A Song for Alderlore

Amy Lafond participated in a workshop at Alderlore. Her experience resulted in a spontaneous composition of all the various energies of the Horses at Alderlore — each of the parts of this lyrical overture, represent each of the horses. Thank you Amy… enjoy

~ To Know the Horse is to Recognize the Self ~

 

Horses are magnificent beings.

We hope to understand their energy.

We hope to connect with their spirit

But how do we do this?

There is a “test” that we must pass

before the horse will reveal himself.

First we must be willing to approach
the horse in an honest and open way.

Then we must be able to dissolve
our “defense shield” – the layers
of our emotions that come between us.

We must be able to offer a balanced
and coherent presence for the horse to meet.

We must allow the encounter to unfold
on its own terms, in its own timeframe.

 
 The horse already “sees” you on a deeper level.

The horse senses your bio-electric field
the system of all your emotions.

The horse feels your subtle energy field
the system through which energy moves
within you and radiates outward to the world.

The horse already “knows” you on this deeper level.

If you don’t know this yourself
you present a puzzle to the horse.

On the outside you may have a smile and some kind words.
On the deeper level, you may be a bundle of nerves.

On the outside you might be dressed like the commander
shouting commands with all your training gear.
On the deeper level you may be spinning
in a whirlpool of ambition and  frustration.
 
On the outside you ask  the horse
for trust , companionship and love.
On the deeper level you yourself
are distrustful and hollow and
have nothing to offer in return.

This is a state of incongruence, that the horse rejects.

The Horse will remain a mystery to us
as long as we are not aware of our
Self at this deeper level.

~ To know the Horse is to recognize the Self  ~

Chickens Arrive at Alderlore!

We received 12 wonderful rare breed chickens for Christmas! 3 Maran Hens (the large wheaten colored ones) who lay mahogany-red eggs, 6 Serama Hens – the tiny ones — they are the world’s smallest chickens and lay eggs that are perfect for pickling or cob salads; and  three New Game Bantams — who look like chickens on stilts, or as we say in the video – velociptor raptors.

Oh! We also received 2 new fawn-colored ducks named Rosie and Ronnie. Thanks to Amy, here is a photo of them swimming with Drake and Drummer in the pond down by the barn.

Stallion Spirit

Yesterday was a beautiful Autum day. It was Sandy’s birthday. I took the day off, and Sandy, Amy and I trailered ChoCho and Hootch over to the horse park, Steep Rock. Hootch (the quarterhorse paint) thought it was a perfect day for relaxing. ChoCho & I took advantage of the rare opportunity for a good open space for him to race around in the sun, and celebrate his power, agility, grace & spirit…  > Let’s go to the video tape!

How to Catch a Horse – Approach

If you watch the previous video closely, you should see that the mare and her filly always move in parallel. You can see that no matter where they are running, how close or far apart they are, or what turns they make, they arrange themselves like this. Similarly, when approaching your horse, you should arrange yourself so that you are always parallel to the horse.

 

This position is the natural bonding position between horses. Just walking with your horse in this relationship of bodies  creates a kind of resonate  morphic field and will result in a significant difference in your horse’s attitude. Try it! It draws on the natural instincts of horses. Some horses have lost much of their instincts. Horses that have not spent enough time with their mothers, and have been raised in box stalls and paddocks all their lives, away from herd relations, are more difficult to bring around (see A Friesian’s Journey on the Path). But most horses — if they have lived a relatively “normal” life, can dig down into their past experience with their mothers, and understand what you are communicating here.

A few years ago I was interviewing for a horse -human teaching job. The horse in question was a spunky shetland pony. As I stood in the ring with the horse’s owner, talking about the horse and her daughter (the human part of the equation), the little pony ran around the ring, tossing his head, refusing to be caught. While I was talking, I kept making these little adjustments to my body, turning this way and that, depending on the angle and direction the pony was going. A couple of minutes later that pony was standing by my side “at attention” as if to say “ok, what do you want to do?” … and the owner was dumbfounded. Needless to say, I got the job.

If your horse is in a big wide field, you don’t have to keep up with him. You just have to keep walking with him, even from far across the pasture, in a way that keeps the plane of your body parallel to the plane of his. If the horse is turning inside to you, all you have to do is circle inside with him. If the horse takes a big bold, outside turn, you do not have to chase to the other side. Watch the video of the mare and her foal again. When the foal cuts to the outside, the mare “crosses over” and turns once again inside.

A person cannot keep pace with a horse. While approaching, then, you must create a “virtual path” to follow. Here is a diagram:

PreApproach

 The black line is the path of the horse. The yellow line is the path you would be taking, if you could keep pace with a horse running in an open field. Even if you could, there is no need to do so. To create a bonding situation, all you have to do is follow the virtualfollowing path with your body language.

You might almost just pivot in place like I did with the pony. Here is an illustration of the actual path you would take: VACT

 From the above illustration you can really see that the person actually crosses over his own path, though the person and the horse only cross-over “virtually”.

How to Catch a Horse

There are a lot of good techniques and sound advice on the topic of How to Catch a Horse. My approach helps contextualize or explain why some are more or less true, while others are more or less “wives tales.” My approach is based on observing herd behavior in horses, and interacting with a small herd of horses in an 80 acre open field for over 20 years.  The foundation of this approach is the same as the body language that establishes a bond between you and your horse — or even between you and a horse you’ve never met before.

 I do not recommend “pretending” that you do not want to catch your horse. Why would you want to establish that kind of duplicitous relationship with your horse? There is a kind of disconnect in this thinking that produces incoherence. You can feel the incoherence in your own mind as it tries to think what it isn’t thinking, mean what it doesn’t mean, and feign something that is not truly going on. This kind of incoherence the horse rejects.

The second kind of disconnect the horse rejects is incoherent body language. Few people understand how much we communicate to the horse with our body language. The horse is very keyed into the angle of our approach, the tilt of our shoulder, the expression/ angle of our hips, the cadence of our step.

Third, how we present ourselves to the horse, vis-a-vis the halter, rope and/or tack must also be coherent with what we are asking.

And finally, there is follow-through– what we do in the first 30 seconds (not to mention the next 30 years!) after we catch the horse is very important.

I would like to address each of these points individually. In practice they come all as a whole, but in this format, we need to dissect them one by one. Out goal will be to take  all these individual skillsets and combine them seamlessly into one coherent whole — which will naturally attract the horse to us.

Lets start by watching a video of a mare and her filly. What do you see?

Conscious Evolution

On Saturday the Horses at Alderlore presented a workshop for the cohorts of the Graduate Insititute’s  Master’s Program in Conscious Evolution. We had begun the day by reflecting on the notion of “consciousness going all the way down” — and what that means not only intellectually, but experientially. The class created some really interesting energy field drawings that demonstrated deep intuitive awareness between them and the horses. In the afternoon, we sat down together with Remington in the horse classroom (aka the barn) where Remington stole the show, and wove himself into the hearts and imaginations of the students, as we watched a wearied old thoroughbred tell us about happiness, silliness, the limitless joys of life and relationship with others.

I will never tire of learning from my horses– at the wonder of seeing them delight others in a way that seems so extraordinarily generous, but comes so naturally from them.

Special thanks to Amy Mielke for sharing the photos.

Pure Joy

If there were a “purpose” toward my work on being in relationship with the horse in a new way, then it is not so much about teaching the horse to live in the human world, under our set of languages, expectations, rules, categories, culture and sport– but it is for ourselves to learn how to be with the horse in his world, to cross over, so to speak, into a world that allows the radiance of Horse Energy to outshine even our human soul, and to dip into that stream of pure joy and exuberance which is the natural essence of Horse Spirit. My stallion Khemancho, is teaching me how to be with him there, and I can tell you — its pure joy – both horse and human being completely unbridled — becomes a dance beyond words.

Here, anyway, is what it looked like yesterday. At one point in the video I step backwards and fall on my fanny. ChoCho is so tuned into me, he thinks it is a “new move” and tries to lay his fanny down in the snow, too. WHAT A HOOT!