I feel we need to honor the spirit of the horse – their freedom, grace, beauty, generosity, and love
and maintain this unbroken spirit at all costs.
A journey in trust, respect, confidence, and communication
Through liberty work, one can explore different leadership styles and skills. This setting allows the horse to choose to seek out and follow a strong leader or to leave if the horse feels abandoned and has to defend itself on its own. Horses are very aware of the different energies that arise from humans –leadership, courage, fear, tension, and domination without compassion. Horses positively respond and seek out Soul Leadership that embraces courage, compassion and connection and move away or disappear inside from fear, tension, and domination.
To be leaders for our horses we need to feel grounded and sure of ourselves. We need to be centered as generous beings that are there to support the horses so that the horses can trust and follow and choose to willingly be in our presence.
Given space to freely roam, the horse does not need to connect with us and is fine and complete without us. He is a horse being a horse. If we want to connect, we need to connect with him. To start this journey to connection, we need to understand how horses interact and connect with each other in natural settings.
Horses in natural settings live in herds and survive as prey animals through bonding with each other. Horses as herd animals work within the hierarchy of dominating or being dominated. In the natural herd there are leaders and followers. There is no middle ground. Each herd has a lead mare and a stallion who work together to keep the herd safe; lead mare in front – and stallion behind. All of the members of the herd willingly follow the leaders with confidence and trust that the leaders will keep them safe. The hierarchy is always changing by successful challenges by lesser stallions and mares to become the new leaders.
Horses as prey animals are very aware of their surroundings and respond quickly to the slightest changes in posture or energy in the lead mare or stallion. For horses to survive, they need to communicate with each other by being acutely in tune with different energies and to accurately remember dangerous situations. This awareness always keeps them in the present current moment and keeps them in connection with the leaders and with each other. By recalling past dangerous scenarios, they can use them to help them be safe in the present moment. These memory scenarios can witnessed in abused horses. Abused horses are constantly on guard to any situation that has brought them pain or fear in the past and openly display behavioral survival actions.
A horse will leave or fend for itself if it feels that there is a lack of leadership. For humans to be safe around these half-ton plus reactive animals, we need to become their leaders. When humans lead through courage, compassion, connection, awareness, and mindfulness, , the horse can develop trust and relax into the secondary role of follower. To successfully become a horse’s leader and to connect through trust, we need to be courageous, compassionate, connected, aware, and mindful leaders – leaders that lead from our souls.
The open herd setting allows the horse to choose to seek out and follow strong leaders or to defend himself if the horse feels abandoned or without leadership.
“At the deepest level, a leader is the symbolic soul of the group. His role is to fulfill the needs of others… The inspired leader’s power base comes not from other people but from her very being, and the path she walks is guided by her own soul. Its hallmarks are creativity, intelligence, organizing power, and love.”
Chopra, Deepak . The Soul of Leadership: Unlocking Your Potential for Greatness. Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 2010
Horses are very aware of the different energies that arise from humans –leadership, courage, fear, tension, and domination without compassion. Horses positively respond and seek out Soul Leadership that embraces courage, compassion and connection and move away or disappear inside from fear, tension, and domination.
Through liberty work, we are handed a mirror by our horses and we are given the chance to observe our energies and behaviors and to see how our horses respond.
Liberty work can be dangerous and can result in more separation between us and our horses if fear, anger or domination come into play.
Liberty work should be started with the help of a professional.