A few times every week I go to meet some of my students with their horses to share a lesson with them. In the beginning I saw it mostly as my job to come and share my knowledge, give them new exercises and teach them tricks, because that is what I always thought a teacher did. That is what I have always experienced myself and seen when I have been around in the world of horse people. Yet every time I left one of those kind of sessions I would feel a kind of emptiness inside myself. I would not leave the place glowing or smiling. I would just feel like things had went alright and everyone involved had had a nice time. Nothing more. Nothing that would change the future. Nothing that would change the human being that stood beside her horse. I would feel that something was missing or not good enough even though my student might have learned a handful of new things when I left. Step by step I started to realize why I felt this way and now I feel almost completely sure what caused the emptiness inside me. What I experienced through my lessons was that I am not meeting people nor their horses to just teach them tricks. I am not there to teach people a lot of theory actually or teach them about how to make their horses bow or back-up on handsignal. I can do so of course if asked, but I know now that it is not what makes my heart and soul feel warm and complete.
Yesterday was another one of the days where I went out to one of my students to give a lesson. Throughout the whole session I did not comment once on the mare she rode or how she should correct the HORSE, but only how to correct herself. How to be aware of her breathing. How to be aware of her body. How to be aware of her mind and thoughts. Several times this young girl looked at me with the biggest smile from her horse and told me how she had been able to observe herself tensing up, stop breathing or be biased about how the mare would respond. Only a few months ago she did not manage to see herself or feel her body in this way, but now she does and I have never seen them ride in such harmony before. Not only did they manage to ride in a relaxed forward-down position that was in no way available just a month or two ago. They managed to canter around the arena – several times – in a beautiful shape without fighting or tensing up. The look on their faces when they went down pace again told me everything I needed to know about how it felt! While they rode around heavy rain fell from the sky non-stop for the 45 minutes I was with her. We were all soaked and I had trouble seeing as water drops kept rolling down my face and into my eyes. It was a terrible weather honestly and yet we both just laughed as the two danced around in the arena together and I looked at them in awe.
Actually… my point of this story was not to share how amazing they were together. Even though I was quite proud of them and found myself smiling from one ear to another while they cantered around. Towards the end when we were about to tell each other goodbye I suddenly found myself telling this young girl “Actually I am not the one you should thank. I am not the one who is teaching you all of this or the one who knows what you need to excel as a rider or person. Only your beautiful mare does. She is the one who shows you when you forget to breathe, when you become tensed or have pre assumptions. I am only here as the translator to tell you what your horse is showing me. I am just bringing along her message to you and making it understandable”. Quite honestly I don’t know why I even said that or where it came from. I have never thought of it that way before… Yet it felt so true and so important for me to say and it just rambled out of me like that. Yesterday I left my student feeling happy, proud and well-knowing that I had actually made a difference that day. That is what it is all about to me when I teach.
I think this exact quote made it even clearer for me what is my purpose when I meet people and their horses. My purpose is not to make them able to perform all sorts of tricks, but to make them understand each other and to be the TRANSLATOR of the horse when he can’t speak for himself. I want to help people grow into an understanding of themselves because deep down that is what our horses wants us to do. To be in our bodies, to breathe, to be present and to free them from expectations. That is what I want to do in this life. That is what makes everthing feel meaningful and important. I see it as the greatest gift to be able to pass along the messages from the horses. That is what I strive to do each and every day. Learn how to hear the message of the horse and share it with the world. I want to be the change, the different perspective and the new ways of approaching when I go to teach people. I want to make people share wonderful moments with their horses by guiding them to BE human beings rather than bosses or superiors. That is what makes my soul glow… Something that last forever.