Introduction and Overview
The Chair Challenge is a program offering twenty-one guided meditations while Sharing Territory with horses. Sharing Territory is the first Ritual in my Waterhole Ritual program. It is the first ritual that horses do when getting to know each other. It builds loyalty and attachment by achieving a companionship experience and connection in the moment in harmony and unity. This step creates, re-establishes, and deepens the bond by increasing your horse’s desire for your companionship. It is a companionship activity without interaction. It is the most used ritual that horses share between horses.
Getting comfortable Sharing Territory is the first step in developing the power of the pause as a training aid. Sharing Territory will empower your leadership communication. When Sharing Territory with your horse the easiest way to get comfortable is to put yourself in “neutral”. This means being in the moment, wanting nothing, accepting things as they are, and becoming quiet so you can truly relax. This also means having no agenda. This is a state beyond emotions. It is a deep state of well being and acceptance.
While Sharing Territory with your horse you will discover your true nature. When you shift your focus to the moment and allow the sense of time to disappear what comes out of that is a deeper connection with your horse, with your own nature and all living beings.
Being present to nature in the moment; bonds are growing, ebbing and flowing so perfectly, breathing their relationships alive without effort. The chair challenge will bring this awareness to you. Living in this awareness brings well-being to your soul, where you will discover your true nature.
Humans are not generally present to the moment like animals are. If we were we would easily be able to get along and communicate with them. The chair challenge is designed to bring your whole being present to moment.
In this practice of being present over a short time you will be able to communicate with horses effortlessly, easily, and naturally. You will know when to lead, when to follow, when to pause, and when to act to be able to develop a true working bond with a horse. You will know what to allow and what not to allow. You will discover how to use flexible boundaries to create loyalty and a magical relationship in life, for yourself and with horses. When boundaries are not flexible relationships suffer. Spending time with Horses in the moment you will find the deepest well being that life as to offer.
The Chair Challenge was developed so that you can take some time out of your busy life to slow down and get plugged back into your well-being. The challenge is that you live each day for the next 21 days focused on feeling a sense of connection and well being with things as they are. From this well-being you will get back to your true nature; back to when you felt free and the world was your playground. This awareness will open a door to having your instincts working for you. This 21day guided meditation is an introduction into the practice of awareness that not only benefits the relationship of your horse, but is an ongoing contribution to yourself.
The purpose of the meditations is to bring you awareness that your true nature is joyful, strong and vital. These meditations will bring you to a loving state of resonance within your own being and this well-being is so strong that it will carry over into your daily activities.
The Chair Challenge will cause a shift in you, bringing you present to the moment, without opinions or judgments or impatience, without wanting anything more from your horse than to sit and Share Territory.
When this shift in consciousness happens, it is palatable shift. It is like a light switch being turned on. Many people have experienced spontaneous tears of joy and have reported it felt to them like their tears were washing away the false self to experience a fresh new start. When a vitality of spirit comes into your being, your horse will want to be near you, to stand with you in your newfound joy for simply being alive. Your joy will also bring him well being. By being in a state of neutral, giving yourself over to the magic of the moment and being present to the growing bond, will draw your horse to you.
This Chair Challenge will take you to a new consciousness, where you will experience each new moment in complete awareness. This is a consciousness that lives in the world of “now.” We are going to proceed forward into a new territory, into the “now,” where all animal consciousness resides. In this world you will become awake to the diversity, unity, and harmony dancing in the fire of all things.
“Now” is where life begins and self-realization springs forth. Being fully awake to this moment, in a state of bliss, you are wholly present to the world of horses. If this is not your world, it will be soon! It will come from the every-day practice of experiencing well-being and gratitude, in the company of your horse. In this state of renewal you will realize that you are part of the whole and we are all one in the dance of life. Getting back to your true nature, your horse will be magically and magnetically drawn to you in the same way you are drawn to him. Enjoy!
Choosing your Program:
- You can choose the amount of time you would like to spend with your daily meditations.
- Fifteen minutes a day Sharing Territory with your horse is healing and will bring you a deeper connection to your horse and to your own well-being.
- Thirty minutes a day Sharing Territory you will receive a profound self-realization and a magical connection with your horse.
- One hour a day is life changing. The self-realization will carry over into your daily life. By sitting for an hour a day Sharing Territory with your horse, you will have by far more ability to feel a sense of well-being throughout the day than by doing a shorter meditation practice.
- You will receive a guided meditation by email each day for 21 days
- Somedays you will receive meditation overviews
- Each of these meditations are to be done with your horse
- Only use a horse that you feel safe to sit down in a chair with and who will be calm in your presence.
- Carry a picture of your horse with you wherever you go. Take a moment out of each day and feel the presence of your horse and know that the spirit within your horse is also within you. Feel your horse’s presence and feel how your day is more peaceful because of the well-being your horse brings to your heart. Enjoy these feelings whenever possible throughout the day.
- Your true nature is made up of pure joy. Anything else you feel is not you, this is what you will be shedding. Throughout the day take a moment and feel this well-being within you and within your breath. This well-being is your authentic self.
Safety with the Horse and how to use a Reed
When sharing territory with horses at liberty it is most important to both be safe and to bring out the bond and respect we are looking for. Harmony between horses in a herd is created through social behaviors that follow a code of conduct that brings about well being and connection. This code is what we will be asking our horse to respect as he relates to us when we are sitting in a chair. Practicing the Chair Challenge gives us the opportunity to develop a horse to be soft, willing and respectful when he is in our company. This is how horses respond to each other when they reach a harmonious connections. If a horse walks up to another horse with the intention to move him that horse will move and will drop his personal boundaries. Both horses are responding to their herding instincts. If a horse walks up to another horse with the intention of joining the horse he will look for personal boundaries and honor them. The horse he is approaching will be very clear about how close the approaching horse may come. When your horse approaches you, you want to be very clear in how close you will allow him to be to you. All horses have a right to their personal space, but when they ask to respond to their herding instinct they will drop their personal boundaries and move on. This is why you can ask your horse to move away from you. When working at Liberty you need to follow this code as well as to know how to get your horse to share this flow of connection with you. Horses train horses to observe the code of the herd. Thisis important because you are actually training your horse to follow this code with you. Understanding the code of the herd will give you an inner blueprint to intuit how to use a reed. Let’s look at how to use personal boundaries with your horse. Horses use flexible boundaries in how they relate to one another, from whisker touching to needing lots of room. If you can make your horse aware of your personal boundaries it will grow the bond and the respect the horse has for you. If your horse is soft and willing you would allow him to be very close to you. When a horse is harsh and too forward or would not want to leave your personal space when you ask you will move him out of your personal space as far as necessary to bring out his willingness to respect your personal boundaries. These kind of interactions in sharing will cause your horse to want your company and at the same time be respectful. He will be more willing to follow your lead.
Following this code is easy, there are not a bunch of rules to worry about, rules are not flexible or conditional, relationships are. You are simply building the respect along with a deeper bond by asking your horse to follow this code. To review, when the horse is soft and gentle and willing to move out of your personal space, the bond grows. The more time you spend in these kind of interactions with your horse will continue to grow the bond. When you ask him to leave your personal space the bond also deepens from the respect you gain from him. This will help you to create a working bond and the flow of connection. This bond is as deep as the bond that horses share with one another. The bond you develop in the chair challenge sharing flexible boundaries and gently bringing out herding instincts will establish trust, respect, focus and willingness. Asking your horse to respect this code you will develop a collaborative, 50/50 relationship with your horse. It will help you to connect to the very heart of your horse. A horse needs your guidance to treat you with respect and understanding.
The Reed and how to use it:
I get my reeds from Michael’s Crafts store, Pier 1, Wal-Mart or a dried flower shop. If you cannot find a store that carries them, find a branch in nature that has the same properties of a reed. Before the bond is developed a horse does not respond as gracefully to a rope or a whip as he would with a reed. The reed is not like a whip or a rope. A rope is too limp and a whip is too stiff - and horses don’t like them. Once the bond is formed they are comfortable with it. The reed is a natural grass substance found in nature. Horses learn to listen to grasses to alert them to the things around them. Horses usually respond to the reed well and have a great ability to understand your meaning because of its properties. Seldom, if ever, would you need to touch your horse with the reed. It is only to be used as a directional aid.
The reed is about as thick as a turkey skewer at the fat end and as fine as a blade of grass at the tip, and is “wiggly”. If you have a horse that is frightened of it being in your hand, this is how to fix it: Show the horse the reed and then put the reed behind your back, or drop it and then hand him a carrot. Do this a few times until you have taken the edge off of your horse, but be careful not to “bombproof” him to the reed. Do not let your horse eat the reed. It is really important that when you get him used to the reed that you don’t desensitize him so much that if you swished it back and forth in front of him he wouldn’t want to move away from it.
Once your horse will let you have the reed in your hand and stand next to you with it, I want you to walk with it in a large space with your horse at Liberty. Using the reed like a Geiger counter, hold the tip of it about 4” from the ground, and move it back and forth in front of you slowly, walking all around the area that your horse is in. Don’t walk close to your horse, just walk all around him, and try to avoid him and watch what he thinks of it.
When he is comfortable, I want you to walk towards him and start swishing the reed faster and faster, slowly increasing the speed progressively on your approach until he moves away from you and while doing this use your body language to suggest that you want him to move. Travel faster with each step in his direction. Lower your body posture with your head down and swish the reed faster and faster on your approach. If that doesn’t move him - start using the reed higher in the air, swishing it around the area that the horse is in. I call this “painting the sky”. Whatever you do don’t swish the reed AT the horse, only around the horse. You don’t want your horse to feel that you are wanting to hit him with it. We are only trying to move energy.
The higher and faster you swish it - the more he’s going to want to get away from it. It becomes a nuisance, like a fly, and your horse will want to walk away from the thing causing the nuisance. As soon as he starts to walk away from it, you stop swishing the reed and you walk away from him. This way he learns to move away from an active reed. Once you have done this, if you wish, you can toss a carrot further out so that he continues his journey away from you. This will help him to further understand that you liked that he moved away from you. When your horse responds to the reed by not being too fearful or not paying too much attention to it , you can now begin to share territory with your horse because you were able to control your horses behavior when you are sitting in a chair.