And if they did, they were not telling the truth. Many of us are striving for a good relationship with our horses where we experience the joy that comes with partnering with a healthy and happy horse.
Most of us are aware that this – depending on several factors and circumstances – can be more or less hard work and involves continuous learning. Every day is a school day so to speak. It often includes setbacks and the need for us to reassess, adjust, change, learn and grow. If that is something we find difficult to deal with and cannot enjoy and find value in, I suggest finding a different pastime. Though, if we do and stick through the challenges, we will be rewarded in many ways both in the experiences we share with our horses and the way it shapes not only our bodies but also our character and personality.
Working with horses asks for humility first and for resilience second.
However, it may not appear that way when we see how the modern horse world is presenting itself to the world. But let us not forget that this is not the full story and that most of our interactions with horses happen away from the limelight, the glamour, and the beautiful sounding words. They demand honesty and unvarnished truth.
In order to meet horses at their level, we are asked to leave aspects of the modern world and the way it is operating – the way we are operating – behind and step into a way of being that can be very different from our own. It is a place that touches parts of our own deep (be)longing as humans as part of the natural world. This, I believe, is one of the reasons why so many of us are drawn to be with horses in the first place. We are asked to slow down, and to listen to a language that is very different from our own, and to be present where our minds are used to being distracted and occupied with too many things most of the time.
We are also asked to know and to learn and to understand a myriad of hard facts such as the needs and the natural behaviour of horses, nutrition, training and development taking into account their anatomy and physiology and learning behaviour, health and medical issues, pasture management, well-fitting tack, the list goes on.
If that was not enough, in the age of social media we are flooded with numerous voices of (often self-proclaimed) experts who share tools and methods and pretend to know best on all of these topics, what is the right thing to do and how to fix our problems. How not to be confused and to lose direction?
It is a world that differs a lot from the world that I grew up in where numnahs only came in 3 basic colours and where – when you thought you needed a stronger bit – you were told to go back to basic schooling instead. No shortcuts, no quick fixes, just nitty-gritty work, day after day after day. Did we have any fun? Yes, tons of it.
So, what do we do today. I suggest choosing our teachers wisely and focussing on the basics and essentials first, doing the necessary work and building gradually, step by step. Those who share and teach in such a way may be more hidden and out of sight as their voices are not as loud, their appearance is not as shiny, they do not claim to know and have the only truth, they do not offer quick fixes and pretend that it is easy. Rather they offer a path of solidity and safety in a calm, serene and unassuming manner.
In my work as an equine acupuncturist and bodyworker, it is similar. Here, I offer you help in overcoming some of the problems you encounter with your horses, to move beyond them by supporting your horse’s body (and mind) to find its way back into balance, and to guide you in making necessary changes. Any issues and struggles your horse is presenting with are addressed and contributing factors are taken into account.
Health is balance and physical and emotional balance form the foundation of our activities. With this foundation in place, we can easily step into the training and activities with our horses while ensuring their health, welfare and well-being. Helping your horse’s body find a path to soundness and health, my offering is a means of support for the team that is you and your horse.
And while I do not have any new tools or methods or magic buttons to share that will solve all of your problems, my work is grounded in the more than 2000 years old practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine which looks at the horse as a whole. And it is informed and influenced by other forms of manual therapy, up-to-date research and science in my field of work, my life with horses, the old classical German way of schooling horses the focus of which is to develop a horse gradually based on their anatomy and physiology to maintain soundness, and my training and experience in so many other horse related topics and settings. My gratitude goes to the wonderful teachers, people and horses I have been able to study with and learn from!