Horsey Therapist

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


I just read a mini-report from a friend who rode with Harry Whitney in a recent clinic in Virginia. She focussed on a new word Harry was using: "withyouness" and how it has helped her with her horses.

I like that word. It reflects the core of what is so important: I am present, horse is present, we are present together.

Harry has long talked about horses holding back, not giving 100%. His use of "withyouness" points us toward what we want to be replacing that holding back.

I like to think in terms of people behavior -- often my own -- to help understand horse behavior. I am very familiar with doing something half-heartedly. Of doing something reluctantly. Of doing something 'just because' without a lot of energy. Just getting by.

It doesn't feel good when I proceed like that. Every cell in my body, every micron of energy is compromised. We are designed to do things with all of our energy, focus, physical and spiritual gusto. Although looking at the social systems that contain and define so much of our expressions, dreams, and day to day actions -- who would know we are really designed for such a passionate existence? We are so often praised and rewarded for mediocrity.

I love telling frustrated parents of precocious and/or willful children: hey, these things that are driving you nuts right now are qualities of a great leader in the future!

So back to our horses... Our horses become dull with us. Often to suit our degree of dullness, of holding back. Often to suit our fear of living life fully -- in full awareness, in full integrity, no more little white lies to ourselves or others... A little intimidating even to consider it!

A dull horse is unpredictable. We do not know what lurks below the dullness. A dull horse is difficult to direct. Our requests have to permeate through an unknown series of levels before we are heard. A dull horse is defended. Defended against our chronic absence perhaps?

I need to bring myself more fully into the present moment in order to be with my horse in the present. It means practicing being present. It means grieving and laying to rest familiar habits of this or that which help keep me someplace else. It means pursuing with passion that which is important to me: connection, togetherness, "withyouness". It means facing my fears as quickly as they surface to consciousness so they no longer pull me away from the Now.

When my horse is confident I am here with and for him, then I will have earned his attention and respect, and he will not simply allow me to direct him, but he will melt or meld into my sensible leadership performance.

Because we tend to think and act as if our horses and our Selves are separate beings, this "withyouness" concept is potent. It can help us think our way into a together place, to recognize it and appreciate it when we find it either because of our prolonged and determined search for it, or because of a moment of grace when we are gifted with an experience of this present connectedness.


At 02 October, 2008 06:16, Blogger Victoria Cummings said...

Thanks for reminding me of this - With all the attention I've been paying to Siete, I've definitely lost the "withyouness" that I like to have with Silk. Yesterday, I was wondering if there was something wrong with her. Now, I realize that it's the loss of connection with me that probably is dulling her. I've been going through the motions, but without the heart and soul. It should help both of us if I take the time to be "with" her.

At 02 October, 2008 09:06, Blogger Grey Horse Matters said...

This was a wonderful post and a great reminder to all of us who just go through the motions. I need to be a little more motivated with some of the horses and get the "withyouness" back that seems to have fallen by the wayside recently. As soon as I am fully recovered I will try to get that energy and feeling of being in the present back. Great post.


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