We’re back in SC, and instead of sitting on the beach, I’m sitting in a barn. My daughter loves horses and having a few riding classes in SC is immensely more affordable than doing the same in Washington DC.
As I watch her prep the tackle (having no idea if I even referenced that correctly), I’m reminded of my limited exposure to these graceful creatures. Some five years ago, while at the majestic Miraval resort in Arizona. My best friend, Deepti, and I attended the highly acclaimed Equine Experience developed by Wyatt Webb. (Spolier alert: If you want to go to Miraval and register for this experience, which you should if you are at Miraval, you may want to stop reading this now.)
The Experience starts with being taught and shown how to get a horse to lift its foot to clean its hoof. It looks frightening because horses are big and powerful creatures and you are exposing your fragile face to its hard hoof, but seemed simple to enough to replicate, which were the instructions.
When it came my turn, I’d realized it was anything but simple. I had to step back and reset at least 5 times before the horse eventually complied.
What was the point of the exercise? Communication. Be present and be clear. The horse didn’t speak English, so verbal instructions were pointless. Our intentions, whether we want them to be or not, are part of our communication.
If you try walking up to a horse to clean its hoof and are adrift in thoughts about why your boyfriend didn’t call or your boss hasn’t praised your brilliant business proposal, then that horse is going to ignore you and say “I think neigh.” If instead we approach with clear intention, we can proceed with confidence. And yes, the horse willingly complies.
As the late, great Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin said “Be confident in what you’re doing. if you’re not going to be confident, you might as well not be doing it.”
Rest in peace, Aretha. Respect.