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Tracy Courtney

Claiming Personal Space

For those who have had the opportunity to watch a real Bell Mare in action, how she elicits complete trust, respect & compliance is nothing short of amazing. All herd members are fiercely loyal, tuned into every little movement or gesture she makes at all times & are ready to respond to these signals without question. Where & how does this kind of influence begin?


For those who follow these articles, it has often been said that the first rule of the herd is personal space. This is where a new understanding for us begins & the reason behind its being the first thing taught in the Fearless Process. There are very few rules in the herd, but deeper understandings of these rules can shed much light on the reasons for the problems we experience with horses. There have been a number of doubts & criticisms expressed when introduced to this first rule, but this is a product of the conditioning & firmly held beliefs. These people aren't open to exploring new possibilities & that's their choice, without judgement, but these criticisms come from a place of looking at the information from a surface & emotional level & not considering the deeper understandings behind it.


Let's dive a little deeper into what's actually taking place when we're learning about personal space in relation to our horse. For those who have watched the videos, the end result is clearly demonstrated in only a few short minutes in most cases. Horses with more deeply rooted learned helplessness & trauma will require more help. We begin with a horse that is pushing us around, biting, frisking us for treats, disconnected & looking at everything except us, can't keep their feet still, spooking, pulling on the rope, circling, threatening, tossing their head & any number of "taught" habits. These horses don't care who we are, where we are or what we want.


On closer inspection we can see that these horses are mirroring their owners. The owner is completely disconnected from their horse. They are focused on something else, usually thoughts in their mind, a conversation, a tractor, a deer or some other object moving elsewhere. The person often stands on a slight angle to the horse, out of alignment, &/or allows the horse to stand out of alignment. The horse is not asked but forced to stand, often behind the person, where they are completely out of sight & the person is oblivious to what the horse is thinking or doing whether they can be seen or not. The person is only aware of the pressure of the rope in their hand & often, without looking, will react absent mindedly to this pressure by dragging the horse around by the nose into a semi-acceptable position, just until the pressure of the rope stops. Indicating to the horse that we don't care who they are, where they are or what they want in these moments.


If we flip through our memory bank & create a visual picture of a true Bell Mare, how does the rest of the herd act toward her & her personal space? Would we see any of the behaviours listed above in relation to her? Not a chance. And why is this? Does she attack or bully horses that invade her space? No. Does she spend her day worrying about or threatening anyone who comes close? No. Is she a dictating tyrant? No. Any horse that does these things is not a Bell Mare & is doing these things out of deep rooted fear. So, what would we see with a true Bell Mare? We would see a confident horse, with clear & honest intentions that is patient, nurturing, welcoming to all herd members & is happy to allow their approach & interactions, so where does the difference lie between her & us?


As an example, why does she choose only periodically, to chase a horse that is close to her away & some that are far from her away? Why does she choose to chase some horses for 5 seconds & others for 5 minutes? What are the deciding factors in these scenarios & the more important question is why does she chase them at all? Through previous articles, information has been dissected for deeper understanding & some of these concepts will be referenced to assist.


All of nature has a tremendous amount to teach us if we're willing to listen. A previous article noted the correlation between the flow of water & the flow of emotions, for example. Have you ever marvelled at how a flock of birds can fly in perfect formation & change direction in the blink of an eye without skipping a beat? If it were humans, we would be slamming into each other like dominoes & crashing to the ground in heaps. How many of us have stopped to consider the reasons behind these things? Those who have observed wild horses running, will see the same flow of movement through the herd on the ground. They move as one single unit & can twist & turn in perfect harmony. Like a flock of birds, how is this flow of unity; connection achieved?


The first concept we explore is Connection:

These articles repeatedly point to how we have been conditioned to be disconnected from our horses. In order to move into this flow of oneness, there must be a connection between all members of the herd or flock at all times, or it would be impossible otherwise.


Softening Focus & Expanding Awareness;

Horses naturally live in a state of expanded awareness. They are aware of where everything is in relation to their entire being at all times, with mathematical precision. If they have to focus full attention on something, they do this for only a short period in order to make "simple" decisions as to whether these things pose a threat & then quickly return to expanded awareness. It is a common belief that horses live in a narrow, fearful, focused state of awareness, but this is a reflection of how humans navigate their existence.


Intention;

Through conditioning, many humans are focused on their personal desires & goals. Through habitual tendencies, they can be dogmatic, impatient & judgemental. True intention cannot be faked, you are either impatient & judgemental at a core level or you are not. Horses exist in what can be labeled as a group consciousness, rather than an individual or collective consciousness. Individual safety is always a priority, however they tend to be more focused on the herd as a whole & what's beneficial for the whole.


Being Present:

Horses don't spend their time lost in their heads, reliving past events or worrying about the future. They focus on being present in this moment, which allows a tremendous freedom to enjoy what is & still being prepared to respond to what comes without wasting time considering their best options or what someone else in the herd is going to do. Then they quickly forget about these experiences until it may need to be recalled at a later date for a similar situation.


Becoming The Comfort Zone:

The Bell Mare willingly gains the full respect & cooperation of the herd because she has proven to them that she is a firm but fair leader, that is willing to listen & put their needs above hers. This is not achieved through force or dominance but through patience & non-judgement.


The Third Language:

This is what allows the flock or herd to move as a single unit, like flowing water. The Third Language is the language of nature & how it naturally exists in cooperation & harmony. 


The preceding components are the main ingredients that are necessary to understanding & connecting to the Third Language. It's not about hocus pocus or invisible wifi energies. It's about understanding ourselves at a much deeper level in relation to nature.


To simplify, why is personal space the first thing taught in the Fearless Process? Because this is where understanding the Third Language begins. The dramatic changes that occur with horses, in just a few short minutes, are the result of focusing our habitual scattered thoughts & awareness to your own personal space. Can it really be this simple? Experiment for yourself & see.


The Fearless Process has been designed through a lifetime of personal experiences & through discussions with enthusiastic friends who who are interested in moving past their own conditioning. It continues to evolve & get better every day. I'm very grateful for those who are willing to ask hard questions & discuss the finer details of what they're experiencing because it helps all of us achieve success at deeper levels of explanation & understanding.