Thursday, 20 August 2015

If I Could Talk to the Animals: healing & learning through animal connection

Animal connection to facilitate establishing trust requires a deep centring; getting the words in our head out of the way.  

It is an area I have tried to intuitively practice with my horses, but have now started on a learning path that I'm feeling so pleased to have found.

The bare bones of that practice is actually a foundation that I was inherently practicing-- with a relative degree of success. 

Now I'm hoping with the skills I am learning, I can get this down to more of an accurate understanding of their needs and connection with the horses that will enhance the therapeutic experience I can give my clients.

For fifteen years I've held a 2nd degree Reiki attunement, with another first degree attunement from an additional teacher, that I've never put on a practice shingle or a resume or my linked in profile; it is something I have incorporated into my everyday life. I've used it with family and myself, but most regularly on my horses.  

So when I discovered this gentle teacher and his methodology, I was pleased to see that Reiki had something to do with his fundamental connection with animals as well. 

You know that "coming home" feeling you get when you've been wanting some answers and you sit with the right person and the just-right information flows as if it is making a direct connection to your heart and soul?  

That's what the message of his work does for me.

Lately I've been working on my communication with my horses more intently and my husband has observed a couple of times when the horses have been in one of the large paddocks, spread out, and I'm trying to get them to a specific gate to go to another area.  

Calming myself, I basically will them to go where I want them to go.  And to my surprise-- as much as his-- they have taken off in a gallop exactly where I want them, led by my horse, Yorkie. 

It was a difficult task to keep my mouth from falling open as my husband asked me, "how did you do that?"  

Granted, it hasn't always been so simple to gather the herd, in fact it has been hard work at times, and I'm sure it will not always work with such ease.  

But when it does . . . it is magical.

Last night they followed my intuitive direction again, and my 11 year old son observed.  I heard him running into the house saying to his dad, "Mom is doing magic with the horses."

I've always known I wanted to incorporate the horses in my work with people if the opportunity presented itself. 

Not in a riding way. I'm not a riding expert. I ride for connection and pleasure. "Real" riders have a hay-day with my riding methodology I'm sure.

My horses are about relationship.  

The teacher has stated that at one point he had to stop riding his horses because he didn't feel like it was respectful of them anymore-- and I totally get that.

And each of our horses gives us a different kind of relationship and communication style and love. 

At the very least, I've known that Ringo, the miniature horse we have had since he was around six months old, would provide an opportunity for connection and love. 

Miniature horses are just that: horses.  

They still hold all of the characteristics of their bigger relatives which is why Ringo is such a little miracle. 

Ringo is brave and bold, yet sweet and kind. 

The first time he got on a float (horse trailer) he walked right on without missing a beat, which isn't average horse behaviour. 

Ringo comes right up for big love and is a huge communicator. I don't think I've ever seen him startle. And it's a pleasure to watch him work on his relationship with the bigger horses. 

There is so much learning and joy and healing available just in our little wee Ringo.

Yesterday I went out and had three different (what I call) "centring sessions" with the horses, but I did it a bit differently than I ever had, trying to completely clear my mind and becoming totally heart centred.

Each time my Yorkie came over to me.  

And each time we just stood together.  

And each time, he took this mouth and placed in on top of my head and rubbed me repeatedly. 

No teeth, no roughness, extremely gentle loving caresses. 

He was giving back some what I give him--and call me crazy-- I could feel the love. (consider: he doesn't have anything but hooves to work with-- using his mouth to rub me was his way of caressing me as I do him-- and I'm tearing up just writing this)

This week one of my clients was leaving and all the horses were gathered up by the fence as if to say good-bye as I walked down to open the gate for her. She stopped, turned her car off and got out.

I pointed to the corner of the upper paddock and told my client of an experience the horses had that is testimony to how deeply they feel and how deeply they think:

Wire is apparent on Shania's right side. And note little Ringo helping
One day, my son and I were pulling out of the driveway to get him to his school bus and we noticed that all of the horses were standing in a corner of the paddock at our entry gate.  He and I were in awe-- oh look, how sweet that they are there as a family.  When I returned about twenty minutes later, they were still there. Initially I again thought, how sweet (and took this photo).  But then I thought, hmm, I better go check.  I found that Shania, who was in the very corner, had somehow gotten the top wire-- the electrical wire, that wasn't on-- off and wrapped over her head and neck. This was a thin wire that could have decapitated her had she become spooked. And Shania is a Paso Fino, a breed known for their "brio," their spirit. Seeing her previous reactions when she's felt trapped or the time the feed bucket caught to her halter, I know full well her reaction would have been to completely freak-- running to get away. But my Yorkie knows her too and was calmly standing right behind her to block her in so she wouldn't hurt herself. I'm absolutely positive that his intention was to save her.  Ends up when I spoke with my husband, they had been in that corner long before when he'd left for work. No telling how long Yorkie had held Shania there. He saved her life. 

I looked back at my client and there were tears streaming down her face.

I said, "Aw, the horses have touched you and we haven't really even interacted with them yet."

Her response, "They are just such majestic beings."

And they are.  

And it is a privilege to be in their presence. 

And the least I can do is calm myself, honour their presence and really listen to them. 

And I reckon we might as well try that with each other as well, aye?

                           James French

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