My Horse, My Mirror.

When I look at my horse I see myself.

No, I do not have a long, furry face, big pointy ears and a nose dripping with anticipation. (Although I do have big brown eyes … )

My horse is a reflection of my “self.”

When I became aware of that I realized that I could change in myself what I didn’t like, but the change had to begin with me.

So then my horse became my therapist.

The mystery of why I am the way I am and have done things the way I’ve always done them started to unfold when Bear trotted into my life.

Before his arrival almost six years ago, I thought ahead and took the positive step of enrolling in a horsemanship course with internationally-renown Canadian horse trainer, Chris Irwin (www.chrisirwin.com). Even though I had been around horses for most of my life I wanted to ensure that Bear and I got off on the right foot, and Chris’ course promised to teach me to “think horse, speak horse, and play horse games by horse rules” so I could “be the better horse” and my horse would learn to trust me.

It was one of the best things I could have done for myself … and my horse. What I hoped would simply nudge me up the path to being a better horse person/trainer actually became the catalyst for taking a good look at my life in general. I learned that the issues I had with my horse were mere reflections of greater issues that had plagued me for years — the inability to make a connection and keep it; getting stuck in transitions; being left behind; the overall heightened anxiety of my existence (which has recently manifested physically with adrenal fatigue), and other debilitating ways of being.

Sounds like I was a mess … and I was.

I learned that when I over-reacted, he over-reacted. When I wasn’t paying attention, he wasn’t paying attention. When I was stuck, he was stuck.

Horses live in the moment; they get their cues from us by reading our body language. I had no idea how fractured my life was until Bear — through his own hairy fits, spooks and other prey behaviour — made me sit up and take notice. Ultimately I knew that if I didn’t do something to bring my life into focus I would never be able to get Bear to focus on me and one, or both, of us would end up getting hurt.

So, my equine therapist sent me to therapy.

What I’ve been working on these past several years, incorporating the horse training techniques I learned from Chris and the knowledge of other caring professionals, is due to Bear’s call-to-action.

Perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned is that self-awareness is the key when desiring an authentic relationship with yourself and anyone else, never mind a horse.

The personal work I’ve done during the past several years has manifested an amazing, trusting relationship with my beautiful horse. Every time I look at him I see and feel the progress we have made together. We are better connected; our transitions are smoother; we are moving out of that stuck place and our confidence is increased.

When I look in the mirror that is my horse, I see love.

Copyright Aimwell Enterprises 2012

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