A horse does not care what you’re feeling as long as you’re honestly feeling it. There are no “bad” feelings where horses are concerned. There are just safe and unsafe situations.
~~ A. Taylor
The longer you’re around a horse program of any kind you are bound to hear the phrase “A horse does not lie”. A horse’s natural behavior is to always express in its body language what is going on in its brain. There is no deceit in horses. It simply does not exist in them. Being completely authentic is what helps them to survive.
Although we have domesticated the horse they still carry those basic needs for safety and survival. Once a horse notices danger, it responds quickly and purposefully to communicate to the herd. At that point they can flee to safety. The herd relies on its many members for safety and a level of obscurity in a large group. There is no place in the herd for deceit, manipulation or selfishness. Those things would equate to a breakdown in the safety system, ultimately resulting in less horses and eventually no horses.
In Equine Therapy we bring people face to face with authenticity. A horse may not be able to read your mind, but your body shares all the information a horse needs. Hiding a feeling or pretending you’re not having a feeling is not authentic. In the horse’s world that is not honest. The horse will put that in the “unsafe” category. Not honest\unsafe to a horse is the same as a predator pretending to be something it’s not. A lion will hide behind bushes or try to blend into tall grass. A bear will stay down wind and try to blend into the landscape until it can make a run at the herd.
If our insides do not match our outsides we are not authentic. Trying to hide feelings is like trying to put one over on the horse. The amazing thing about that is your horse probably knew you were having a bad day the moment you stepped out of the car. In working with a horse we are able to see exactly how not being authentic affects our relationship with ourselves and the relationships in our lives. They will simply reflect back to us what our body says to them, honest\safe OR not honest\ unsafe.
Their forgiving nature and eagerness for relationship make them a perfect fit for us to practice being more authentic. It does not always come easily, yet they are eager every day to be that mirror of truth. The more aware of what you feel and how you feel it, the closer your relationship with the horse will be.