Horse Lessons Part II

Kinda crazy but after writing into the last post my brain started ‘exploding’ into all of these other situations that so clearly were ‘exemplifying’ this ‘pecking order’ that is so profound in the animal kingdom (including humans)…and this then led into the next set of interesting concepts – routines.  Indulge me to rattle on for a moment…

You have a herd of horses, for example, and they are out grazing on the ranch in a big pasture, the pecking order is defined and there is peace and tranquility in abundance.  A young horse that is grazing on the edges (as this is his ‘place’) finds something very interesting and very tasty and is enjoying himself – one of his ‘higher-ups’ is curious and walks over to the young one signaling with ears going back and forth.  The youngster ignores, so the older horse shakes her head and blows her nose at him as she approaches, and the young one continues to ignore…she rushes him and spins her hip his way to ‘inform’ him that he better move NOW or else, so he gets the clue and moves (before he really gets it).  Until he is the dominant one, this is how it works.

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You are driving down the one lane dirt road home and there is a certain someone walking in the middle of the road and he will not move over for the car to pass.  To pass ‘as is’ would be unwise, so you follow at a ‘respectful’ distance, yet definitely following.  This someone continues to walk down the middle of the road, with a total lack of respect.  Are you respecting him by following slowly, asking politely for that someone to maybe step aside to let you pass?  Who is the ‘boss’ here and what is it all for?  Why does there need to even be the question here of who is ‘calling the shots’ and who is not – in everyday situations?

We moved onto a ranch that had been ‘free’ hunting grounds for the ‘local boys’ for many years.  Our arrival and the new gate that was now ‘closed’ with a ‘no hunting, private’ sign on it did not go over very well.  Actually, it sort of became a bit of a ‘range war’, so to speak.  Although we had given it every bit of courtesy to visit and talk with these ‘local boys’ to establish some respect, i.e. if you want to hunt maybe you could ask first? (No guarantees for a ‘yes’, however…!)  Be polite; have respect for the others; discuss it if need be.  Didn’t happen, despite best efforts, they insisted on ‘taking’ what was ‘their hunting ground’, period.  What to do…

Classic examples of herd behavior that have yet to dissipate in the unraveling of our 3D paradigm, yeah?  I have strong indigenous influence in my observations of our relationship to the Mother Gaia, and I agree that the earth does not belong to man specifically – however unfortunately we have created a reality full of belief systems in which we currently dwell that says (actions speak louder than words) anything but that.  And as a result, there is no respect – or very little anyway – amongst the masses (still duking it out everywhere).  And yet, those of us that have a vision of a better world are in the throes of making lots of changes that will help the unravelling and thus the creation of ‘better’…but we are having to do lots of homework in the ‘herd mentality’ department.

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Horses are creatures of habit.  Humans are creatures of habit.  Whatever we create as the ‘habit(s)’ can become pretty well programmed into our wonderful trainable minds, and very difficult to ‘unlearn’ once learned (i.e.programmed).  I was told by one of my horse ‘mentors’ that because horses are creatures of habit it is very important to be prompt and regular with them in your activities, i.e. feeding routines, or pasture to stall and stall to pasture routines, even exercise routines (coming from someone that keeps her horses in stalls most of the time and also showing these horses on a very prestigious show circuit).  I took the advice seriously…however, as my experience progressed with horses (and dogs and kids and people) I realized that it was the routines themselves – the ‘habits’ – that were the ‘stressors’ for all of them.  If you raise horses withOUT routines – more like it is in the wild – so that they get what they get when they get it, then there are no expectations and only gratitude for getting it!  Like on a snowy cold day does the horse need to be fed in his paddock at 7 am and again at 4 pm (routine), or one good feeding sometime early enough so that he can ‘graze’ on it for most of the day, at his leisure (we are talking grass hay, not concentrated feeds) – similar to a nice pot of soup on the wood stove, simmering all day and there for the grazing on an ‘as wanted’ basis, instead of ‘Dinner’s at 5’ period – which can create anxiety in horses and kids and parents if it is really cold outside and the soup/hay is smelling pretty good but ‘off limits’ – LOL.

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So you have a horse (or family member) that you have established routines with that are now rather ‘not fun’ as the individual in consideration is pacing the stall because expectations are NOT being met, and now there is anxiety, and maybe a stomach ache, and maybe some grouchiness going on – but can you teach an old programmed ‘dog/horse/etc’ a new trick?  Ha!  Vamos a ver – go and see, give it a try!  Easy there Champ, take it slow and introduce that ‘new’ way slowly, to ease that anxiety (addicts are a good example here – cold turkey or one step at a time?).  Yes, it is ALL addiction of one sort or another…but what caused the addiction? The routine? The programmed expectations? Thus the anxiety?  Hmmm…herd mentality or people mentality?

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I saw a video recently on how people have been being programmed (not only in this way but absolutely in this way) for at least a few hundred years (documented – however we know for much longer, sigh) that the educational system has been used to ‘program’ people to become ‘workers’.  The pecking order of this system is the grading – rewards and ego building images (8)– to establish this sub ordinance to ‘law and order’, which we are all finding out very quickly is not so lawful or orderly.  Yet, here we are having gone through the years of learning things by rote, and not even remotely with given evidence or with any kind of ‘logic’ for it; it is merely ‘the way it is done’ as the steps to our ‘progress’.  One day perhaps we will be the jefe or the jefa!  Bait.  Good wages, authority, material possessions, glory, ego fulfillment.  Yeehaw, we have us a civilized ‘this is mine’ society with no respect or understanding of balance…but totally bound up in rules and regs that could never be totally and ultimately followed (talk about spinning yarns, eh?).  And yes folks, we have hit the anxiety button because our expectations are no longer being fulfilled for what we have been programmed for.

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Animals that are captured in the wild and then placed in zoos lose their lifestyles and are forced into routines.  They pace their stalls, they become irritable with companion animals and the people entrusted with their care, and sometimes their will to live goes away.  Monkeys throw poop at the people and the camel spits in your face.  The trained tiger for the ‘big show’ suddenly turns on his trainer of many years…pecking order or fed up? Perhaps this tiger has been of a domesticated line for several generations and did not get taken from life in the wild…does the wild within reclaim the tiger?  Snapping in anxiety of ‘I can’t, I won’t do this anymore, I’m losing it or busting out of this place’…?

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The horse kept in the stall except when she is let out to run or go for a disciplined ride kills her newborn foal, in the stall, at birth.  “I can’t do this like this, it does not fit my authentic self, and therefore I will take my disturbance out on everything around me.”  It is hardwired into their operating systems as ‘fight or flight’ despite what they fight with.  I think we are all ready to ‘bust out’ of the programming, aware or not.  Animals in the wild rely on that pecking order for survival, but when you put that (pecking order transformed into routine ordinance) in a cage or a herd of people, well…

…to be continued…

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Author: Elena in the Jungle

Living a very simple reclusive and self sustaining life way out in the jungle with my husband, growing as much food and medicinal plants as possible, I find my freedom and sanctuary in the amazing and spectacular array of life that surrounds me, gifts of Gaia, most especially while traveling around on my horse.

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