by Liz Mitten-Ryan
I feel strongly about this topic as I have a herd of fourteen warmbloods that have lived without bits and shoes. They are as God made them, living on 320 acres, of meadows, hills and rocky terrain, enormous, well fed, 1500 pound animals who are joyous and free and in perfect health. They run on flint hard feet, connecting to and absorbing the energy of the Earth.
Why is it humans feel a need to interfere with what is natural, taking away the life that affords sustenance. Horses need to roll, graze and run on feet that touch the Earth, pumping the blood through their bodies with every hoof beat. They need friends and freedom for the health of their bodies and minds, and nights spent under the stars.
Why do humans, confine, control and command such wondrous creatures, when connection and communication will fulfill our dreams.
I have come to understand that there are two forces in the world – LOVE and Fear. When fear surfaces we are limited to a smaller version of our true selves. We are light beings, unique and special in variation, and no less than each created thing, we are spiritual equals. I also have come to know that humans are not superior but only different.
My herd has lived with LOVE since the moment they birthed into my arms, and since then they have been spoken to, played with, and respected in every way. They are offered an opportunity to be the best they can be. Horses, being prey animals, have innate fears that can only be dissolved through a relationship whose foundation is based on patience and LOVE. Horse nature is transcribed at a cellular level, passed on to each newborn, as a script for survival. As we journey into relationship with each new horse child, we are healing the memory of the human/horse, predator/prey relationship. I have noticed that inroads built with my mares are passed on to their babies, and from them to the next generation.
This is how all horses should be treated, but sadly, there are many who bear the scars of pain, fear and distrust from the hands of humans. One of the things I love most about horses is their ability to forgive. It is my theory that fear has played the major role through the centuries of our relationship with horses. We are in effect taming enormous wild beasts that could in a second destroy us if they so desired. In reality, these powerful creatures are amazingly kind and generous if treated considerately.
I have several years of daily consideration behind me when I first ride my three year olds. There is never a problem. I have shared with them the basics on the ground. We walk, trot, whoa, back, move our shoulders and hinds, and all this translates to understanding when I first sit on them.
For riding, a rope halter with some clip on leather reins is all I use. Interestingly, when friends bring horses, particularly those who are difficult in bridle, the moment I remove the offending hardware and ask for the basic equestrian movements, I am rewarded with a soft, comfortable compliance. It’s as if they are saying ‘thank you.’ Imagine, if you can, being constricted, unable to breath, and in pain. Could you possibly relax and enjoy an exercise based on domination and punishment. It is so obvious, yet integral to the program of usury that man maintains with his dependence on horses.
Horses are as individual as humans, and just as there are very few athletes who enjoy the rigors of high performance, there are few horses as well. It is not natural for a horse to jump six feet, or prance around in collection for hours. Is it because we are asking unnatural and difficult things from horses, that the instruments of torture must be employed? My horses enjoy learning and playing together. They love an adventure in the hills, and just like hiking with a friend, we take turns choosing the direction, volunteering the pace and stopping for a snack.
Riders have been warned forever against the pitfalls of allowing a horse to eat grass, determine the pace or do anything it wants to; almost like all will be lost if the horse enjoys a simple pleasure. Why? In a friendship, partnership, or relationship, it is all about consideration, love and respect. Can we be that afraid to open to the possibility of a mutually rewarding arrangement? Even in a work environment we can certainly consider the horses comfort as we would a human.
We are moving rapidly now in the direction of an evolving consciousness, towards oneness and connection with all life. There is only one consciousness in all creation:
“We are all, each and every little quark, united in the same cosmic soup. There are spaces but no boundaries. Boundaries are only thoughts.” – Prima, speaking for the Herd, in the ‘Truth According to Horses.’ It is time to understand the atrocity of a horse/human relationship based on “Do it or I’ll punish you” It is time to move on to ‘invitation and reward’ – a social interaction more similar to how we treat our family and friends, and should certainly treat all sentient beings.
As Prima says: “You and I can change the world, one mind at a time, – Imagine”
Imagine sharing the inherent desire for freedom, with all life.
Liz Mitten Ryan has co-authored four books with her horses, winning a total of nine independent Publishing Awards. She is also offers workshops teaching a new level of consciousness and connection with animals and the Earth and certification in Equinistic Healing at www.equinisity.com