Day 6: Costa Rican Equine Adventure
With Michelle Mantor
PetTalk Editor’s Costa Rica Equine Adventure – Day 6
Today I miss yoga class because I wake up at 7:05. Bummer. I really enjoy this new morning ritual of yoga by the horse ring, looking at the amazing mountain scenery, listening to the cacophony of birds and hearing the horses neighing just above us in the barn.
During breakfast, Debbie asks us to discuss our night ride from the previous night. It’s a good discussion of how many of us were scared, vulnerable and even angry but several people said that although they were concerned and anxious, once they were on the ride in the dark and realized the only option was to trust the horse to get you home safe because they know the trail, they felt euphoric to hand over responsibility – just sit back and let the horses be in control. I was not one of these people. I would say euphoria was the LAST thing on my mind. However, since I lived to tell about this adventure, it does give me a much greater trust of my horse – which is probably a metaphor for my life: trust and stop trying to control everything.
We also watch a fascinating TED Talk by Brene Brown on Vulnerability (check it out on You Tube…if you get nothing more from this week long blog, watch this video!). The video delves into what happens to those who embrace vulnerability and those who choose not to. As Renee puts it, we are the most drugged and overweight nation because we want to be numb ourselves from the bad feelings and only feel the good, which of course isn’t possible.
Next we head to our respective areas to do more ground work with our horses. One by one, our horses are brought into the ring and through our energy and use of the perelli stick, we get our horse to walk in a circle, trot in a circle, change directions and do the same and then join up. We take notice of the energy it takes as well as our intentions. Horses understand intent. If your intent is to be a predator, meaning put pressure on them and once they give you what you want and you keep putting pressure on them, that’s when they will go toward their fight or flight reaction. We learn just how much pressure our horse needs to perform what we are asking and then we back off the pressure and so forth.
Suzy does great. She only gives me a sassy flip of the head once when I ask her, with a strong swat at the ground with the perelli stick, to trot but she does it and once again, much to my amazement, she joins up with me immediately. Horses truly do live in the moment, don’t hold grudges and watch for every sign of energy change which they adjust to. Sixty million years of evolution has created an animal that is very sensitive to every little detail, otherwise they would not have survived as a prey animal.
Now I see why horse people are horse people. These powerful yet sensitive creatures are some of the best teachers on earth.