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Tracy Courtney

Fluidity

When we hear the word fluidity in relation to horses, what concepts & ideas are first & foremost in our minds? Do we automatically think of the movement or flow of a horse's body? The gait, speed, cadence & how they bend their bodies into the directions & movements we ask of them? Do we take into consideration the fluidity of thoughts, feelings & emotions or just how the body moves?


Have we ever considered our own fluidity in this equation? How our own thoughts, feelings, emotions & movements affect the connection & teaching quality of our interactions with our horse? Is it possible that a large foundational piece of the puzzle is missing & responsible for the difficulties we perceive?


What is perception? It's nothing more than personal choices, judgements & opinions we choose to cling to. There is no real foundation of truth or otherwise, only what we decide we want to believe. Who decides what's good or bad, right or wrong? We do based on how we feel these things align with what we have chosen to believe. Only we create & have the authority to accept or challenge what we & others say & do.


Why do we feel angry & hostile toward mere words spoken by another? The words in themselves really mean nothing. It's the feelings & emotions we choose to attach to these words that create conflicts. Have we ever asked ourselves why or is it more important to argue & defend these words that we alone have decided are more important than trying to understand what's really being conveyed behind the words or actions?


If I were to take an arbitrary statement like, "I believe the sky is really orange but the way the sun's rays refract through the ozone layer, makes it appear to be blue", most people wouldn't care. If I were to make a statement like, "all horses are ornery & defiant & need to be dominated into submission", I would be bombarded by angry comments, statements & debates by people asserting their own contrary beliefs. There would be no hesitation in telling me why I am wrong & what a horrible person I am. Very few would take the time to try to understand where this statement came from. How many of us have ever stopped to consider why words can trigger such emotions in us?


How many of us are more prone to visual perceptual triggers? Becoming angry when the person ahead of us is driving 50 in an 80 zone? When we have to wait longer at the checkout line because a price check is needed or a person is counting out a large amount of change to pay for their purchase? It's more important to begin to analyze & understand these behaviours/reactions in ourselves if we want to begin to understand our perceived difficulties with our horses & move beyond them. If I were to ask you in this moment to describe your own mental, emotional & physical fluidity traits when you're working with your horse, would you need time to think about the answer to this question? Are you aware of your own fluidity as a whole? Can you accurately describe how your own body moves when you are giving cues & engaged in a discussion with your horse?


Are your physical questions/movements fluid? Are you consistently moving your body in the same way for every single cue/question? How is your own gait, speed & cadence? Are you speeding up when you become confused or your horse isn't responding as you think they should? Are you really listening to your horse? Are you providing patterns when your horse is afraid & hesitant, to help build their confidence? Are you providing non-patterns when your horse refuses to do something to add more mental focus, stimulation & interest? Or are you habitually reacting to what you think your perceiving based on past experience or the words or beliefs of others?


What do you think & feel when your horse isn't doing what you think they should? Are you analyzing your own fluidity first or do you become angry, frustrated, speed up or feel the need to counter this perceived defiance; control & dominate? Are these automatic reactions on your part? Do you take time to step back & decide a course/change of action or do they just happen absentmindedly? Do you stop immediately when you feel triggered, to analyze why? Do you look more deeply into the one who is triggered or is it easier to blame your horse & not take personal responsibility?


Do you analyze your personal biased perceptions for what they are, to see if your reactions are justified or conditioned responses? Do you consider other instances in the past where you chose to make a hard, negative decision to something your horse did, to find out later that your horse had a legitimate reason & you misjudged it?


Fluidity is the ability to be in the moment & move in alignment with what's happening mentally, emotionally & physically. By accepting what your horse is presenting in this moment without anger, judgement or retaliation, but by accepting & trying to understand what it is & how it's a reflection of you. These habitually biased perceptions will always lead to conflict & anger. They are always of the past & out of alignment with what is. By accepting what is, you are listening, discussing & compromising instead of trying to control, manipulate & dominate. Fluidity cannot be achieved without deep awareness of our own conditioned motivations, habits, thoughts, emotions & body language.

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