It is difficult to describe properly, that sense of connection that is often instant and deeply personal. We aim to find it with our horses in the stable and under saddle. We hold that hope in our hearts to find it with another human. It is relatively easy to enter into with our dogs!

I thought a lot about rapport today as a sweet, elderly dog stayed in the room with me while I lay on the table, covered in acupuncture needles. His gentle presence was a part of the healing experience as well as the needles, the bio mat beneath me and the electromagnetic pulses… he was the mentor sitting with me for a couple of hours as my neck released the pain it has carried.

It is always a profound honor to find yourself trusted by an animal. Even more so than by another human because the animals are not swayed by our words or actions; they see our hearts clearly.

Katharine with Hank

That space we can find with a horse where he feels or reads our thoughts and is responding to them effortlessly cannot be forced. To hug a horse is beyond satisfying, to be hugged by a horse is intoxicating. There are systems that distance the human from the horse – he must “respect our space”, respect our boundaries… and some of them aggressively create a pocket of charged disapproval of any attempt at connection. Horses are smart. They figure us out. I would rather have my horse feel comfortable near me and back off if I tell him to do so rather than fear repercussions of a misstep.

I think that we need to also know that sometimes, a horse may not resonate with us personally. I have known students with horses whose personalities were mismatched but who found perfect new partners for their equines and themselves. There is nothing wrong with that. We don’t all fall in love with the same person, drive the same car, eat the same cupcakes – we can take our time finding an equine partner that fits us as we fit him or her. It is about the relationship, not about the breed, color, length of tail or size of the head.

When you feel that spark of recognition, of rapport and delight with another being, open yourself up to it and explore what possibilities exist for the pairing. I am able to adore all of my horses, but I have a deeply personal, uncanny knowing and sweet rapport with one especially and I won’t say who it is.

It is amazing that we can love so clearly when we step away from the constraints others attempt to place upon us. Even in competition, don’t let your wise knowledge of your own horse become muddied by the opinions of others. It is so much fun to love and be loved! And that has to be based upon the very personal rapport.

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5 thoughts on “Rapport

  1. Martha, I think of personal sovereignty for a horse as giving him the “right” to hate apples, prefer being in a pasture, not wanting to be beside a mare… to respect those parts of his personality that are his “person-hood” – we don’t allow him to push us into the electric fence nor kick the neighboring mare – we stay in “charge” of the stable yard – but we respect each horse’s individuality and treat each as an individual. 🙂

  2. Martha

    Thank you for your comments Katharine. The idea of personal sovereignty in a horse intrigues me. Seems antithetical given their dependence on us for care. When you have a chance, could you explain a little more about this? Thanks in advance! ~Martha

  3. Martha

    Oh how you speak to an open wound in my heart, for I once had just such a relationship and ended up giving it away… giving her away.

    Mya Paloosa was all bad attitude and stubborn mess when I first saw her. She bit, bucked, star gazed & would only turn in one direction at one speed (fast!), but she had this amazing, far reaching stride at the walk that was just pure pleasure to experience. Against all advice, I brought her home. I was to be her teacher and trainer.

    Loooooong story short… she became my teacher, trainer, mentor & companion during some of the most difficult years of my life. As she gained confidence and came into herself, she gave it all back to me and more. Such wisdom and patience that horse had! Plenty of attitude too. That never changed. We were together for ten years.

    Hard times hit and legal counsel insisted the horse needed to go. I refused to sell her as I didn’t feel she was my property to own or sell. I regret entrusting her to someone I didn’t really know all that well. I only found out later that she was sold almost immediately… neglected and passed from place to place.

    I lost track of Mya, but keep looking (even though she’d be an old crone by now 🙂 I will never forget her nor lose the gratitude I hold in my heart for the opportunity to have such communion with another soul. I have, over time, had to learn to forgive myself for the decision to part ways, trusting in time and the universe to ultimatly provide her a safe place to land where her wisdom is appreciated.

    It still hurts, but writing about her has brought a smile to my face and warmth to my heart. Thank you Katherine for prompting these memories and letting me share. Healing is a process …

    • Martha, I, too, have lost track of horses that I had been compelled to place into homes that I prayed would be proper. It can be the not knowing that is more haunting than knowing of their fate sometimes… but here is what I believe:
      They do know our intentions and our love. They live in the moment with forgiveness and personal sovereignty. Even if our time with someone is fleeting – if it is deeply loving, that is what they carry with them forever as well. I would never give up knowing someone I love / have loved, to avoid the pain of losing them.
      Thank you for sharing your heart. All love, Katharine

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