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Tracy Courtney

The Broken Plate

If we dropped a plate & broke it in half & one of the halves broke in half again, could we still use the full half? Yes we could, but we wouldn't be able to fit as much on the plate. The full half represents the physical aspects of behaviour that we have been taught to focus on. The other two pieces represent the mental & emotional aspects of behaviour, but the pieces are still not equal in size & therefore are out of balance

If we were to use this same example & the plate were broken into even smaller pieces, these would represent the other aspects we have not learned to incorporate into a full understanding of how we work with our horses. These smaller pieces would include such things as self-inquiry, accepting responsibility for our thoughts & actions, our beliefs, body language; how we present our directions & cues, our level of understanding & experience, physiology, psychology, patience, time, communication, choices, opinions & listening to what our horses are trying to teach us.

I recently came across a video of someone teaching how to fix the problem of a horse that trips & stumbles. They were using poles & ground work to try to teach others how to solve the problem. What I would like us to consider is that these methods are still focusing on the physical attributes of behaviour only & external sources as causes & solutions. Emotional Balancing moves beyond the physical aspects of behaviour & into the real root of the "problems". When we view these behaviours from their deeper roots, we eliminate the need to address behaviour individually or directly.

A horse that trips & stumbles is first, disconnected from the handler & secondly from their feet. They are lost in their own fearful thoughts as we humans do when we're worried about something. How many times have we tripped & stumbled because we were lost in our own uncomfortable thoughts or worries? Would stepping over obstacles help us let go of our unbalanced emotions & therefore solve your tripping problem? No. It's not about the tripping, it's about the thoughts & emotions.

The cause & solution begins with balancing the mental & emotional processes of the horse. This will solve the problem without having to address it individually or directly. The horse is worried & lacking trust, connection & meaningful communication with the handler. Poles & groundwork are not a permanent solution to this problem.