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Linda Tellington-Jones with Dablino at the 2011 Xenophon Symposium.

Linda Tellington-Jones with Dablino at the 2011 Xenophon Symposium.

 

From DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL by Linda Tellington-Jones with Rebecca M. Didier

Miracles surround us, on a large and small scale. It is on a personal level that we ascertain whether an occurrence qualifies as miraculous. My life has been full of what I consider miracles—from the simple unexpected to the extraordinary. Many of these have had to do with the animals, in yards, pastures, and lakes, on mesas, steppes, and mountaintops, both those in the wild and at home, who have graced my life with their essence.

While the extraordinary is easy to recognize, it is the more commonplace miracles that you must be sure not to take for granted. On many occasions, the most seemingly insignificant of moments can either indicate a tidechange (one small step in a succession of small steps that eventually equal an evolution) or it is, in itself, so integral to progress that your horse learns and performs in an entirely different manner from that moment forward.

Riding a horse is a series of small miracles. It is a miracle that this powerful animal allows you to sit upon his back. It is a miracle he chooses to follow your direction (in most cases), to earn your friendship, your praise, and your loyalty in an intense form of reciprocity seen in few other human-animal relationships. But the miracles don’t end there—each time you ask for the most specific of movements, each time you focus on the most subtle of cues, each time you brush your leg against the horse’s side and receive a gentle, controlled response, you have experienced a small miracle for which you should be thankful. Remembering to give thanks and express your gratitude for these things should be something you work at daily. I remind myself of this each morning when I rise and each night before I journey into the dream world.

Although whether or not miracles are brought about by divine power may be a point of debate, it is not one that concerns me in this book. Instead, I prefer to acknowledge that events do happen in life that are surprising, inspiring, and in every estimation “good,” and in these instances I choose to recognize them as “miraculous.” With this attitude as part of your day-to-day existence, an unparalleled relationship with your horse can be the result.

 

DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL is available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

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“Intent” is a bit of a buzz word around horses these days. Supplied with a variety of related definitions by Merriam-Webster, and the scientific and pseudo-scientific communities, it is most often used in reference to a rider or trainer “having the mind, attention, or will concentrated on something or some end or purpose.” Horses, by nature, survive by a keen awareness of “intent,” which may be due to the near constant exchange of energy that occurs between beings, each other, and their environment.

“Directed intention,” writes bestselling author Lynne McTaggert in The Intention Experiment, “appears to manifest itself as both electrical and magnetic energy, visible and measurable by sensitive equipment.”

 

Horses can be aware of our intent...before we are. (Photo by Keron Psillas)

Horses can be aware of our intent…before we are. (Photo by Keron Psillas)

 

“It is possible for a horse to be aware of our intent (our determination to act in a certain way) before we are conscious of it,” says classical trainer Dominique Barbier in THE ALCHEMY OF LIGHTNESS, the intriguingly philosophical book he wrote with Dr. Maria Katsamanis, recently published by TSB. “On the molecular level, transmission of intent occurs before our human consciousness is ‘up to date.’ I think that animals have the extraordinary ability to know ‘in the now’ when things are in the process of happening. Their security, their safety, is based on that knowing. In the wild, when the horse is not aware of the mountain lion’s proximity, he is eaten, gone. Therefore, he has developed a very important ability to be able to perceive another’s intent.

“In our case, it is the ‘picture’ in our head that he sees perhaps even before we do. He grabs it instantly. This is why in my book Dressage for the New Age I talk about the ‘two minds’: the mind in the front, which the horse can read, and the mind in the back that the horse cannot read. For instance, if we think that we would like to have the horse do a flying change in the corner after the short side, generally the horse does it immediately rather than waiting for the corner (of course, not all horses but most). This is why it is very important to ‘separate’ our two minds. In order to perform the flying change as we wish, we must have our front mind say, ‘I will keep my normal canter,’ while in the back of our mind we know that we will be asking for a flying change. When we do not learn to separate our two minds, horses (generally) will execute what we want them to do in the moment.

“This brings us back to why we must learn to be instead of do. For those people who have limited awareness of self and of energy, the horse definitely gets it first. When we are not present, we are not even part of the picture. In riders today, this is often the case…and that is why most horses look sleepy, or bored, or both.”

 

Enjoy this lovely inside glimpse of horses that are clearly neither sleepy nor bored at Barbier Farm:

 

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Ready to explore the power of your intent, and the many other physical, spiritual, and emotional connections that occur between horse and rider? THE ALCHEMY OF LIGHTNESS is available at the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is always FREE.

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