I had the most amazing experience recently at my first onsite training to become an Equus Coach. I learned a valuable lesson and skill – speaking from the heart. Horses are amazing animals and because they are prey animals, they are highly sensitive to their surroundings. They are also very sensitive to the energy that humans transmit – and this is where my lesson started.
Saturday afternoon they asked me to bring a mare, Sundance, to the arena from the nearby pasture. Sundance is a beautiful horse who happens to be in heat. She’s also a little pushy. This was my first time working with Sundance and I’m also a rookie when it comes to horsemanship. Need less to say, I found myself struggling a bit – actually quite a bit. I did my best staying “on task”, so to speak, determined to get Sundance from Point A to Point B without incident.
From day one on Thursday, we learned a lot of basic skills like asking the horse to do what you want and continuing that request until she gets it. I didn’t do any of that. She pushed me and I pushed back. No requests – just pushing and struggling. We got to the bottom of the road and I needed to weave Sundance through the group of my classmates gathered for our next exercise.
The problem was this: Sundance´s focus was on one thing and one thing only…letting me know who she thought the boss was – and trust me when I say it wasn’t me!
Sundance & Cooper
We go through the fairly narrow gate in the corner of the paddock at which point she sees a very handsome gelding named Cooper. Sundance, who let’s remember is in heat, tells Cooper in no uncertain terms how damn sorry she is that he’s, well, a gelding for crying out loud. They are both whinnying and Sundance is cavorting all around, with me hanging on to my long line for dear life.
Sundance is excited. Cooper is excited. I´m excited – and by excited, I mean my heart is beating a mile a minute and my sense of security is in a downward spiral. Horses are surrounding me as they flock in from all sides to see what the hell´s going on. Thankfully, all three of my instructors are at my side helping me out of a tricky situation.
Talk about feeling all shook up!
On top of that, I got all emotional not just because of how scared I felt but because my own “herd” was being so supportive.
The BIG Aha!
Sunday, I woke up understanding where this event went south. The day before, I approached the gathering of Sundance as a task, rather than inviting her to join me on a stroll as a partner. I felt like I failed her and myself. So, when my last opportunity for coaching on Sunday afternoon came up, I decided I owed it to us both to try once more.
I invited Sundance to join me in the round pen. She was still pushy, and my trainer instructed me again on how to communicate my request. Sundance was pushy going through the gate. She was full of her sassy, magnificent self as we entered the round pen. My coach, Kasia, after hearing my intention of listening and speaking from the heart, instructed me to go to the center of the round pen and listen to what my heart told me.
As I stood there with my back to the group, Sundance came along side of me, aligning her heart with mine. We slowly walked around the round pen, our steps almost matching, with no equipment whatsoever. There was no pushing or cajoling from either of us.
What did you do to Sundance?
After a bit of watching this dance, Kasia asked me to come over to the fence. She asked me “Who are you, and what did you do to Sundance?” Believe it or not, this previously antsy, animated horse was now putty in my hands! How did that happen?! Well, here´s how…
because I allowed myself to be vulnerable, to be authentic and to speak from the heart.
This past weekend in general, and this experience specifically, showed me where in my life I need to be more open, more vulnerable, more authentic and to speak from my heart.
This new herd that I’m so grateful to be a part of, supported me with their hearts and allowed me to be myself. I was able to do the same for them.
Life can be so much richer and valuable if we all just can put down our armor, one piece at a time, one layer at a time to reach those in our herd.
When was the last time you truly allowed yourself to be seen and how are you doing at speaking from the heart? I’d love to hear about it.
My name is Nancy McKay and I coach women, most of them are over 50, who are going though a major challenge in their lives and don’t know what the hell happened. They’re feeling lost and afraid because they don’t know what their future looks like. I help them figure out how to feel happy and at peace with their life.
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One of best compliments I’ve received was “You helped me in seeing things from a different lens – I can’t believe I learned so much in one meeting! I can’t wait to see what else I learn from you.” Helping women make a shift in their thinking and in their lives thrills me to pieces and drives everything I do.
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