When I am training Zum to do something, first I want to get a response from him. If he responds to my request, he is rewarded. But I want to fine tune his response to me. Eventually, I would like every response to be an easy and natural habit.
Yesterday, I spoke to members of a beautiful gated community in Scottsdale who are interested in horses. I told them about my childhood with my Shetland pony, my Arabian stallion and my lifelong passion for Arabian horses. I mentioned that I believe horses are emotional beings. A horse mirrors the emotions of the human trying to work with him. I have learned from training my young colt that if I am sad, he moves away. If I am afraid, he is nervous. If I am angry, he is more apt to bite or kick me. If I am happy, he wants to be close to me. If a horse sees an angry human who is not directing the anger towards the horse, I can see how the horse could be forgiving. But there is no point in directing anger towards a horse. One of my mother’s favorite pearls of wisdom is ‘negativity breeds negativity.’
There is no place for punishment in training a horse. Instead, hugging a horse is a wonderful lesson. When I am hugging Zum, it teaches him that he can be handled, restrained and controlled without it causing him any physical or emotional pain. I love to hug Zum! He loves it too!
I am sure that my horses meditate all the time. I see my horses stand quietly, breath deeply and stare into space. I teach meditations that enhance healing, self-development and spiritual realization. I am positive that my horses know these meditations innately!
I was asked today if I could teach people a class called Meditation with Horses. Yes, I can! Meditation offers numerous benefits. Meditating on breath lowers blood pressure and eases anxiety. Horses represent courage, grace, strength and happiness in many cultures. Meditating on the qualities of the horses in the presence of horses will enrich your daily life and deepen your ability to feel self-confidence and joy. Horses are powerful beings!
I teach Hatha Yoga in Carefree and Scottsdale, Arizona in the winters. I also teach Hatha Yoga in Santa Fe, New Mexico in the summers. Hatha Yoga reduces fatigue and soothes the nerves. I often use my yoga skills when training my young colt. I am teaching him to be patient and calm.
Zum goes through learning cycles. One day, he seems to know the right response. The next day, he tries every option other than the right response. As long as I don’t change the cues or the rewards and keep everything the same, he works through the ups and downs until his performance is consistent.
The entire teaching process is a positive experience for both Zum and I. Zum lets me put the shipping helmet on his head easily now! I make the experience reassuring for Zum so he develops confidence in me and my leadership.