By: Deb Kitchenmaster

The days are longer, we’re almost halfway through the year, God’s promises are “yea” and “amen,” and horses are some of the best teachers you will ever meet. Yes. The word I hear the horse whispering these days is the word “union.” So let’s talk about that. The word union is about coming together. Union is about joining up or joining together. Union also means bringing together. Do you see a common denominator in these meanings? If so, that would be the word “together.” So what brings about the possibility of being or joining together? That would be “foundation.” We need a baseline or a foundation to build on — to connect, to merge and to blend.  I am referring to a union that is built upon both skill and intuition that goes beyond the hours seated in the saddle. I’m talking about an awareness that must take place before we can truly communicate with that which stands in our presence.

If I were to have an acronym for UNION it would be: Unity, Noticing, Intentional, Observant, and Noise. Why would you say noise? Because there is a sound that comes forth, a communication, an expression between horse and human when there is a blending. This is a sound (noise) that can be seen and heard.

Our technologically advanced culture has an influence on each of us to only believe what we can see, prove, and explain. It is easy to view animal-human communication as impossible or crazy thinking. I hope you shake yourself from this entanglement so you can be free to enjoy a horse-human relationship if you so choose. When we can understand what it means to be a horse, react like a horse, and relate to other things like a horse, then we can have a more productive relationship with our horse. When we choose not to treat the horse as you would a dog or a human, but choose to train, ride, and communicate within the boundaries that define the nature of the horse we will enjoy UNION.

Almost every problem the human faces (excluding physical injuries or ailments) with their horse is due to an unbalanced relationship between horse and rider. Most of the time the human is not fulfilling the position in the relationship that the horse needs them to fulfill. A horse needs a leader! If the horse does not have a leader, he will become the leader. In fact, the union a human has in his relationship with his horse is dimensionally connected to the degree in which the human (rider) is able to be the leader! It is the relationship between human and horse more than any other factor that determines the ability to achieve results. When we gaze into the horse’s world, the relationship with all other members of the herd is the FOUNDATION supporting every move and decision a horse makes throughout his life. The relationship between horse and rider is the beginning, a foundational block on which to begin building on.  On this foundational block (relationship), you will get in touch with your attitudes and your belief system. This leads to UNDERSTANDING a couple of things. (1) The horse is a herd animal.  As a herd animal there are inherent boundaries and behaviors that facilitate my communication and actions with my horse. (2) The second understanding is to know that it is more important and more productive to focus on the relationship between me and the horse than it is to concentrate on the result that I hope to achieve.

To develop a healthy relationship with our horse we need to know how the horse views us. The horse either sees us as a hunter or hunted. What? Perhaps haunted! Just kidding! If the horse views you as a hunter, its natural fear and resistance must be overcome in order for the horse to trust you. Trust is essential in any relationship. If the horse views you as hunted, there is a measurement of respect we must earn before a relationship can be established…another relational essential.

We each can learn from THE HORSE. This article translated into communities, school boards, churches, businesses, homes, families, even government has the possibility of bringing UNION to our environment. Saddle up! We have a trail to blaze!

By: Deb Kitchenmaster