Balance, the great equalizer of the Universe
How the universal law of balance can help us build natural relationships with our horses, enhancing health, harmony, ease and deep relaxation.
In short, balance is in-breath and out-breath. In the (very) long run, it is karma.
And yes, there is a whole lot in between. Yin & Yang, night & day and some stuff we might not even see play out in one lifetime.
But when it comes to our connection with horses, this universal concept can be a game changer for your relationship and the health of your horse. So in very simple words.
Every input will call for an output
Every action or non-action has a response. Nothing, really nothing goes unnoticed. It is a universal law.
So let’s make a worldly example in Cape Town right now: A few years ago, we were hit with a major drought. No water was available to the point of extreme crisis.
Now, 2023 a few years down the line, we got hit with the storm of the century bringing a huge amount of water and floods in a very short time. These are two extremes, which have essentially balanced itself out. So if we were to draw the average rain throughout those years, we might end up at a “normal” average amount. The climate has gotten out of balance, yes. So the impact is more extreme. But if you look at it from a bird’s eyes’ perspective, all is normal in average.
In a very practical, daily context: throw a rock (energy input) and see what happens (energy output). Most likely the impact area of the rock will have a dent – pushing away energy. Or if you throw it through a glas, the energy will be released in the breaking of the glas. You get the point right?
Now let’s explore this concept in our daily lives with horses. As conscious horse(wo)man, I’d love to invite you to look at Balance in your horses life. Here are a few inspirations to start with:
If your horse is pushed away by another horse, what does he/she do to balance it out? Pass on the input pressure to another horse, swoosh the tail or walk away?
Where does this energy input go? It goes somewhere. It can also be absorbed into the body, so in the case where your horse would not show any outward reaction. This is how tension builds.
Just watch and observe this. It shows you a lot about how your horse is digesting input (or pressure). “Angry horses” might leash out to the next lower one in hierarchy. Horses with balanced emotions might set kind boundaries. Shut down horses might not even flinch and absorb it into the body.
Is your horse moving forward in balance with your leg aids? Or do you feel you put in a lot and nothing comes out? Is your input balanced to your output? And if there is not much coming out, where does this extra pressure / input go?
Just think “lazy horses”. If your legs become strong and nagging, but your horse is not moving faster (because it cannot!), where will all your input energy end up? Besides creating huge amount of frustration or a shutting down attitude, it will sit somewhere in the body.
It might in the end show itself through health struggles or your horse might explode one day – and no one saw it coming. Well this horse kind of had it coming. But over a long period of time. It is just balancing.
Is your horse rolling after a ride because he or she feels good? Is is a positive letting go? Or because the horse needs to balance stress and pressure?
This is a good one. It can have multiple layers. Look at it closely. When you are very in tune, you’ll feel the energy of the roll.
During a bodywork treatment, does your horse yawn? Now this could mean, it is releasing tension. But which tension? Is it balancing out the extra pressure which is put into the body by the practitioner?
Or is the body actually releasing and balancing past trauma and residual tension?
A good way to observe this is the way the horse cooperates with the practitioner. If you need a second person to hold the horse still, so the practitioner can work, you most likely will get yawns from overwhelm and extra tension put into the horse during the treatment. Horses who work WITH a practitioner will go into a very relaxed mode and surrender nicely to the treatment. Then a yawn is a beautiful and honest surrendering and letting go. (Love those!)
The horse’s body
Has your horse an equal visual exterior front and back? Or is one area developed stronger than the other? And if yes, which area compensates to restore balance to the outside? Which body parts want to restore balance? Are there strong muscles somewhere, where there shouldn’t be?
In thoroughbreds I often see muscle pockets on the inside of the front legs, close to the chest muscle. Because the horse has never learnt to work healthy over the top line, the front has to work extra hard and pull the entire horse.
But all the horse’s body is designed to do, is the balance out (or compensate) inefficient movement.
Health & disease
This one is one of my favourites. Whenever my horses or clients’ horses are sick or show a certain symptom, I am asking myself: what is being balanced out? What does the horse need a break from? For something like tendon and leg injuries, rest is often prescribed by the vet. So what does the horse need resting from and could we have avoided the injury by respecting the horse’s needs for regular (training) pauses or a more gentle approach to exercise?
Another example: EMS horses store a lot of energy and have very little ability to let life through. Instead they are taking life on. What is behind all the fat pockets and build ups? What is being balanced by absorbing it into the body and holding on to it?
These questions are very very valuable and the second component is equally fascinating: Why NOW? With a bit of perspective and wisdom, timing is never random but always on point and you might see the bigger picture at work. Whatever is shown is just a balancing out and it’ll be connected to your horse and yourself.
How does your horse balance nature? Is it behaving equally each day? Or in harmony with sun, wind or rain? How does this behaviour bring balance?
A day in the heat is spent differently then a day in the rain. Because a different balance is needed in the body. But if riders have the same plan every Wednesday, instead of tuning into what is needed for harmony on the day – won’t we create an imbalance here? We will certainly see a reflection somewhere in the horse’s body or behaviour.
Which periods are periods of stillness and how are they balanced with periods of activity? Watch herds. They have periods of resting, play and grazing. It is a fine play of balance of activity and inactivity. Knowing that and respecting this natural wisdom, which time of day are we picking for rides then? Are we interfering or collaborating with the natural flow? Collaboration is balance!
And finally, how much do you practice BEING with your horse in balance with DOING stuff with your horse.
DOING we all know and do well. Picking hooves, riding, halter on, halter off, massage, treatments, outride, grooming, walking, worrying, exercising, talking, brushing… the list is long.
BEING has no activity. It only is. Being present to your horse’s life without interfering and still sharing the most intimate and lovable space of connection.
It is essentially tapping into what herds naturally do together in times of rest. How much BEING are you bringing to your horse’s life?
Balance is key
Balance means health, harmony, joy and growth. Balance with horses is also hugely related to trust and safety!
There is so much to learn and observe. Chat to me, if you want to explore this concept closely in a mentoring session. And as you might have guessed, it will be a game changer for your life as well!