This wonderful story was written a year ago by Peggy Gilmer, co-teacher of our upcoming Animal Communication, Healing and Horse Teachers workshop and which illustrates the deep healing potential that can be found in working in partnership with animals.
Dewey is six, the baby in the herd—playful puppy and sexy stud, adolescent rock star and cuddly boy—he loves to be with people. I adore him. I looked at over 100 stallions across Georgia and Tennessee before I chose his sire, The Executive Decision. I wanted intelligence, beauty, talent, personality and a strong connection with humans. I was literally designing the horse I wanted for my work. And I got it all. I named him Executive Presence—Dewey to his friends.
AND—he irritates the hell out of me! He taunts me the entire time we’re together, until I either get angry or give up in frustration. I’ve struggled with this for six years…ELEVEN if you include his brother, Sun, in the experience. You might say I’ve had a block 🙂
And in a moment it all changed.
Working with him one day I became aware of a subtle feeling of “defensive aggression” in me. My body had a forward leaning tenseness to it—my mind was hard, and I was emotionally determined. Feeling myself in that moment I had to ask WHY? Why was I so wound up about him? And then I saw my beliefs about Dewey—my truths—he would always be a thug; he would never listen to me; he loved to provoke me; I had to be really tough to keep him from running over me.
Those unconscious decisions I made about who Dewey was and what I could expect from him caused me to take a confrontational stance with him. And, guess what? He was mirroring my thug; reacting to my adolescent, “I’ll knock that chip off your shoulder” stance. He’d been reacting to it for six years. What had been tendencies at birth, had become his personality—mirroring me! I designed the horse I wanted and then built what I believed male horses were—my own Frankenstein!
So, I decided to change my beliefs. First one I chose was “I had to be tough.” But how would I be with him if I wasn’t tough? How would I keep from getting caught in his dominance games? I decided to fountain loving energy. I breathed all the love I feel for this golden colt, through my heart. And, he felt the field I had wrapped us in. And, it felt so good to him that he started figuring out how to get me to stay “in love” and focused on the rapport between us.
While loving, I still continued to cue him to move away every time he moved his head inside “my space” (his favorite boundary invading game!). In the past we’d have gotten into an escalating game of “gotcha.” This day was different. Each time we played “my space” he responded to a lighter cue more quickly. He was paying close attention because he wanted to keep me in my loving space. Within minutes I could feel him reaching towards me energetically to read my wishes so that he could respond before I focused my attention on correction… so we would stay in rapport. Then he relaxed deeply into contentment with his head quietly facing forward. He was still. This had NEVER happened before! I was astonished!
We then walked to the round pen and I sent him out to enjoy his exuberance at liberty. I continued to drench the space in love while he played, cantering freely in a circle. It is pure joy for me to watch him canter. The sun is shining and the air warm on my cheek. He’s gorgeous and happy, cantering, his mane flying high. It is easy to fill the field with joy. My heart is flying with him.
Since we were now so happily connected I decided to try to cue him mentally. I began creating a visual in my mind of what I wanted him to do and energetically asking him to do it. While he walked the perimeter of the round pen, I pictured in my mind the next post at which I wanted him to stop. And, I would drop my energy when he approached it. By the third post he had figured out the game and by the fourth post he stopped on my mental picture alone and he continued to do so for each new “stopping” post I envisioned. Minimum essential influence was a thought!
Then he came in to me, sighed, and gently rested his forehead on my shoulder. He did not mouth, or push, or nudge, or nibble, or grab my clothes or my boots, or elbow his way into my side. He was soft. He was respectful. He was soooo happy. He was no longer a thug the moment I saw my beliefs instead of acting out of them.
I’ve been noticing my beliefs ever since. Sometimes they’re tricky to see, but worth the investigation. Once seen they are easy to change. As the best horse people say: put relationship first and performance is so much easier to come by. The implications for human endeavor are staggering.
Dewey will be one of the Horse Teachers for the upcoming Animal Communication, Healing and Horse Teachers workshop. Deadline for registration is August 10.
Peggy Gilmer is an Executive Coach and Leadership and Self Mastery Coach for Children and Teens. She’s also a Reiki III Practitioner and owns Silk Purse Farm where she has partnered with her herd of Tennessee Walkers for 15 years, helping her clients to become the best version of themselves. For more information about Peggy’s work in general please visit her website. For more information on her work with horses please visit The Feel of Mastery.
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©2011 Peggy Gilmer. All Rights Reserved.
Think Outside the Cage
Rose De Dan, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC, is a mesa carrier in the Peruvian shamanic tradition. In addition she is also a Reiki Master Teacher, animal communicator, author of the acclaimed book Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism, and creator of Animal and Reiki Art. As an animal shaman, she views her role as a healer as one of building bridges between people and animals, and of empowering them to reconnect with Pachamama, Mother Earth.
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