Although we understand the seasons changing we find it almost impossible to understand change happening within our own lives. Do you know why your horse is changing? Do you know what it is you are changing him into?
Many of us are afraid of change because we are comfortable with where we are and change requires stepping into the unknown and letting go of control.
Both are fear based and we only fear what we do not understand.
Our bodies shed skin, a tree sheds bark, leaves fall and produce new ones every year. When something stops changing it has stopped growing, when something stops growing the process of dieing begins.
It has fulfilled its purpose and is now leaving to allow for something new to take its place.
A forest does this, our bodies do this, nature changes as surely as the law of gravity. There is only one thing that is ever consistent in life and that is change. This is the definition of evolution, life is a constant creation and we are doing the same thing with ourselves and we are expressing it through our horses.
We create when we think, we create when we talk, we create when we work, we create when we breathe, we create when we play, we create when we ride, we are constantly creating there are just different levels that we are creating from but all of them are a part of us experiencing who we are and how we are able to express ourselves.
A child learns to crawl then walk, they learn to speak then read, they learn to express emotion through action, crying in pain, laughing in joy, the more evolved they become a mere facial expression can emit the deepest of emotion in someone. When a rider is more developed and aware they are still creating but on a much deeper level, although it may look like they are doing nothing on the outside, they are still changing but it is highly tuned into the horse and the horse then becomes the expression of the rider. This is always happening, the horse is always the expression of the rider but the horse changes as the rider does. The horse becomes the picture of what the rider is creating in their mind but the vision is felt instead of thought and expressed through all levels of awareness. They are vibrating at a very sensitive level.
A note at the right vibration can cause glass to shatter without anything touching it. This is why change is important because without it we would not be able to experience different levels of how we can create. This is expressed most evidently in riding. Look at a young Pony Club rider kicking a Shetland pony and then look at an experienced Grand Prix rider on a well trained Warmblood. The difference between the two didn’t happen over night and neither rider nor horse were born that way, they, through the process of change, evolved into the creation they are currently presenting at that particular time, and even that is forever changing just on subtler levels until it completes its purpose and begins the process of dieing (even this delicate theory of life can very easily be disputed today and has already been proven through science that our perception of aging is not what we believe it to be- I was in the presence of ninety year old men in Japan that were running up stairs, riding and were peaceful, joyful and beautiful people).
Part of the fear of accepting change is that when we are happy with something we don’t want it to change, we are afraid of the outcome of what could happen so we sit within limitations staying in situations that may look like nothing is changing on the outside but there is a lot happening on the inside. When fear is not confronted it comes out through injuries, soreness or illnesses in our horse and ourselves. This is important though because when fear is acknowledged it can then be released. This gets released through the body, where as before hand while in a state of fear, we ride through stress emotionally and then the stress being repeatedly placed upon the horse and rider from fear, shows its wear and tear physically. The release of stress also releases toxins in the body and exits through sickness. Again if this process is not understood, when these things happen we fight and panic and worry about what is happening and do not allow the natural flow of change to happen in order for us to release fear and stress and allow our bodies to rebuild.
When we don’t let go of the fear of a situation and go through this process of healing with stress and worry present the cycle repeats itself over and over again creating the same illnesses and injuries, until we have learnt from them and recreate from confidence and love instead of fear, stress and worry, we are building solid foundations of problems that have come from not acknowledging and letting go of our fears.
If something is repeating itself, good, you are learning. Your question is though what am I learning about myself through this experience?
Our horse is our greatest teacher and healer because they allow us to understand ourselves and release our fear. Embrace change as growth and find peace in everything that is happening now. Your only job is to know where you are going and not get distracted by what happens along the way.
As we grow and change so to does our horses work grow and change. Everything is important though and gets added to the last thing, in other words every step leads to the next step but the next step higher is supported by the steps that came before it, you can’t take away any of the previous steps because they are the support for the higher step you are building into your horse. Even this requires making space, therefore it is important for change to be clearly defined so when the horse has for some time let go of an old way of doing something don’t worry because he is letting go of the old and making room for the new. He is letting go of the old four beat canter and making room for the new three beat canter. But when you know why the horse is for a period of time unbalanced, insecure and feels worse you no longer act from fear, worry, frustration, disappointment or stress because there is a purpose behind everything that is happening when you are focused on the goal.
You are no longer afraid of change because you understand why it is happening and it is always happening to make room for something even better to happen.
Change is growth and is a very natural part of life that is also very necessary in order for us to exist.
If you were to ride your horse the exact same way every day, your horse is changing. Its muscles are forming, its behavior is changing, its temperament is changing, its work is solidifying.
Even if something is to stop it hasn’t been for nothing because the experience you gained from that thing happening is the foundation step leading to the next level of awareness. Nothing is lost in life everything is growth, everything leads to wisdom when experienced. So don’t punish yourself if you have been doing something with your horse one way and now realise that a different way is needed in order to create the picture you desire, because that experience you had before hand was a necessary part of your understanding needed to create the next thing in your horse.
Most five year old dressage horses go through a rearing stage as it is the time where collection work is solidifying. The educated rider is aware of this change and rides through it, it may seem terrible and scary to the onlooker but the rider understands why it is happening and continues to ride through this period until the horse has developed the security in the next stage of its work.
Remember we only fear what we do not understand. Life is difficult when we are not clear about why something is happening but wisdom comes through experience, so if there is something you are afraid of with your horse at the moment then now is the time to trust your trainer as they see the process, they understand the changes and will guide you through the necessary steps until you develop the understanding yourself. Even the trainer was once the student.
If you are in need of help ask and you shall receive, knock and the door will open. You have a special and individual relationship with your horse and your life, embrace it and live it.