It wasn’t until recently that I questioned my ability to have an impact on the people around me.
Something that changes when we grow up, is our attitude of impact. Do you ever notice how small children assume that they’ll have an impact on whoever they’re closest to? They call ‘Mommy’ for ten minutes, absolutely sure that they’ll be heard. They sidle up to their favourite relative, taking for-granted that their smile will be enough to woo a treat from that pocket. There is never a doubt as to who the attention is on.
I kept this attitude of impact for a little longer than some …but it slowly faded, as it does with everyone. We begin to doubt our own intentions (because nothing is ever as it seems), and we compare ourselves to others (because the grass is always greener on the other side), and we come to realize that we don’t know everything – does this now mean that we shouldn’t try to have an impact?
Owning a horse like Storm is as challenging as it is fun, because Storm is like an opinionated child. He has, and always will have, an impact on those around him. He is not the impacted, he is the one who remains himself through all types of challenges. How, then, can I train him up to be a mature version of himself if I’ve lost my will to impact?
Your presence matters …
Loving yourself begins and ends with knowing that you’re part of a living body. Everything you do has an impact, whether you notice it or not. Not only is this a BIG key to remember when working with horses, but it’s something to remember in life. Whenever you step out the door, the universe and the earth changes slightly under your feet and by your voice. This may be a terrifying thought for you, or it might be beautiful. It’s a reminder to not give up on your attitude of impact, because you’re impacting no matter what you do.
You deserve better …
When your horse pushes you, he is doing what a follower in the herd would never do. When your horse follows you easily and respectfully, he is honouring you with ‘lead horse’ status. There is nothing wrong, evil or unjust about you demanding respect from the beings around you, least of all your horse. I am NOT suggesting an autocratic dictatorship where your horse learns certain, arbitrary, commands to do your sovereign will. I’m talking about common sense. For example: Storm stepped on my foot a week ago. This is embarrassing for me to talk about because it was my fault completely. I will explain this to you step by step.
A. I went to visit the horses in an insecure state, feeling overwhelmed and powerless about my job and family situation.
B. Instead of simply entering into the herd, quietly and respectfully, I interrupted Storm’s routine to itch his fly bites.
C. Storm then, slowly and deliberately, stepped on my foot.
Seems like a normal situation. Everybody goes to their horses hoping to escape their life problems, and that’s the real problem! Horses are a species that have a truly elegant code of honour and respect. When I rolled in and disregarded that system, I was lucky they didn’t chase me out with ears pinned and teeth barred! I was stunned and felt angry after the incident. My change of attitude from weakness into anger told me something: my dignity is worth something. I realized that I deserved better than the dignity I was saving for myself. I give Storm all the dignity in the world, but I didn’t realize that meant giving myself some as well …
Having an impact means being equally self-serving and giving towards others.
It’s time we realize that having an impact actually means putting power behind our motives. If our motives are good, then good things will follow our push. If our motives are unclear, the results will be less than optimal. Horses are still operating under that attitude of impact. In order to interact with them peacefully and joyfully, we must find that attitude again.