Horses teach humans a lot about the pace of life. Life seems to be moving at the speed of light. I try to bring a grounded presence into every aspect of my daily life. However a fast paced world can often pull me out of my authentic self. Our culture is based on high-speed everything. Speed is becoming a value. The faster something can work or go the more desirable it is. The element of speed brings many good things, and it may also be taking away just as much.

During Equine Facilitated Learning and Coaching programs I drop into ‘horse time’ a spacious place where the breath is deep, the mind reflects, and the pacing is slow. Years ago I would have resisted this. I thought that my quick mind and lightening fast ability to ask questions, solve problems, and jump to future scenarios for possible applications, was one of the most valuable assets of my being. Once I started to work with horses I saw how this very behavior was not based on my authentic nature, but instead a hyperactive, over functioning performance behavior based on proving to myself, and others, that I was ‘smart’ and that I was ‘right.’ I was living in fear, not in my power. My behavior gave me a false send of safety and security.

This highly mental approach to communications and relationships was detrimental to my success. A heady and often defensive approach took me out of my heart. My breath would become shallow. My lightening speed communication style often over-lapped other people’s sentences, cutting them off in mid-thought. Too busy in my own mind finding my next comment, reply or question I failed to hear others.

The last four years horses have taught me to let go of this ‘false’ part of myself. When I attempt to create connection and train horses in this ‘false’ state of being, the horses do not respond well. It takes us twice the amount of energy and time to achieve something together. They turn their hinds, move away, become agitated, or simply tune out. This is my clue that my breath is short, my mind is full of racing thoughts, and I am trying to achieve through my head and my head alone. One can only imagine the discomfort this false heady approach creates for a sensitive creature.

To be authentic one must learn to distinguish what is real and what is false about the self. High-speed head based means of communication are false. All heart connections start from the heart, not the head. When a person cannot feel their heart it is difficult to create the heart connections.

Those who want to have more companionship (both with horse and humans) must learn the art of a heart-based communications. Heart-based communication occurs when a person is aware of their own heart space, breathing deeply into their body, and adjusting their style (timing, rhythm, and intensity) of communication so another can hear them. They must be willing to sit in a silent pause, not needing to fill it with words. They must be willing to reflect and listen deeply to the communications another is offering them. They must also be sensitive to the energy of those around them. In essence they must learn how to ‘graze’ with inner peace to honor those around them. When two beings are heart based their hearts become synchronized and in essence they begin to see and feel the world in harmony, even if their views differ.

What might shift in your relations if you were to take a breath and pause after someone spoke and before you offered your next thought or question?

* When do you feel heart connections with others?
* What is false and what is genuine in your communications with others?
* Where do you spend most of your time, in your head or in your heart?
* How do your horses respond to you when you are breathing deeply into your heart space?

Author's Bio: 

Kathy Pike is recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in the field of equine-based learning programs. She brings over 15 years experience a life coach, workshop facilitator and trainer. She is the founder of the Mind Body Method and uses processes in her first book, Pathways to a Radiant Self: A Journey of Growth and Discovery with the Chakras to teach humans the power of horses to heal human hearts. Her second book, Hope...From the Heart of Horses: How Horses Teach Us About Presence, Strength, and Awareness with a foreword by Linda Kohanov is available spring 2009. She lives in Colorado.