Horses and Humans
becoming the kind of human a horse seeks to be with
© Smail & Van Rossem, 2018

Aids

Living and acting in the moment

Writers, such as Eckhart Tolle, have shown that we humans are almost constantly preoccupied with thoughts of the past or the future, which prevent us from consciously experiencing the immediacy of everyday life. Horses, on the other hand, do not suffer from that handicap. There is a growing awareness amongst humans that horses live in the moment and are extremely sensitive to the energy of being which they experience in relation to other living creatures both within themselves and in those other creatures. As such, if we humans would like to establish a true connection with these creatures, we need to develop the ability to live and act in the moment with our horses. This can be done through long-term physical and spiritual development. Here “spiritual” does not refer some pie-in-the-sky, ethereal or religious experience but to the approach we adopt towards ourselves, our immediate surroundings and the life forms we encounter within them. Yet there is more to it. In The Power of Now Eckhart Tolle reveals that a preoccupation with every moment of being - that is, awareness - is the gateway to joy and the starting point for remedying any deficiency that we may encounter. It enables us to throw off the tyranny of past regrets and future fears. As such, our long-term goal is to live consciously, meaning that we are fully aware of ourselves, our immediate surroundings and the life forms we encounter within them. In the meantime though there are techniques that you can employ as temporary aids while you acquire those skills through long-term self- development. Two of them are listed below. Both borrow techniques taken from Eastern active meditation practices, such as Tai Chi, in particular, what Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling refers to as the ground position.

Awareness weekends

Many humans who are committed to achieving a new way of being with horses, one which empathises, energises and empowers them, are often tempted to go in search of a guru to show them the way. It is true that those who are more advanced on the path to the horse can help us but ultimately the solution can only come from within ourselves through self-development. As part of this self-development you might choose to attend various forms of training given by such a guru either with or without your horse. Another option is to organise your own awareness weekend with a group of friends. Such a weekend might cover both spiritual and body awareness, although it could also focus more on the one than the other. To give you some idea of what you could do, here are links to two body awareness weekends organised for a few friends in Australia. Although the focus was largely inspired by the work of Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling, there is no reason why you should limit yourself to any single person or influence. For example, you could use Eckhart Tolle’s works as input for spiritual awareness and Tai Chi to facilitate body awareness. In addition, you may also want to involve music, art, video, all that your imagination can come up with and, of course, the horse. Body Awareness Weekend 1 Body Awareness Weekend 2

The ground position

The ground position is designed to help you relax your body while simultaneously focusing your energy as you connect with the earth beneath your feet and everything within yourself and your immediate surroundings. To assume the ground position stand upright with your knees slightly bent. Spread your legs until your feet are roughly as far apart as the breadth of your shoulders and lean slightly forward to ensure that your body is straight. Now place your hands on your hips and swivel the base of your pelvis forward and upward.

The one-minute solution

This aid works much better if you need a quick fix to place you in the moment just before you join your horse. It should take about a minute and involves the following steps: 1. assume the ground position; 2. breathe through your belly (this will lower your centre of gravity to your core and give you greater stability and better balance); 3. focus your awareness in your head until it feels relaxed and then move on to your neck, shoulders and so on until you reach your feet and you are aware of your entire body and are relaxed; 4. while retaining that awareness of your body, extend it to include your immediate surroundings, using all of your senses where possible.

The five-minute solution

This is a more intensive form of the one-minute solution and it is recommenced if you have a little more time available. It should take about five minutes and involves the following steps (as shown to us by former Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling student, Jason Alexander Wauters: 1. assume the ground position; 2. ensure that you are breathing comfortably, to which I would add that you should not try and fill or empty your lungs completely and you may want to try and breathe through your belly (this will lower your centre of gravity to your core and give you greater stability and better balance); 3. be aware of your body and your surroundings, and maintain this awareness throughout all the remaining steps; 4. direct your gaze at the horizon but do not focus on a single object; 5. keep a spring in your stance by ensuring that you do not lock your knees; 6. while holding your body straight but relaxed, gently tip yourself forward and backward a few times before finding a comfortable position a little behind the most forward point; 7. now tilt your pelvis backward and forward gently a few time before ending with it tilted forward (what really helps is to swivel your pelvis in a rising arc when you come forward); 8. hold your hands slightly in front of you at waist height and move your fingers slowly as though your are playing an invisible piano; 9. gently swivel your shoulders backwards and forwards a few times to loosen them; 10. starting with your head, slowly lower your upper body while allowing your arms to hang loosely until your hands are a little way above the ground; 11. sway your arms gently to the left and right and backward and forward, always ensuring that they are hanging loosely; 12. raise your body slowly but do it as though you are unfolding your body from the waist up, your head remaining bowed until the rest is upright; 13. find your stance again (where you ended up in Step 5), tilt your pelvis forward and lower your chin to ensure that your head is straight and not directed up or down.

Grounding yourself – entering into the moment

You are now ready to go to your horse...

If you have done this correctly, you should end up in a position which resembles how you would sit on a horse with all your energy focused in your core (in your abdomen about a hand’s width below your belly button) and your upper body entirely relaxed. More importantly, you will be aware of nothing but your body and your immediate surroundings. In a word, you will experience a sense of wellbeing and will be in the moment, baggage-free and ready for your horse. Have fun!