be done and you see with your own eyes, that there's too much pressure or that the horse is experiencing stress or trauma, you'll know there's another option. How much or how little experience you have is irrelevant. What is important is that you find strength in your knowing that there is another way, a kinder way, a more compassionate way, a softer and safer way. A way that not only heals the horse but simultaneously evolves the human.

You will know that this community contains the people who have veered from the norm, the brave ones who are exploring new territories, who are not following antiquated rules, who are removing the gear and the bits which cause pain, ditching the spurs and whips, and choosing to connect being to being. My hope is that you'll feel supported by this group, who are here with you on this path. The benefit of knowing this is that you will be more apt to be in your truth and trust your intuition, two things that Liz says the horses have been telling her over and over. 

Most of the people that contact me say that they want a connection with horses. What I’ve learned is that connection occurs in the apparent nothingness of each moment. Nobody can learn or connect in a state of survival or anxiety. When there is judgement, expectation or impatience towards a certain outcome, then there is a tension that makes it impossible to attain connection or oneness. In order to connect, one must be in a state of relaxation, to be at peace with what is and to put our agenda aside and allow the experience to unfold. 

This is the next stage because once you shift your perspective about the way you have been doing things in the past and you get really honest with yourself, you may want to consider letting go and disconnecting with some things so that you can reconnect with a new community, a new way of being, a new way of thinking and a new way of living.

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