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Now is the Time for Horses

Horses do not live in the past or in the future. Their only concern is how things feel right now, in the present moment. In that present moment they either feel a sense of peace or feel fear and anxiety. Horses learn from past experience and from repetition of a task. They will bring their experience, as knowledge gained, into the present, as their survival is assured for them only by responding in the ‘now’.

It is very important that when we are working, playing or just ‘being’ with our horses that we bring ourselves fully into the present moment with them. Otherwise, our horse and we miss a great opportunity to fully connect. Not being fully present in the ‘now’, puts horse and human at a big disadvantage. How can we fully join with another if we are not fully present? If part of us is living in the past or the future, if even part of our attention is somewhere other than in the present, we shortchange ourselves and all those around us. All our interactions and communications suffer when we are only partially present. We lose part of our strength and our ability to function at our best. Horses are never just ‘partly’ here; they are always totally present in the moment.

What goes on for horses in the ‘now’? This is a great question. One worth putting our attention on. If the horse’s basic needs are met in the moment, i.e.: food, water and safety from predators, the next thing on the horse’s mind is relationship. By this I mean its relationships within the herd. Everyday the hierarchy of the herd gets challenged. This ‘order’ of leadership, this Equine board of directors undergoes a constant reshuffling of individuals. Older leaders eventually give way to younger stronger ones. It is a matter of survival that the younger horses constantly put a bit of pressure on the older ones to see if they are still fit to lead. This pressure is simply asking if the older horse is ready to yield or give way to the younger. This is not done viciously. There is no malice or intention to hurt the other horse. It is done with body language, gestures posturing and positioning. Actually, it is done rather kindly. It asks the question “are you still able to lead” as a service to the herd. It is giving something to the herd by taking this leadership role on. It is service to the group. The horse is egoless in this. It is not thinking “look at me I am offering to be the leader”. It is compelled to do this because it is compelled to serve the herd. To serve the betterment and survival of the group is the natural way of the horse. It does this selflessly, as a natural occurrence in its life.

So, it would seem that now is the only time there is for horses and that each moment of their lives is for giving. Actually, even running around and playing is part of their giving. Horse can been observed playing chase games, scratching each other with their teeth, licking and nuzzling each other and other behaviors that strengthen their bond with their herd mates. This is giving to the betterment of the group. It is service of a very high order, naturally. It is giving what is needed in every moment, appropriate for every situation.

Not only is every moment for giving for the horse, but horses forgive in every moment. This means they do not hold grudges. They will respond utilizing past learning, however, they do not hold grievances. If someone abuses a horse intentionally or not, and then realizes the errors of their ways and begins to treat the horse with respect and kindness, the horse will soon come to trust the human again, assuming the abuse didn’t last for too long. Even if the abuse has lasted for a long time, most horses will forgive their abusers eventually, if the former abuser is consistent with offering kindness.

We can now see how every moment for the horse is for giving and forgiving. How would it be for us if we could emulate this aspect of horses? Perhaps more peace would come into our lives, more happiness. It works in Nature for the herd, why not for us humans? Whenever we are not so concerned about what we can get or what we don’t have and focus on what we can give, a sense of peace is inevitable. A feeling of being joined with each other and not alone, of not being separate comes to us when we look to give as opposed to get. Consider the horse; forgiving, giving, playful, safe, living as fully as it can, in the ‘now’. Perhaps we can take a page from the Equine Book of Happiness and live more fully in the ‘now’ ourselves.