The Third Adventure of Sunshine is the time I boarded her at Golden Golden Gate Stables in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. This is where Sunshine’s ground training began in preparation for riding her bridle-less. The story I am about to share with you did not look like training. It looked like fun so I will outline below the training that took place there. I followed these sequential lessons.
1. I seasoned her to being lead in walk, trot, canter, halt, and to wait indefinitely.
2. I developed her coping skills for scary situations.
3. I developed her complete trust in my leadership.
4. I seasoned her in ground driving accomplishing the same things I could do by leading her.
How to communicate from your natural instincts and true nature to become self-realized through training horses.
If you communicate from your true nature being with horses self-realization is the outcome. Here is how. Be Silent so you can step into the world of nature, your own nature and your horses nature. Let your attitudes and opinions drop away so you can return to the child mind. Become really present to the moment.
Thinking creates a busy mind and a loss of being present to the connection you are sharing with your horse. A busy mind will separate you from your horse and from yourself. The mind is only a service, it is not you, it is not authentic, it has no heart. The mind separates you from your life force. Be silent so you can really listen. A leader that listens can't help but reach the heart of the horse.
Observe, feel, connect, and respond. Lead in the moments when you are in resonance with your horse and yourself. If your horse is feeling a resonance with you and you feel in resonance with him your horse can not help but follow your lead. Keep your focus on your horse to stay in the flow. Use body languge that comes from a vital force within you. Lead and respond from your instincts and communicate through your feelings and your observations. If your horse will respond to you through your body laguge you have entered the authentic world of horses. Observe how your anthentic self is able to guide you in the moment so you will know yourelf more deeply. Horses bring us home. Horses can be great teachers of self-realization. In this world you are aware of the connection to all things.
The park was beautiful and a perfect place to share my days with Sunshine. There were paths and trails in nature and formal gardens with many places to explore in areas that were left natural. However, it did have its draw backs. Sunshine had to stay in a stall with no turn out and this was really foreign to her. She had experienced freedom in nature with her friends, but we made up for it. I spent all day with her in the park five days a week. Sunshine learned how to let herself out of her stall and did so on a regular bases after she had her dinner at least 2 days a week and then would unlock all the other horse's stalls to let them out as well.
Management did not figure out it was her for a long time. They felt that the act was done by vandalism. I was even of suspect. We did not have YouTube in those days to show the amazing things that animals will do so she was blessed with a lot of night recreational activities.
We were not allowed to use the arena so I used the long walks through the park to train her. In the park we could run across hoards of people, children, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, horses, carriages, street vendors, dogs, birds, musicians and on one occasion a marching bag pipe band. There was a lot for a horse to be afraid of. But there was a lot of times we saw nobody on our walks or just a few. On our walks when she became concerned I lead her to someplace when she could feel safe and relaxed there.
Then when the coast was clear we could head out again. I got so I could feel her concern and take her to a safe spot before you could act upon her fear. It became a game for us. I was able to bring comfort to her when she became fearful. She started feeling optimistic and when she became fearful she looked for my direction. She enjoyed running with me to safe spots and hiding. She wanted my leadership because she liked where I took her. I knew the way to her safety. She learned how to wait with me until the coast was clear so we could continue on our journey of adventure.
Bit by bit we began to go out further and further from the stables. We began to break the rules of the park from signs that said no horses beyond this point or stay off the grass. There was no place we did not go. We could hide from people or to greet them as family. We would sometimes go hide just to feel the secrets in nature where no one ever went.
In this silent world of adventyre of hide and seek in the companion of Sunshine I became self-realized and she did too in her own horse way. From the happiness that we exuded people were drawn to us and we made them happier. We were in a state of pure joy. The foot patrol would let us know the route they were on so we could avoid them and be able to go to forbidden places unnoticed. We could go any place as long as we left no traces that we had been there like leaving divets in beautiful cut laws or eaten flowers or her poop that was left behind or from torn up grass from running through it. Yes we did the golf course!
To say that Sunshine was bomb proof was an understatement at this point. We could handle anything or anybody. She would lead with no contact on the rope anywhere, at any speed, or stand as long I needed her to. We were as one and it was now time to start ground driving her.
She had not seen a surcingle and long lines so I took her to the tack room were many people hung around and I went in a saw my lunch and thought I would eat my lunch on a bench just out side the tack room door. This would give Sunshine a time to get use to the tack room and this new location. Then Sunshine did a strange thing. I had only sat their a few minutes and she tried to sit down on the bench with me. She was deturmend to sit down and I had to take all my strength to pull her off of it. I was a bit embarrassing and surprising but the people there were not surprised. They said it was something that would be very natural to her considering our relationship.
I was just a bit concerned about putting a surcingle on Sunshine and her seeing my long lines moving around her feet that it might frighten her and that it could brake our trust being restricted with this new tack that I put on her. But after the bench incident I was certain the opposite would be true and went about tacking her right up. We headed out on a quiet path where we would not be interrupted. The only difference on this walk we were sharing was that she was leading the way and I was following her. Being in the back and following her with two lines to suggest direction gives a horse the feeling it would have when being ridden.
Next blog will be on how I developed her in ground driving and about how how Sunshine learned English.
Have a great weekend! Be on the lookout for new horse and human sightings and may the horse be with you.