When Your Horse Asks: Do You Trust Me?

I created a painting around the theme of Expectations & Insanity. And then I asked my horses to show me more about these concepts – so my Belgian/Fjord asked me take him onto 20 acres of unfenced land – unhaltered, no ropes, nothing. Wait, what??

About 8 acres of the land where I board my horses is fenced. The back 20 acres is only fenced along one side out of four. And the last time my horses escaped (before I reinforced the fence) the neighbour at the back of the land threatened to call the SPCA if all 4 horses were not off her land in one hour. I was in Mexico at the time. So yeah. Just a wee bit of stress.

A month ago, I erected a corral-pen area just in front of the gate that leads to this unfenced section of land. This is designed to give me a ‘holding tank’ where I can have just one or two horses in the pen, close the pen gate, then open the fence gate to the back 20 acres. This means I can easily and non-stressfully separate 1 horse from a herd of 5 who would all LOVE to go back there!

My corral-pen provides easy, calm access to the back gate

This means I can take just one or two horses on the trails back there and work on leading skills, or just hanging out in a new space and seeing what 5-Minute Fun experiential learning wants to emerge.

Sounds like a good plan, eh? But first, let’s backtrack a bit and talk about that painting…

The 100-Word Game for the Subconscious

A couple weeks ago, I had some friends visiting from Europe and we did this art game I love. Here’s how it works (and then you can do it too!):

1. Pick two numbers between 1 and 100. Trust that whatever two numbers you pick have significance for you, at this time.

2. Look up your two numbers on this list of 100 words/phrases and see what you get (e.g. #32 Expectations and #11 Insanity)

3. Create a painting based on your 2 words/phrases. This is where you have to allow yourself to go really loose-brain and just slap down whatever occurs to you.

I usually do this game with friends, so that automatically puts a 2 or 3 hour time limit on the painting; which also serves to keep anyone from thinking too much, or planning, criticizing etc. I mean, who can do a good painting in only 2 hours??

So now that everyone is freed from the pressure or expectation to produce good art, and everyone has permission to just slap down a bunch of crap… the subconscious is now free to play!

So here’s what I painted (I used watercolor, chalk pastel, and conté pencil):

Expectations & Insanity (c) Jini Patel Thompson

I just painted everything by feel. And then when I looked at it after I was finished, I interpreted the painting this way: The bright happy colors shooting up are my expectations… which soon meet with limitations… and this leads to the dark, swirling insanity of chaos. But even within the insanity/chaos, you can see kernels of my original vision or hope (which produced the expectations). So, in this way, expectations (for me) just lead to insanity! I am far better served by increasing my intention (vision), whilst loosening my attachment to outcome (expectation).

And don’t worry, stick with me, I’ll soon show you what these paintings had to do with trusting my horse!

My friend Jenny chose the words Blood and Freedom – and this is what she painted (she used watercolor and acrylic):

Blood & Freedom (c) Jenny Andrews

She interpreted her painting this way:

“The white dots are white light, light represents freedom to me as it carries and illuminates the truth. I also interpreted the blood as my bloodwork results being out of range; treat this and it will bring me freedom and allow my light to shine. I love singing, and being on stage is where my soul shines, so funny that both you and Ian [my husband] saw a curtain with lights. Perhaps it is singing that will provide the final healing aspect for my thyroid and blood work – leading to freedom.”

After creating these paintings, we headed out to my barn to feed the horses and do the chores. As we drove out there, we set an intention for the horses to bring us a deeper understanding of our artwork and their messages.

And out at the barn…

As we drove up the barn road, 4 of my 5 horses were standing in the paddock, looking down the barn road towards us – all except Montaro. Right away, this was strange, because Montaro is top dog in the herd and almost always holds this prime position as I drive in:

Montaro in front – waiting to greet me

But not today. I went looking for Montaro and there he was by himself, towards the back of the field. He flashed me a picture (in my mind’s eye) of him and I going into the back 20 acres together. But he wanted to be unhaltered and completely at liberty. Oh boy. Three separate directions he could take off in… nasty neighbour at the back… what if he didn’t want to come back to the fenced part for hours? What if I couldn’t catch him again and had to drive home leaving him in the unfenced area overnight??! And so on.

Well, in part two, I’m going to tell you everything that happened back there and how it all worked out – in detail, with a video. For now, I will tell you that Montaro and I disappeared into the back 20 and the other four horses lost their minds – to the point where I was worried they were going to attempt to go through the fence. Thank god they executed perfect skids and sliding stops right at the fence line, instead. Whew. They didn’t even want the loose flakes of alfalfa Jenny and her fiancé had put out for them in the barn. They just tore into the barn and right back out again.

While I was experiencing the significant challenge of giving Montaro complete freedom – with no expectation of how this was going to go, but just really hoping it would all turn out well in the end – Jenny was experiencing the full visceral franticness of the herd as Montaro left them and disappeared from sight, to a place they all really wanted to go too!

The aspect that made the biggest impact on her was how upset the other horses were – and how fully they expressed their anxiety and their feelings about being left behind. Jenny said, “It linked to a memory that came up, when I was young, of feeling abandoned. How perhaps this body memory was carried in my blood and causing my thyroid stuff.”

Jenny is a very gifted healing facilitator; certified in EFT, hypnotherapy, NLP, and Herbal Medicine – so she knew she needed to heal this forgotten childhood trauma. A trauma she hadn’t been given permission to really feel or express at the time it happened. Seeing how upset the horses were and how expressive they were of their feelings plugged her back into that memory and the realization of how much she’d repressed her own feelings/experience at that time.

She said, “Perhaps this experience and singing again (something she had allowed critics to choke off in her) will lead to freedom… or healing this trauma would mean I will sing more.”

Jenny – who’d never really been around horses, now moving freely among the herd

For my part, I had a very powerful experience of trusting Montaro – with no expectations as to how it would go, or what the outcome would be. Allowing for the possibility of chaos, or disaster… or not. My challenge was to set my intention/vision upon trusting Montaro. Trusting in our relationship. And let the rest go. Montaro basically invited me to experience a representational microcosm of my painting!

I remember reading once that the key to moving out of the Victim position was through strengthening your intention and lessening your attachment to the outcome – doing both simultaneously. So you get your vision, your intention really strong – and let the rest go. You trust the universe for the outcome. This is what Montaro invited me to experience – which I will tell you about and show you next week.

The very cool thing about asking our horses for more information about an issue or concept, is that they give us a visceral, felt experience of that. Knowing or understanding something in your brain is worlds away from knowing it in your bones and cells.

We may not know what they’re teaching us when it’s happening – or even that they are teaching us something – but in hindsight, it can all become clear. We just need to open to the experience and bring awareness to the meaning behind the behaviour. If we set an intention or request for what we’d like to know or experience before we join our horses in their space, that often makes interpreting the meaning much easier – because we have already walked into the dynamic with awareness.

The 100-Word Game is another useful tool for bringing hidden patterns, beliefs, or information to the surface and it’s also a really FUN thing to do with friends. Don’t worry if you don’t have much art stuff – children’s crayons, pencil crayons, markers, or paint trays work just great. Some chocolate, tea, or snacks and voila! Life doesn’t get much better than that 🙂

*Read Part Two here

Jini Patel Thompson is a natural health writer and Freedomite. She began riding at age 2 in Kenya, and got her first horse at age 8 in Alberta, and so continues a life-long journey and love affair with these amazing creatures.
When Your Horse Asks: Do You Trust Me?

6 thoughts on “When Your Horse Asks: Do You Trust Me?

  • April 8, 2017 at 8:28 am
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    Jini …this blogs stories/experiences seem to always come to me so magically timed. First of all how great that you have such amazing friends. I often feel quite alone in my thinking and ways of approaching the world. What an awesome game that you all played together. I also feel that it’s really cool that you could leave your friends and go off and experience what Montaro had in mind for you. It’s so inspiring that you could all just go with the flow of what was happening. I was impressed by both drawings & could feel emotion from each that resonated with such truth. Yesterday I was actually thinking of writing you a personal email asking if you could give some insight on listening to my horses thoughts for me and them. I feel my mind is always going so fast and even when I try and meditate under Big Pa Pa which is the most beautiful tranquil place for me…I still can’t turn off all the chatter in my head & attention to neighbors passing by (wondering if they think I am weird) and try an focus on the boys and there thoughts. The thing is I have always been the kind of person who doesn’t care what people think so why does my focus or thought process go there & distract me? Maybe I’m not admitting something to myself?🤔 Anyway I feel I’m good at observing my horses and making conclusions about some health & mental states they might be in or going through….but when I really get to the meat & potatoes of it I feel stuck with seeing or feeling that true deeper connection of consciousness. I have begun to ask outloud verbal questions to them and listen or watch for responses ? Sometimes I feel they give me an answer but then I wonder if I am just putting my own answer in my head? Banner has really been the horse I am trying to hear because he has such health issues. Seems like ever time I get to the root of one another pops up? It’s been like that since we came together 7 years ago. Why should one horse have to experience so much pain and trauma in his life. He is such an amazing intelligent soul. I would hate to think he goes through all of the pain just to teach me to listen better? It breaks my heart for him over & over again. The latest thing is ..he was developing a summer sore( he gets them almost every year) so I had to worm him Tuesday, which I hate cause I hate poison….& then he started to colic yesterday. He’s only colicked one other time since I have had him and I actually knew the cause & it wasn’t the wormer. I knew something was wrong Thursday night but didn’t listen to my intuition cause it was really stormy so I blamed it on that. Then in the morning he was still off and trying to tell me something but I couldn’t zero in on it with him. Then something told me to go hang out with him cause he was lying down calmly just above Big Pa Pa. When I got to my chair he popped up and started running around in large circles. At times he was tucking his hind end in and then stopped and pooped ( & it was normal) then whinnied many times with more frantic circles, then came straight to me and followed me up to there shelter. So my husband & I gave him the calming paste & as soon as it hit his mouth he relaxed and he has seemed fine ever since? My other horse Dreamer also answered to me that the morning that Banner was dealing with a bout of laminitis, because of the wormer. Dreamer is my newer horse & is a caretaker for sure. He was very concerned when my neighbors mini horses started to founder and insisted I get involved and help them he wouldn’t even leave them until I assured him I was implementing a solution to help them get better. (Which we all did very successfully..yeah) He has showed me in our very short time together that he is very sensitive to other horses well being. I guess I’m just asking if you or any of the fellow readers have any advise for me to help focus in more? I feel I do ok sometimes but miss the mark others. I’m sure I just have to keep at it & try and practice more. Maybe that’s the way it is for all off us? Just for reference I am a calm unstressed confident being in the majority of my life. I did listen to the tree meditation Kesia guided us through on the symposium and it was wonderful but I still felt I lacked focus. I also understand you can’t turn off your mind you just have to keep refocusing on what you want. I think maybe I’m just trying to hard and expecting to much….maybe if I just let it come to me without such a feeling of force it would be easier. I guess thats what this story is all about. I can’t wait to read the part 2 to this experience. ✌🏼️❤️🐴

    Reply
    • April 8, 2017 at 8:58 pm
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      Hi Michelle, I always love your comments because you’re so REAL and open/honest. Here’s my take on it. Intuition (which for me encompasses all non-verbal communication) is a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. And the way to use it is to simply begin trusting your very FIRST inkling, hunch, whisper. And bam! right on the heels of that suspicion will come the doubts, “I’m not sure. I think I just made that up. Let me ask again. Okay I’ll just do this first and see if it’s still there. Maybe it was just my mind. I probably imagine things because I want them to be that way…” and so on. But to exercise that muscle, you need to ACTION the very first whisp that comes to you. You discipline yourself to ignore any questions, doubts, etc and you accept that you may be completely wrong… and you do it anyway.

      You may receive confirmation that your hunch was right, you may not. It doesn’t matter. Just keep doing that, over and over. And your intuition/body/spirit starts to say, “Huh. She’s listening. Okay, let’s speak a little louder.” Rather than just giving up because you never listen anyway. Does that make sense? We need to show faith FIRST. And immediately, without question, ACTION that thing.

      The other way to go about this is to take a workshop – something on developing your intuition or psychic ability, whatever they want to call it. Then you will be led through exercises where you will see fairly quickly that you ARE able to sense things, and you’re not just making shit up! Perhaps a workshop would be ideal for you because then you’d also get to meet some like-minded people and start building a network of fun friends to enjoy/explore all this stuff with.

      I met Shivam (comment below yours) at the Equinisity workshop, we stayed in touch, and then I hung out with her and her wonderful sister on my last trip to San Diego and we had a BLAST! She took me to this friend of hers who is a Tibetan singing bowl dealer (from Nepal) and after playing all the bowls in his shop (and finding one I really liked), he went into the back and brought out the antique bowls. He said, “Normally I don’t show these to people because they can’t hear the difference.” I KNEW I was done for. I knew one of those bowls was meant for me and jeez louise HOW MUCH was it going to cost?? Well, I played every one of them and when I held a medium sized bowl from the 15th century, I swear to god, the bowl communicated to me, “At last! I found you again!” and I had the knowledge that we had been together in another lifetime when I was a monk and played this very special bowl. And of course, I had to buy it. Luckily, thanks to Shivvy, I paid way less than it would have cost through a broker. And that’s just one of the cool things we did together. So I encourage you to go to workshops or classes where you’re going to meet like-minded people.

      Are you able to come to the Healing with Horse Symposium in AZ the end of April? Jess Campmans is doing a 1-day workshop right before the Symposium on exactly this thing. It would be so cool to meet you in person – come if you can! http://www.healingwithhorse.org/symposium/

      Or, how about reaching out to people via this blog? Both Kesia and I have met some wonderful people this way. If you notice someone is in California, find out where. For example, Pat Rothchild may live near you and may love to meet your herd and hang out for an afternoon…

      Lastly, did you do the meditation Montaro and I created?:
      http://www.listentoyourhorse.com/meditation-vs-mindfulness-with-horses/

      Usually when the mind wants to wander, giving it stuff to imagine/visualize (guided meditation) works really well. And you just do it over and over – becoming more fluent and finding it easier every time.

      Reply
    • April 9, 2017 at 12:57 am
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      Aww, they’re so lovely 🙂

      Reply
  • April 8, 2017 at 5:05 pm
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    Jini – I am always inspired by your sense of adventure, spontaneity and going with the flow. I can’t wait to hear what Montero had in mind for you when you took off into the “south 40” together. And I love this healing art therapy process. What fun! I want to try it. Just reading the blog and picking 2 numbers, I got “pain” and “darkness” !!! Yikes! I would have to go into some depth with this one for it to reveal its message to me. Love to you and your herd. Shivam

    Reply
    • April 8, 2017 at 9:03 pm
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      Ooo yes – do you have any art stuff lying around? Just put on some music and see what comes… or get Apara to do it with you! Don’t forget, art is not literal, so you may paint something that doesn’t look at all like pain and darkness – or it may lead you somewhere else. If you do it, post a pic and tell us what came up for you! That would be so cool… 🙂

      Reply

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