Your Thoughts Can Also Become Your Animal's Thoughts
Spiritual masters throughout the centuries have said to pay attention to your thoughts due to the powerful energetic forces held by them. This can be difficult to understand if you haven’t noticed real life examples of just how powerful your thoughts can be. Today, I am going to share a story with you that totally changed my perception concerning “the power of thought.” I hope it does the same for you too.
Many years ago, I had a young riding student named Carly who came to my farm once a week. The first thing that I taught Carly, for safety reasons, was how to stop a horse with one rein. Thus if Carly was ever on a horse that was traveling at a speed uncomfortable for her, she could hold one rein forcing the horse into a curve at which time he would stop his forward motion, bend, and come to a stop. As the horse stopped, Carly released the rein. Carly always chose to ride Blackjack because he was her favorite. My own children always preferred Blackjack too due to his willing and gentle nature. He was easy to ride, fast when you wanted to go fast, and seemed to be extra careful with timid riders. Over a 28 year period, Blackjack taught numerous children how to ride. For many reasons, he was a good fit for Carly as well.
On this fateful day, I had set up a new exercise for Carly. She entered the arena where I had placed 2 barrels approximately 20-25 feet apart. Carly rode Blackjack as he walked in a figure eight pattern between the two barrels. Carly already had some experience posting the trot on straight lines. Today she was going to learn to post the trot on curves by going around the barrels. Gradually, Carly started posting the trot on the straight lines and just walked around the barrels. I told Carly when she was ready to increase the pace and keep Blackjack at a trot around the barrels until she made a full figure eight between the two barrels. Carly performed this maneuver beautifully and came back down to a walk. She successfully repeated this pattern several more times. During the fourth or fifth repetition of this pattern, Carly was rounding the barrel and all of a sudden, Blackjack took off at a full canter! Carly screamed as Blackjack moved faster and faster toward the second barrel. I calmly shouted, “Carly, one rein stop.” I shouted this repeatedly but Carly could no longer hear me. She had panicked and was hugging Blackjack with all her might as she tried to stay on his back. After they had covered ¾ of the arena, Carly became so unbalanced that she fell off of Blackjack completely. Fortunately, she was not injured and as she fell, Blackjack came to a halt.
I have heard people say that horses can be unpredictable. After having witnessed such a scene, my first inclination was to agree with them. Blackjack had never done this kind of thing before. His outburst seemed to come out of the blue and his behavior was quite puzzling to say the least. I simply could not understand what could have happened to make him take off at the canter. As I reviewed the scene over and over in my mind’s eye, I finally found my answer.
As I retraced every detail of what was happening as Carly rode Blackjack, I went so far as to trace my thoughts of each moment as well. While Carly was riding, I had been day-dreaming about one of my favorite times with Blackjack and my children. We had gone to a “fun show” sponsored by our local horsemen’s association, and on the spur of the moment had entered Blackjack into a barrel racing competition because he was so fast. One of my children rode Blackjack during the race. The rest of us were so excited. We shouted and screamed as they turned each barrel. I even remembered our chant as Blackjack rounded that last barrel. We all shouted as loudly as we could, “Bring it home Blackjack, bring it home!” It was one of the most fun days that I ever remember sharing with both horses and my children.
Animals think in pictures and as I reminisced about that special day, I undoubtedly transmitted my mental images of the barrel race to Blackjack. I had been blissfully replaying my memory about the race at the exact moment Blackjack was rounding the barrel with Carly, so of course he took off just like he did at the “fun show.” He thought he was doing what I wanted him to do. I learned a valuable lesson that day. We need to be very careful what thoughts we have in our heads when we are working with animals. I also put to rest the idea that animals are unpredictable. When we are aware of our thoughts, animals can be quite predictable indeed!
I am happy to report that Carly suffered no injuries that day. I picked her up, dusted her off and told her that she was now officially a real cowgirl! Blackjack has long since retired and is no longer available for riding lessons. He does, however, continue to school my students in Carolyn Resnick’s Method, The Waterhole Rituals. You won’t find a more sensitive and caring teacher than Blackjack. He is now 34 years young and still going strong.
Have a great rest of the week and remember to WATCH THOSE THOUGHTS!