My mare Stella wrapped the length of her graceful grey neck around me and the long whiskers on her nose tickled my dangling right hand. An arctic breeze partnered with long silver strands of her mane to catch my tears as the mare squeezed my body closer to hers. She knew. Stella left her hay, and “Sparky”, her weanling paddock mate, to walk over to me, wrap her neck around me, and hold on while I cried. But did she do this out of instinct or experience? Stella had been a part of my herd of horses only over the winter months and I felt that hadn’t really been enough time for her to bond with me. Yet, Stella knew I was hurting. She knew because as a horse she is genuinely emotive and horses intuitively know the difference between pain, suffering, and happiness.
A couple months earlier in November, I traveled to Preston to see Stella (then named “Grace”) for the first time. Her owner, "Gwen", put Grace in the round pen so I could watch how she moved, mostly at the trot as the ground was slick. I had arrived late due to a wrong turn, and it was now getting dark, and fast. In the shadows, I asked the mare to stop by stepping slightly in front of her eye, and then with my mind I asked if she would like to come with me. [In this way I used my body language to get her attention so that I could ask the mare questions intuitively.] It was our first encounter with each other I didn’t know how she would respond. The mare looked at Gwen, then back at the horse trailer about a hundred feet behind us, and moved toward me with her right eye still on the horse trailer. In my mind I heard the words, “I’ll go. Please.” The next afternoon, I came with the trailer to pick the mare up and purchase her from Gwen. I led the mare to the trailer and stood by the door with her for a few moments. Without any direction from me, the mare walked into the trailer, nearly dragging me behind her. After I arrived at the home corrals, I asked the mare if she liked her name, Grace. She put her head up and walked off. “Well, you make me think of stars, and star is so cliché’. What about “Stella”?” I asked out loud. She stopped, turned and came back toward me. I pet and talked to her for what seemed like hours. In that time, Stella allowed me to take some of her tension and release it. It was a sudden, overwhelming rush of emotion and I stood by her and cried for several minutes. Afterward, Stella sighed, licked her lips, chewed, dropped her head and walked off.
The above discussion is about a recent incident in my life where, according to the book Learning Their Language, Intuitive Communication with Animals and Nature by Marta Williams, I was communicating with “clairsentience, or clear feeling; the ability to intuitively feel the emotions or physical feelings of another …or be overcome by an emotion they are picking up” (16 Williams). It is not, however, the first time I have felt the emotions of another being be it human or horse. In addition, I believe that the ability to read the emotions or physical feelings of horses has helped me communicate more effectively with them than if I worked with horses simply on a physical level. Experience with multiple breeds and types of horses has taught me that they understand when I’m anxious, nervous or angry, but they don’t always comprehend why; a horse simply feels my energy and reacts to it primarily through body language which can include violent behavior. In other words, to a horse, energy can act as a stimulant or a depressant; energy can either excite the horse or it can help to calm it from a heightened chaos. Each time I enter a horse corral, pasture or paddock, I am conscious of how I feel, where my emotions are, of my breathing, of my mind-set and of my body language and ask myself are my movements true to how I really feel?
But intuitive work with horses is more than the ability to read body language, and much more than feeling in-the-moment with the horse. It is, according to Marta Williams, the scientifically unexplainable “ability to send and receive thoughts, images, feelings, and other sensory data mentally, without using any sound or gesture” to communicate with your horse, other animals, and nature– “even at a distance”. However, my research has shown that a large percentage of horse owners who prefer to communicate with their horses through body language, breath and feel, also associate those methods closer to the term ‘intuitive training’, than say animal communication via telepathy, and herein is the challenge against this terminology. Nevertheless, the two terms intuitive and telepathy are still two fingers on the same hand, meaning: intuition is a projection of instinct and telepathy refers to transferring thought i.e., back to intuition. According to Marta Williams, however, those who use telepathy to interact with animals are termed “animal communicators”.
My mare Stella knew something was different because she had paid attention to how I used my body language to interact with both her and Sparky, and she acted how she felt fit the situation. Some might say that she was just inquisitive, but I knew my mare Stella wasn’t just curious: she cared. Caring is the difference between a horse that has bonded with their person and a horse that acts violently toward their person. Each action is emotive. A horse knows if you care for, respect or fear it, and will act according to how the herd hierarchy between you two has developed. There is so much more going on when a horse approaches you and attempts to calm or nurture you.
To get a better idea about how other riders view intuitive training or communications, I'd like to ask readers some specific questions.
The first question is: Do you feel that horses taught you how to use her breath, energy, and intentions in order to communicate with them effectively and if so, how?
The second question is: How does your personal horse respond when you are feeling sad or sick?
The third question is: What aspect of intuitive training with horses has helped you outside of working with your own horses? Perhaps in a work situation or with family, etc.
The fourth question is: What led you to begin using intuitive training methods?
The final question is: What do you like the best about using intuitive training opposed to traditional methods? Is it something which traditional methods didn't afford?
In Retrospect: My journey with horses is on a spiritual plane. Intuitive training is my path to liberty work with horses, and it is paving my way toward animal communication. Like Marta Williams, I believe “each of us has the ability to communicate intuitively with animals and nature [and that intuition] … is an ancient, innate characteristic of all life, the foundation of spoken and written words, and the common link between all species” (Williams).
Carolyn Resnick. n.d. Web. 24 2 2013. <www.carolyn-resnick.com>.
McCormack, Kris. Special Features - Interview with Carolyn Resnick. Ed. Lisa Ross-Williams. Vers. Volume 8 Issue 2. n.d. Web. 25 2 2013. <www.naturalhorse.com/archive/volume8/Issue2/article_1.php>.
Williams, Marta. Learning Their Language, Intuitive Communication with Animals and Nature. n.d. Print.
—. Special Features - Reclaiming Intuition by Marta Williams. Ed. Lisa Ross-Williams. n.d. Web. 25 2 2013. <www.naturalhorse.com/archive/volume8/Issue1/article_2.php>.