How bad is the problem with your horse at the moment?
Do you feel so overwhelmed with a situation that you have no idea how to even begin to fix it?
Have you decided that it is easier to put your horse out because the thought of having to ride it just makes you sick in the stomach? What are you avoiding?
Or are you facing another injury or illness?
If this has happened or is happening to you right now, then there is a way how to get through this and learn from it without needing to repeat the same events in the near future. The first step is surrendering to the current situation.
Surrendering to what is happening is one of the hardest steps, but it is essential because it is the first step to healing and being able to make change. Sometimes it takes something to happen that is so out of our control and that we feel so overwhelmed and helpless, that it forces upon us the desire to surrender, to accept what is and to let go of the reins.
When we are unable to surrender, we are faced with the entire situation being controlled by a very small and insecure area of ourselves. We cling so tightly to the reins holding on for dear life that even if things are happening remotely to our liking we are still gripped by the fear of how long it is going to last? How long before the next shy happens? How long before the next buck? Although we manage to make it through the ride we are never experiencing the peace and joy of the ride because we are completely detached from the horse.
When fear is the place you are operating from it creates conflict with everything you are doing, fight or flight is the basis of your actions because you are afraid of the outcome.
Discovering your walls
What are you resisting at the moment? I don’t like the way he keeps moving his head, he’s falling in, he’s not listening to me! Whatever it is, until you are no longer being effected by what is happening you will not be able to do the thing that is needed to change what is happening.
Acceptance is important because sometimes things just need to be the way they are for a while until something else has grown in its place.
Albert Einstein said ‘you cannot find a solution to a problem from the same level of thinking that created it’.
You also cannot change what is happening with your horse if you are not willing to change what you have been doing. Acceptance is giving up the need to blame the horse, the instructor, the feed, the farrier or even the weather for what is happening.
The change then comes from a shift in how we see things, it’s not always what we are doing that changes but how we are doing it.
Forcing change is like trying to cook pasta in water that hasn’t boiled, getting upset with the pasta and the water will not help it to cook. Acceptance allows you the power to change how the result effects you. It replaces the feelings of frustration, urgency or annoyance with patience and peace. Waiting for the water to boil is no longer seen as a problem.
Being able to accept everything that is currently happening as a part of your journey up until now, is a very important part of your growth. Without it you would not be who you are today and would not have expanded yourself to be able to do the things you desire to do in the future.
I cried nearly every night the first year of being in Germany, I was young, homesick, hated the Germans, couldn’t understand them, was falling off nearly daily for a short period of time and hated the fact that I couldn’t do it the way they could. I wanted so badly to ride well and hated myself for not being able to do it straight away. My family begged for me to just come home, that at least I had tried and to come back where it was easy. Not until I was able to accept my current riding abilities as the best that I could currently do and that I was there because I wanted to be there, was I able to see things from a different perspective.
I wanted to learn and there was no one that could make that happen except me. After being able to accept these things and find peace with myself for being an average rider at the time, I was then able to let go of being so hard on myself and thinking every one was against me. I started to accept the situation and everything about it instead of fighting against it every day. Although it took four years to do this and many more falls, it was at this time that I began to change how I was seeing that journey. After this my true capabilities started to flow from me and the greater abilities in me had a chance to come out. I was only frustrated with everyone and everything around me because I was frustrated with myself. They turned out to be the patient ones that were allowing my growth.
The Path of Growth
The problem is, when we run away from the thing we don’t like within ourselves or our horse, we are also running away from the thing that is going to create what we want to do next.
You may have bought a horse that had already developed behaviors that you may not want from the rider before you, none the less that horse is with you for a very precise reason. You are developing growth in exactly the areas you need to become the person and rider you desire to be. Your horse is giving you the experiences you need to reach your potential.
The problem that you think is stopping you is actually the thing that is taking you to where you want to be. Nothing is ever a problem, it’s how we see it that makes it a problem.
Situations don’t change our perceptions do. Once our perceptions change then our situations do.
By accepting what is and not labeling it as good or bad, you are able to become one with it. Becoming one with your horse is when you have full connection with everything that is happening, because it is all coming from you.
Everything is Happening for a Reason
Hearing someone say that everything is happening for a reason can be very hard to digest when you are facing a difficult situation, but the only reason why we ever see something as difficult is when we take it personally. When we take something personally we feel like a victim. Victim is passenger, out of control and based in fear.
When you have been faced by your own fears and you overcome them you are wiser, stronger and more capable than you ever would have been before.
So if there is something happening right now that you are having difficulty accepting, know that it is bringing something about you to your awareness.
Everything is happening for a reason, it is ok to be where you are with your current abilities, that everything about you and your horse is perfect and exactly how it should be. But most importantly, know that everything is going to be ok.
Everything that you so badly want to have is coming to you through where you are now. You have to go through where you are to get to where you want to be. It will always be this way. The better canter that you want is in the canter you have now. The more balanced rider is in the body that you have now.
Love and accept who you are, where you are at and don’t wait for something else to happen to live who you are today.
You only ever have one stride to create your horse with .When you run away from that stride, you run away from the opportunity it brings with it.
Surrender to what is. Change will come from there…..
© Catherine Louise Birmingham
Catherine Louise Birmingham. Although she specializes in classical German Dressage she also works with confidence building and all levels of riding, her coaching is unique in that it spreads across all areas of growth within the individual. Catherine travels worldwide to teach, ride and now does healing work. About Catherine