Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Trouble with Rehabbing Horses

Copyright 2012

Long ago nomadic peoples kept time with the healing cadence the hoof beats large herd animals provided. It was a slow grounding, rhythm, a natural state of walking meditation.

Barefoot, two-legged and beast could feel muscles, tendons, breath, ingestion [on a physical (air, water and food) and energetic level] keep time with Mother Earth. It rooted all beings, all life, in deep appreciation for one another, opening the heart center, so the deepest yearning of all creation could be clearly heard by each other. A grounded and openness of spirit and heart, modern man is too cluttered to feel anymore, let alone act from.

All beings were free to wonder the ley lines that called to them, sung to them. Some actual energy grids that criss-cross the planet, some water ways (above or below ground) that many animals still follow, less the way be thwarted by modern cities, fences, etc., other may be crystal and elemental energies deep in the earth’s crust. The Ancients, along with surviving indigenous peoples, believed that following the song sung by these vibrations “dances” into existence the desires of beings, not just that of the two-legged, but her other nations as well. This is the dance of life, how the body knows to pray when the hara line is grounded/plugged into and open to Mother Earth and Father Sky; an energetic tree-like template growth of the energy field that both grounds and aspires.

The hoof beats, the drum beat, the song, the dance. The matriarchs of large herd animals, elephants, horses, even pods of whales follow these long held generational songs to bring future generations to areas of nourishment/safety. Original peoples in some continents use this system to bring healings to other beings and the planet. Feel the vibe, sing the song; move the feet, the healing comes into existence, a very pure state of being, allowing and awareness.

Beings un-encumbered by modern life’s’ impositions may still know how to follow this song, and their feet remember their dance (specific to individual), a dynamic essence of ancestral and momentary awareness spins the story. This is the beginning of having dominion over footstep/hoof beats. Reciprocal movement between man and beast may have been initiated here, whether by fear or fun, or something yet unknown. It is inspired by a choice of volition, not forced imposition (will), for all beings, a birthright, the gift of being in the moment and awareness, on multiple levels.

The Great Mother provided an abundance modern man can no longer fathom. Vegetation changing with the seasons, nourished body systems. The gift of knowing self’s body clock, the Circadian Rhythm, not as imposed by cultural, society’s or familial norms, but only as self can know itself to be. When to rest (a gift greatly denied in modern life), when and what to eat (the birthright of eating clean, deeply nourishing food instead of overindulgence, stuffing self with dead, plastic food void of life force and poisoned drink), soul purpose and desire. How many two-leggeds really know themselves on such an intimate level – let alone honor these soul longings that keep self safe and healthy?

When self if void of this birthright of deep and intimate knowing, it will infect life in the web with expectation, imbalance and imposition, rather than sincere harmony. Manifestations of misconstrued attempts at “correction” spring from this most basic lack of discernment. This is the crux of many a rehabilitation issues with horses.

Balance Reciprocates Within, Emanates Outward

When self receives the gift of knowing one’s rhythms and preferences (whether one works best later or earlier in the day, food that agrees or disagrees, weather that compliments selfs’ volition, etc.), rather than that imposed by cultural and familial expectations, self embraces the treasure of knowing ones place in the grandeur scheme of things, the spoke in the wheel one is. This births the present of keeping the ego in check and not yoking life with false, pre-programmed expectation.

In an automated society, humanity has given much power and earning potential to machines. This reciprocated in humanity, the notion to be more machine-like. Conventional meds play a huge role here, as one simply covers the symptom and self keeps going. A society of exhausted, adrenaline junkies attempts to speed through a course of illness to return to the mechanized dance of earning the daily bread. For this very reason, some will gravitate to only conventional medicine or abuse natural means of healing in the same context of covering symptoms, as the ramifications as to what Soul sold out too, are to disturbing to fathom, thus the delusion perpetuates and supports itself and adrenal exhaustion becomes norm, fueling a very skewed and de-habilitated dance as this depletion erodes action, integrity, judgment and intuition.

Before the horse provided transport and transition of dreams, its body provided nourishment. In knacking the carcass, the Ancients saw the layers of muscles, the way the muscles of the haunch dovetail into the muscles of the back, the chain of backbone and soft-tissue, the way the opalescent fascia that binds all flesh together, glowed like mother of pearl in the arched ribcage that like a sacred cathedral, houses the horses’ incredible heart. If modern riders could see this magnificent architect first hand – would they still ride with such arrogance and ego?

In the purity of the ancient world, the essence of horse and man merged, perhaps giving birth to the notion of shape shifting. Ideals will always find physical manifestation and man found himself on the back of the horse, exploring far away lands. The transition to other worlds began, in Spirit and physical realms.

The Mongols were fierce warriors. Folklore handed down generations tells of a people so feared, other nations paid them “tribute”, sums of treasure, to insure their lands would not be raided. They were known to take excellent care of their mounts comparative to other cultures of the period and conquered a great deal of the world as a result. Some believe remnants of these horses survived in Hungary. Some also believe this “tribute” or “treasure” is still buried somewhere in Hungary. Perhaps the real treasure interned here is this love and knowing of horse, buried in the DNA of distant generations.

Posing Vs. Riding

When humanity becomes so disconnected from the ancient beat of the ley lines, it is easy to be “duped” to the passing fancy of “style”.  Horsemanship is no different than any other human fashion. Riding and training styles vary, but the enmeshed dance of horse and rider withstands eons. This goes way beyond the notion of “natural horsemanship”, for nothing we do is natural with our horses. It is a very old yearning of the heart, to meld with one of Creations most magnificent beings. When the yearning of the heart is heard in both directions, of man and beast, then a gift is born that truly enhances both beasts. It is an old song some recognize. Anything less is delusion and harmful.

“Training”, as most know it, is an interesting thing. In the ideal context, it enriches, in other cases it dumbs down. Many a broken beast will testify they knew more than before the two-legged “styled” them. These horses will be crippled by the time they are “trained”. The diagnose does not matter, for at the heart of the insult, was an overbearing human who “eyed” the beast for “conformation”, “potential” and “fixing” the problem horse with the pinhole opinion the two-legged provides. An ego driven judgment the horse is all too familiar with, paid too high a price for and often, rightly shows resentment for.

Early on most are taught the art of posing (equitation) on a horse. Locking the very muscles and joints needed for flowing with the cadence of the horse. Breath shallow or held, jaws clamped, lower backs concaved, shoulders and arms locked, pelvis and hips clutch the saddle with a tight groin – their horses mirroring the same hollowed, sucked up frame. Hands see-sawing the sensitive mouth and over bending the poor horses head in a misguided attempt to slow the feet down that struggle to maintain frame, rhythm and balance. This programming of tissue is something most riders will struggle to undo once their soul decision to a more sympathetic riding style is made, for just as the horse, this initial programming will be their default mode till something truer becomes ingrained to the cellular memory.

Sensing the Invitation

In energetic healing, one is often led by prompt or idea, to be at a certain place, at a certain time. This is the beginning to sensing the invitation or permission to engage in what self wishes to participate in.

Deep belly breathing (the kind that utilizes the diaphragm) fills self with the atmospheric prana that facilitates fueling the dreams pulled from the ethers. It serves as a fundamental signal to all living things, peace of intent and integrity of motion. All living beings perceive the holding of breath as danger, fear and incongruence. Most humans have no idea they are not breathing sincerely. Here lies the first clue to all animals the human’s hara line (energetic core) is not rooted deep in the Mother (Earth) and fragmented.

In various forms of body and energetic work, this invitation is sung by the tissue. Those with the healing art sense the song, root their hara and know just the right potency to ring through the fascia so it may begin to unravel its story.

Many times when working with difficult horses, the work is best done in the absence of guardian and trainer. The images in their mind is a fearful repertoire of all the poor beast has stuffed, endured and reacted to, they have not yet gathered the gift of neutrality, when the beast of relieved of their ego driven burden, the work can be conducted safely and with a much deeper level of trust and release.

In Equine Guided Healing, this same sort of “tissue/energetic permission” is sought. It is often the safest place for man and beast to begin the dance of sincerity, on the ground, at liberty, the only tool is self.

Breath, ease of motion and connection to the elements become clear as the human learns that by unlocking their own held bodily patterns (letting go and allowing), there is a definite transference to the horse (body softens, effortless motion flows), even though the horse is at liberty on the outer parameters of the ring. This has huge implications for those that know the gift of listen; for once mounted the transference of held imbalance is on the path of direct transfer.

Cellular Programming, Releasing What is Trapped in Tissue and Beyond

Many in energetic healing arts have long known all that is experienced in life will be encoded in the DNA. Experiences, that which is ingested, ancestral - all find a place in these intertwined strands of self. Science is now catching up to this knowing.

Fascia is another of those “taken for granted” tissues, whose memory is misunderstood and underestimated.

Fascia wraps all organs and muscles. Bands of fascia criss-cross the body that stabilizes movement. It is the opalescent packaging that collates the body. Some believe it to rival the nervous system in transferring information to self. If there is an organ suffering imbalance, the fascia tightens. The same goes for muscle. This tightening of the fascia is thought to be the culprit for skeletal subluxations. Depending on schooling, it is the classic case of which came first – the chicken or the egg? The beauty of body/energy work addressing the “whole” gives greater insight and possibility of regaining graceful motion as opposed to getting stuck in what self thinks it knows. The gift of feel is that no matter the art self is skilled at, body work, horsemanship, etc. that silent endowment of letting go what self believes to be truth and being in the moment, speaks a volume of information that leads to a benevolence the pinhole perspective can never provide. So here is the crossroad where the horse becomes the sentient teacher, if the ego is shelved so self can justly listen.

Those who are under the impression this tissue (fascia) can be “pushed” through “healing” are morbidly mistaken. This tissue tightens through insult (physical and mental), the act of forcing the resistance will only cause increase in the tightening, till the tissue becomes locked (in extreme but all too common cases). If perchance it seems as if the horse did “break through”, the equestrian has only been fooled by another clever layer of compensation the poor equine presents as “try”.

Here is a place many an equestrian struggles as the aspiration of ego clash with guilt. She knows the horse is willing to please her, unto its demise. So many a diagnose are nothing more than tissue pushed too far. It does not matter if the diagnose is neurological, muscle, tendon, etc. If the horse can, it will. Such is his nature. Don’t abuse this privilege.

Here too many in the healing arts abandon the “diagnose” (its part of the picture, not something to get “stuck” on); for beings will suffer a host of named diseases (depending on the specialist consulted), until the final devastation is “named”.

Many will ogle and awe as the horses posture changes with a healing session. The first ride after they mention the horse has never traveled better. Despite the warnings that the tissue is healing, and may take months (or years) to completely recover, the ego pushes on with agenda and the tissues slips back to locked compensation, characture armour and lameness, as the equestrians’ skills have not evolved to honor the healing tissue. Many horses need to keep a certain amount of this “characture armour”, to stay safe from an imposing guardian.

As below, so above; lameness in the feet compensates in the spine. Imbalances in the skull reflect in the pelvis. This topic too deep and individualistic for this piece, but know you can’t have one without the other. The equine spine contends with forces of propulsion from the haunch, carried through the front end, oscillating back and forth through the spine with each hoof beat, not to mention the downward exertion from the body sitting astride. Rider imbalance and compensation make the whole body (of the horse) a mirror reflection of inadequacies in many cases.

This poor riding is often initiated early on as most “lesson horses” are aged and encased in this “characture armour”. With whip and spur most are taught to “push” the horse through the gaits. These patient beasts endure sloppy hands and bouncy seats as new equestrians struggle through their own fears and locked body habits till they find and reach that fine balance between a secure base, engaged core and supple, breathing joints that harmonize with the movement of the horse. Many riders never quite find this place.

Most riders have never ridden a finely tuned horse. One that knows its own body and how to use it well, transitions, gaits with strength and conviction (many horses cannot because of very poor training methods) with hoof beats that are honestly grounded in Mother Earth and reciprocate/reverberate that grounded healing between each hoof beat back to horse, rider and the planet. The hoof  lingers a bit longer on the ground.

Such a finely tuned beast will often reject lesser riders, or lesser riders can quickly ruin such a horse if ill will is allowed to take precedence.

Riding such a horse is very effortless as both beings are tuned in harmonious synchronicity of secure base, musculature and thought. Congruency exits on all three major levels of sub-conscious, conscious and super conscious. At this level of riding, the horse is the barometer for absolute truth; the relationship has no other option. Bridles and saddles are not necessary, there is no delusion, there is no need for the illusion of control, self-control leads this dance.

So how does self emancipate from the illusion of control the cues, the bit, the saddle, the whip, the spurs provide? A deep soul decision is made, to remember who we are and where we really come from.

By following the prompting of ethers, the deep belly breathing that fuels the inspiration pumped by the heart and a deeply rooted reconvened relation barefoot with the earth sings the way. Feel the vibe, sing the song. Work from the ground till both human and horse reciprocate joy and appreciation in their footsteps from the ley lines to the heavenly stars above.

It is here self may begin to feel pains not their own; the horse sending the message of insults past, registering in the tissues of self as a reference point not to be crossed. Self needs absolution of a secure base to grow past the judgments and criticism of all other self imposed guru’s at this point. The horse is the teacher; the rest can only provide keys, the doors are only for self to open.

Movement is essential to reprogramming tissue. On the ground, at liberty, the horse will let you know the preferred direction of travel. How the feet meet the earth will give abundance of information of areas of pain and compensation. If barefoot, the smallest foot, the one that has not carried its share of the whole, the large splatty foot, the one taking too much of the toll, the club foot indicative of a possible transversal rotation of the entire spinal column. How much do you really know about the beast you intend to “train”?

If ease and release can be accomplished at this level, games and tricks invite exploration of movement the horse may have been conditioned to fear. Many a wide-eyed expression on rehabbed equines gives credence to acknowledgement to the intelligence behind those large liquid eyes. Now the glow goes both ways. The horse is inspired to voice its judgments and opinions as it now has found a safe place to do so. This trust is not to be violated; it is the very foundation that will keep self safe when working with such a potent and benevolent being. It is not fear, it is listening.

If the mutual decision evolves to being ridden, the breath must not be forgotten. Deep belly breathing opens the sincerity of the heart, keeps the lines of intuition flowing gracefully and provides sanctuary for both man and beast.

Most two-leggeds have no idea the tension locked in their pelvis. Sitting squarely in the center of the triangle formed by the pubic and seat bones initiates a secure base/seat. Alignment of ear, shoulder, hip and heel synchronize with the horses’ center of gravity. Deep breathing and slight bearing down of pelvic muscles will transfer to the horse a relaxed feeling and most will drop their heads to the “neutral” position. Trusting the lack of tension, joints in the human that fold and flow with the rhythm, a new dance begins. Spurs and whips are not necessary here, coercion is not relationship.

A host of gymnastic exercises may have been mastered on the ground and can be advanced upon on horseback. Care must be taken not to use these as show standards exaggerate. They were designed to unlock potential of movement, yet most are inappropriately applied and in the wrong hands can cause more harm than good. “Holding” the horse to form with “inside leg and outside rein” are clues the horse is not is self carriage and imbalance has been transferred, as does the rider being bumped to the outside seat bone when turning. The feel of correct motions flows, from feet, to spine, up through the rider, a current of sovereignty courses through both beings. Small increments, turns on the forehand, turns on the haunch, shoulder fore, shoulder in – where is the tension held, what stretches and releases? What has been locked in the spine and cannot be produced? How much do we really know? Never enough.

The work of Jean Luc Cornille compiles a host of research into grace of movement and return to old school cavalry basics to undo many riders ills unto the horse; sacroiliac joint pain, transversal rotation of the vertebral column, navicular disease, kissing spine and more. How much is self willing to let go of and let the horse be the advocate for his own safety from the false trap of human ego?

Paradigms die a hard death, just as the ego. The horse world is wrought with such arrogance; the horse long suffered the consequences. Laws do not inspire integrity; that springs from self knowing its place in the grand scheme of things. Do no harm.

The genius of Albert Ostermaier, the only person ever to train a horse to canter backwards, his gifted riding allowed his magnificent Standardbred Patriot to evolve collection to the point the horse found the “gaits between the gaits” and could rack like Tennessee Walker without implementing torture to achieve the gait or collection. This has huge implications for those with the wherewithal to search so deep, quietly and respectfully, the horse is limited by our own lack of depth and feel, for nature deprived us of nothing. The core is infinite; our fears color and set our limits, self hate batters brilliance in ourselves and everything we touch. The Still Point reveals all, if self is willing to travel so deep into the labyrinth of life and dimensions, astounding possibilities exist.

And Beyond the Beyond

Once self acquires such a gift, any form of riding where more “push” is expected feels sacrilege. There are many set norms for achieving this level of riding. These may be experimented with or self may choose a quiet moment to usher in a whole new learning curve for man and beast. Choice and options abound, it is only when self locks into mind sets and comfortable norms that life stagnates and the quest for refinement fails.

When pre-programming trapped in the tissues and conscious are released, the super-conscious is freed and readied to animate dreams. Nature embraces this letting go in humans. Circumstance conspires and in the silence of the Natural world, the lessons the voice of the horse initiated catapult ten fold as the template of the cosmos offers more.

From here some choose to leave the confines of guidance domestic creatures provide. It is only an organic evolution that the wild creatures show up as totems and guides.

Perhaps they were always waiting in the background, or in the patience of the Great Universe, the wild beings make their way unto self’s’ life to aspirate the boundaries of possibility a bit further.

At this point self will seek the solace, comfort and wisdom only the natural world can provide; humanity and its tendency to shroud knowing in division, debauchery and anesthetics losses its grip.

The call of the hawk draws the eye skyward. Self sees the rainbow colored air-currents she rides. The same rainbow colored currents the fish below follow. The template behind the template, the reality that precedes the future; an addictive reality self has found as grounding aspects connect and upper aspects open and branch to eternity.

The mother creatures of other Nations feel safe to show self their ways and how they rear their young. My God the gift self has been handed! Precious little ones, lost in innocence of exploration, guided by furred, feathered, scaled matriarchs that sing that song of long ago to generations into the future. Too many two-legged learn this only through their own young. And so it is the future that may teach the past, if self is grounded, open and inspired to do so.

This addictive glimpse of the eternal, this cognizance of all time existing at once gives self the permission and ability to jump timelines. Where does one go from here?