I felt elevated and moved by grace as the large horse pivoted and turned under my saddle. My hands held the soft leather reins loosely, yet with confidence, as the narrow and rough trail we’d been following snaked down a thickly forested slope. She and I had learned to trust one another over time and I was keenly aware that she was paying close attention to my guidance as we navigated various trail obstacles.
I communicated primarily with my weight and my leg pressure. I gave her verbal confirmation when she moved just as I asked. The horse and I navigated through the tangle of brush and logs together, each step a conscious and important act. There was precious little room for error as the steep incline was full of obstructions. The concentration, trust and partnership was total as we worked our way through the forest.
There had been a recent storm resulting in many downed tree limbs and the ground was wet and soft. We were making deliberate progress and then encountered a large tree that had fallen across the trail. I dismounted and led the horse by a lead rope off to the side to get past the tangle. I was in a precarious position by being downslope of the horse.
In addition to route-finding, I focused on remaining calm and offering smooth movement and soothing talk. Mutual trust meant the difference between finding the trail again and a panicked 1,000-pound animal lunging right over me.
At one point the horse put a rear hoof into a slot between two tree branches and was momentarily trapped in place. I saw her immediately tense up. This was the moment of truth. The horse held her position and looked to me for direction. I kept talking in a gentle, slow tone of voice. I held an inner stillness as I knew the horse was taking the cue for what to do next from my movements and my energy.
Thankfully, the horse felt and responded to my calm instruction and allowed me to direct her next steps beyond the trouble. I re-mounted and finished the ride home.
When your partner is distressed, you can help them by remaining grounded and in your ease. This way you are an emotional anchor so they can work through being bothered and find their own ease. Show clarity, calmness and certainty of direction to the best of your ability. Your only options are fear or mastery (of yourself).
Remember that your partner will offer you truth. Align your life with your own truth and purpose; demonstrate your clarity, direction, integrity and presence. Life doesn’t respond to what you want or need. Life responds to how you show up.