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.
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.