Happy New Year! It's the time when many of us, no matter how well or poorly we did things in the past, decide to wipe our slate clean, begin again and do better. A time when even for a brief moment, anything seems possible. This year we'll be more successful, kinder, thinner, eat healthier, be less judgmental, happier or more grateful.
All of these wishes are actually possible, but on one condition: we must do some things differently than last year. Often the reason many of us have difficulty being successful with diets has nothing to do with the diet. It's usually our lack of effort and commitment to the diet. The same is true for many things including... our relationship with our horse.
If we keep doing with our horse this year what we were doing last year, we'll keep getting what we were getting last year. That's great if we've been happy with our past results. But if some things have not improved to our liking, maybe we have to try something different.
When it comes to our riding and horsemanship what would we wish for in 2017? To win more shows, improve to the next level in our sport, ride with more confidence, help our horse become less spooky, feel safer on trail rides or simply have more fun. If our horse could talk, what might he or she tell us about their wish for 2017? Wouldn't it be nice if we also knew our horse's New Year's wish and could make it come true for them too?
There is a way to learn what your horse is saying to you and it's found in a method of equine communication called Natural Horsemanship. Horses speak to us with their body language. It's natural for them; it's how they speak to other horses. If we can learn their language and understand what they're saying to us with their behaviors, we can also discover their wishes for 2017.
For those who have heard the term -- Natural Horsemanship -- but are not quite sure what it is, it's simply a way of creating a positive relationship with your horse which employs this profound method of communicating using body language, touch and feel as opposed to force, fear and intimidation. It begins on the ground, which is natural for the horse and transfers to the horse's back, which is natural for the human. It's the way every breed of horse on the planet communicates whether they're wearing an English saddle, a Western saddle, going on a trail ride, or competing in Grand Pre-dressage.
We live in a time of partial attention. We are less aware, conscious or present to our very existence in the natural world or what we used to consider reality. Today, for many of us, reality is going from smart phones, to text messages, to emails, to voicemails, to Facebook, to iPads, to Xboxes or Flat Screen TV's. A few of us actually put on goggles and momentarily chose to live in a Virtual Reality.
Our horse's reality however is living in his surroundings, including us, and giving his 100% attention to the present moment. His reality is survival, eating, playing and being comfortable. There's no fear of the future or regrets from the past. And when we're with our horse he will know instantaneously if we are giving him 100% of our attention. If we don't give it...neither will he.
When we're with our horse are we truly connected to him? Do we know what he's telling us by "listening" to his body language? Do we take the time necessary to create a mutually rewarding relationship before we get on his back? What if we've done everything we know and it still needs improvement. Do we stretch ourselves to try something else even if it requires learning a new or different method?
I believe one-day people will no longer speak of or use the term "Natural Horsemanship". They will simply say "Horsemanship".
If you're looking to 2017 to be a year of fulfilling more of your dreams or wishes with your horse, then learning how to understand and communicate with him naturally before you get on his back might be a wonderful place to start. I guarantee your horse would wish for the same thing. Then you'll both have a Happy 2017. © Tim Hayes 2017
Tim Hayes is the author of RIDING HOME - The Power of Horses to Heal. It is this amazing power of horses to heal and teach us about ourselves that is accessible to everyone and found in the pages this book. To learn more about the book please visit: http://www.ridinghome.com/. Every book ordered will benefit children of families in need, veterans with PTSD and children with autism. For Natural Horsemanship Clinics, Private sessions and for more articles & blogs by Tim Hayes go to: http://www.hayesisforhorses.com/