Freedom: Where the magic is found

Horses have taught me the importance of freedom. Freedom to express, freedom to choose our own destiny, freedom over our own bodies and freedom from indoctrination. As we free the horses from their servitude, we also free ourselves.

By giving horses the freedom to make their own decisions, we are able to see the truth of the relationship. Horses have taught me the importance of freedom because they represent personal power and movement, which is born from freedom. Since learning is primarily experiential, freedom to choose and to explore what interests and excites us is the key to us developing our unique talents and abilities.

In my interview with liberty trainer Martin Contreras Carrizosa, I asked him what has surprised him the most about working with horses at liberty? Martin said, "Ever since I started with liberty when I’m doing it correctly, it’s because I’m surrendering to a constant state of openness which begets amazement. It’s amazement because every time a horse connects with you and chooses to do this arbitrary thing that you’re asking them to do and they show joy in learning, it is a gift I’m receiving every time. It’s been very liberating to discover there’s no one way of doing things. There’s no black and white. Each horse asks for a different thing. When you start delving into that, you realise you may have a series of techniques, a method or a system, but true liberty forces you to bend the rules and look outside the box constantly. The box turns into a spaceship, it’s a point of reference, but you need to look at different options. What we call magic is simply the things we don’t understand. Magic with horses can take place on an everyday basis; all it takes is letting go."

If we let the horse get away with something, it isn’t as bad as we think. It’s important to free ourselves from the limiting idea that we can’t listen to what a horse wants and follow their lead as well. If you want to cultivate a more empowered horse who is intrinsically motivated and engaged in what they are doing, then allowing them to have full self-expression without negative consequences is a big part of it.

The way we educate humans can be a direct overlay on how we educate humans. The old way had a rigid, controlling aspect to it, with standardized curriculums and testing that were often irrelevant. The new way is to listen when the horse, or the human, says no, and then offer them an alternative that sparks their curiosity and interest.

When we release our attachment to the outcome, let go of our expectations and drop our agenda, it liberates us. No longer are we controlled by our false beliefs. This, as Martin described, is where the magic happens. When we stop coercing people, animals and situations to resemble a preconceived idea of what we think we want, it opens up our world to allow unexpected results that are often better than we imagined. The only way to know is to try it for yourself and see what happens.

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