The last year I worked mainly with more ‘challenging‘ horses. Horses with whom people had difficulties because of their behaviour and who lacked trust in humans.
Agressive and difficult
Some of the horses ran away when they saw a human coming with a halter, some reared up when facing difficult situations and got labeled as ‘aggressive’, and others attacked humans, to make sure that they stayed away from them. Another category of horses shut themselves off completely, doing harm to themselves.
Humans are no good
What struck me in all these encounters was the lack of trust in humans. Some of these horses had been physically abused, others were neglected and almost starved to death, and many of them were used as an object and had their soul taken away from them. They obviously were convinced that nothing good could happen, when humans were around. How to show them, that they can trust sóme humans?
Finding the soul
When I meet horses who lack trust and show difficult behaviour, I look beyond their behaviour. Just as I would do with humans. No horse is born aggressively. No horse is born being terrified of humans. These horses are showing a behaviour which is obviously a defense mechanism. At one point in their lives, these horses needed to survive, and invented a coping mechanism. But they are more than that. Therefore I try to find their soul.
‘You can trust me’
Than I show them, that they can trust me, by being open, transparent, congruent and honest. No hidden agendas or masks. I show them my vulnerability and my confidence and tell them about my faith in their strength to overcome their past. When I don’t know what to do, I stop, pause, breathe, and I try to stay as calm, soft and clear as possible. As I honour their soul, I am not gonna overpower them, or use violence as a reaction.
My own experience
As well, I ask myself what Í need to be able to trust people. For me it is also difficult sometimes, to trust humans. I need people to be transparent, honest and congruent, in order to trust them. Don’t we all?
Last year I figured out that horses who are ‘not so easy to understand’, generally start to trust me, quite soon. I am convinced that it has to do with the fact that I am open, honest, calm and congruent in my behaviour.
When I hadn’t done so much healing done yet, my environment, could trigger my defense mechanisms easily. If ego took over from my soul, I reacted from hurt instead of love. That’s when horses can’t connect with us anymore. So I faced my pain. Now I am able to stay calm in more challenging situations. My old pain helps me to understand what horses need to be able to trust. Having overcome great deal of the pain, I can stay present in difficult situations, to give horses guidance. By healing ourselves we can help horses to trust again.
And what about you?
Can you stay calm when your horse shows unwanted behaviour?
What does trust mean for you?
How do you show that your horse can trust you?