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Tracy Courtney

Checking In

In the videos located on the website, there are a few mentions of how these people have finally decided to check in with their horse, & where they haven't. As mentioned in previous articles, horses naturally live in a state of constant connection & expanded awareness. They are checked in with every member of the herd at all times and this allows for a deeper sense of comfort and security, where each member feels fully supported by every other member. This is part of the reason it’s common to see herd bound behaviour when we take them away from the herd & don’t offer this type of connection in return.

This is also part of the reason behind hearing many people tell stories about sudden events that ended in close calls or injuries. In every case, the person was caught off guard & suddenly surprised by unanticipated & explosive behaviour. By being checked out, we are not capable of being aware of potential events like these because we are not tuned into how our horse is feeling, what they’re thinking or how they may act in any given moment. By contrast, when we are checked in, this allows for a heightened awareness that allows for accurate predictability of possible events & outcomes that can be completely avoided. Does this sound like woo woo, hocus pocus? It isn’t, it’s a natural aspect of being checked in with your horse. This check in is also part of what allows for horses to move at fast speeds in unison, like a flock of flying birds, without crashing into each other. We have been habitually conditioned to be checked out & this results in the opposite effect.

To illustrate the difference between being checked in & out, let’s dissect what happens when someone we deeply care about is unwell. If we’re caring for this person at home, we are fully engaged & connected to this person through all of our senses. Even if we do take the time to sit down & watch tv, we are always aware of where this person is & what they’re doing. If we hear them moan, cough or drop something on the floor in another room, this information is immediately recognized & overrides anything else we’re in the process of doing, including snapping us out of deep thoughts we might be lost in. We immediately drop what we’re doing & go to the person to see that everything is ok. This deep, heartfelt connection moves beyond the verbal aspects of communication & into a heightened sense of understanding through our other senses. Without words, we can merely know by a single glance how this person is really feeling & whether something is needed that might help alleviate their discomfort. We’ve termed these heightened senses of focal awareness such as a mother’s sixth sense. Those who have experienced this know that things are known about the loved one that move beyond the intellect.

In comparison, when we’re out in public & interacting with strangers that we don’t know, as in the person ringing us through at the grocery store, many of us are unconcerned with the overall health & wellbeing of these people. Many of us don’t take the time to ask how they are or how they’re feeling & when we do, it’s just a disconnected passing conversation to pass the time. We aren’t deeply affected by the answers to these questions & we immediately forget about the conversation & the person once we leave the store. It’s like they never existed at all, once we get in our vehicle & drive away.

We don’t realize it, but this is how most of us interact with our horses every time we’re with them. We do not check in at any point from a sense of deep love or interest in how they’re feeling or what they’re thinking. We completely ignore them as though they don’t exist until we want to make them do something & even in these moments, we are only extending a passing, judgemental glance or predatory stare to decide if they are doing something right or wrong. Then we withdraw this surface visual observation without the slightest interest or connection otherwise.

As mentioned in other articles, there are many intellectual understandings that can be gained through feeling the need to learn from other humans, but there are also many underlying habits we are unaware we adopt through these same sources. It’s important to stop placing others above ourselves as being more capable & trust in our own understandings & abilities to experience deeper comprehension of what our horses are trying to teach us every day about them & ourselves.