Tuesday, February 28, 2012


How many times have we heard great horsemen talk about horses wanting safety and comfort? Most recently I've heard Buck Brannaman
talking about horses wanting peace and comfort more than anything else.

I've also heard him talking a lot about "comforting the horse". In almost every exercise he talks about balance and how physical balance is comforting to a horse. All of a sudden it dawned on me. That's what he means by peace and comfort. Peace and emotional comfort.

One of my friends and mentors believes that horses are just fine by themselves. That they only have trouble when the human comes into the picture. I don't think I agree with her anymore. I have personally observed a fair amount of horses and now that I have better ears to hear the great horsemen describe their experience, that theory doesn't appear to bear out.

Certainly we can cause our horses even more unrest and fear than they would have innately. When I think about it though, maybe horses are not designed to be completely composed. As prey animals (and more specifically flight animals) they are designed to be on some degree of alert at all times. And yet the desire for peace is there. Just as it is in every living thing.

Horsemen say to "make the right thing easy and the wrong thing difficult but not impossible". They are not talking about making the horse do anything. I think they are talking about causing the horse to search for and be empowered to find, the peace and comfort that we can provide for them.

Studying Ray Hunt's book and DVDs, I notice that he talked all the time about "operating the life in the horse's body all the way down to the feet". The LIFE. I finally made the connection. By the time the message is manifest in the horse's feet in a balanced way, it has comforted the life in him. Comforted their being. The same way we would comfort an upset child or friend.

Buck says a horse will always, ALWAYS choose peace. If you offer to exchange peace for movement, they will always take you up on the deal. No matter the horse's age, breed or personality. Their spirit is unquiet if they are afraid and it is equally unquiet if they are dominant and pushy. If we can offer it, they will choose harmony over disharmony every time.

In a very deep place inside me this is resonating. Better yet, each day my horses confirm it. Its like a dream come true. It means I really do have intrinsic value to my horse. Just me. Just the way I was born. And no one can take that away. I need only develop it in myself. Its like a giant relief. It feels like coming home.

I guess this is where it gets spiritual. ComfortING. Its just a tiny detail.....