Horsey Therapist

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Formula training

A recent online discussion of horsemanship prompted me to put a few things into words. People were talking about formula training, formula trainers, and what they found valuable or not with some of the current 'name brand' formula trainers. One noted that some students want formulas and formula programs are good for those folks.

My thoughts reflect my opinion about formulas. Please read on...

Because I know from my own experience how valuable it is to have something to hang on to when I'm trying to figure out a half a kazillion things about horses and myself at the same time, I like to give some simple 'formula' stuff to my students.

However my formula is not about technique. It is about awareness and intent.

It is not written in black and white, but basically includes:

1. Become more and more aware of and well managing of your body, thoughts, and emotions.

2. Become more and more aware of and able to rightly interpret the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors of the horse.


So it's not about do this to make the horse do that. It is about learning and paying attention and having a two-way respectful and effective interaction with the horse as a living, thinking, feeling sentient being so all involved have the best chance to feel connected and proud of their relationship.

I will add that practicing #1 and #2 will lead eventually to a deep sense of interconnectedness and harmony. But in case anyone isn't clear about that possibility, I'll add that my 'formula' includes practicing withness. Doing things with the horse, not to the horse. Doing things together, now, connected, unified. It may start as a concept, but cradling the idea and the possibility will create opportunities for it to happen. And there is nothing better than withness.

So yeah, someone wants a formula? I'll give them one. :-) It's going to be one that encourages a commitment to developing mindfulness. And one that frees the student to be an active learner with the horses rather than learning from me.

Happy Holidays, everyone. May your days be full of insight and joyous surprises.