Way of the Horse


Messages from Gideon

Introduction   |   Gideon on the Subject of Mud   |   Gideon on the Subject of Power   |   Gideon onThe Blossoming of Hope
Gideon on The Teaching of Tenderness   |   Gideon: Stillness as a Bridge to Authenticity   |   Gideon and The Voice of Truth!  
Smoke's Message on Breathing and Awareness   |   Return to Articles

Gideon - The Star
Photo by Janet Cohen

Gideon and Kim
Photo by Sally Paradysz

Gideon smilingGideon smiling
Photo by Kim Walnes

Gideon smilingAnother smile
Photo by Kim Walnes

Gideon with LegosGideon and a student's brother playing with Legos
Photo by Kim Walnes


Gideon on the Teaching of Tenderness

Recently, I have been recovering from being thrown from a young horse (note to self: it's not enough to just listen to the Inner Voice—I must OBEY what it says!). No broken bones, thank God—just addled brains, whiplash, and strained muscles everywhere. After resting for two days, I came out to the barn to be with Gid and as I approached his pasture to get him, his first response to my call was whipping his head up and looking at me with delight. His second response was to go back to eating grass instead of going to the gate as usual. In my head I heard, “You shouldn't be here” (with picture overtones of me resting at home). I answered by saying, “Well, I am though” (with overtones of me loving him too much to stay away). And with that, he came to the gate to meet me.

I explained to him that I only wanted to work him lightly so that his back will continue to improve (he's been recovering from a sore back), and that it was very important for him to keep the leadrope hanging and loose between us at all times because any pull or tension in the rope would really hurt me. He was wonderful—even when the lady who owns the sole mare in the barn led her near us as we left the field. Gid responded to seeing the object of his love by pricking his ears in great interest, and then quickly shifted his focus instead to eating grass. A compromise that I was happy to endorse!

I took him to the round pen so I could work him at liberty (no line attached to him at all). He was eager to show me how, during the days I took off to recover, he's been working on stepping more under himself with his hind feet and using his back differently. “It's all in keeping your hips soft and flowing”, I said as I praised him, and he immediately responded, “Yep, and that holds for you, too.” How right he is! The whole rest of the day every time my hips tightened in response to discomfort in my body he would pop into my head and remind me to let them go—and of course I would then feel better.

He gave me some awesome, mindful, and well balanced downward transitions through the gaits—I was impressed! I was also impressed when the lady and her mare reappeared to graze in the area near the round pen. I appreciated her trust in Gid's inner restraint and his bond with me, though I was not happy with the significant bump-up in attention it required from my already taxed brain and body. I appreciated even more Gid's focus in keeping one ear and eye on me as he continued to work with only one minimal glance in their direction. He could have hopped out over that rickety and low split rail fence very easily, and it was only our connection that kept him in. I just shifted my eye focus from his hindquarters to his face, and he stayed right with me. Good boy!

When we were done, I grazed him along the road and then put him back in his pasture. As I was walking away from the gate, I mentally thanked him for being so gentle and mindful with me today. He responded: “YOU TRAINED ME HOW TO BE TENDER.” I literally stopped in my tracks. As I was digesting that, he continued: “AND YOU CAN DO THE SAME WITH PEOPLE—THEY NEED TO BE TRAINED, TOO, YOU KNOW. MANY CREATURES ARE BORN NOT KNOWING THE HOW OF BEING TENDER TO OTHERS.” Wow! As I stood there with my back still to the field, digesting what he had said, he fed me a stream of feeling images. He began with instances of my patience with him, both as a youngster and as he matured. The images came faster: the times when I didn't expect him to know what I wanted and needed, and knew I must find a way to get him to understand. The many occasions where I learned to be clear, direct, and consistent. The times when he would become overwhelmed with hormones and I would set a clear boundary and insist on manners and awareness of my fragility—and get him to focus on his desire to work with me rather than against me.

Then followed rapid images of my human relationships—and the recognition on my part of how differently I had interacted with people. I realized that my upbringing had trained me to expect that love somehow brought with it an automatic download to the other person of my internal processes, wants, and needs. This unconscious belief had been directing my actions and thought processes. The result was anything but clarity, directness, or consistency. The result was confusion, hurt, and frustration for both me and the other person. I had often realized that I liked the way I interacted with horses much better than the way I interacted with humans, and frequently told myself to carry my horse knowledge over to people. Now I realized that it was this belief system that had prevented me from actually carrying through on my desire.

In wondering about the timing of Gid's revelation, I also realized that this belief was working in tandem with another very basic conditioning program that used to run my life. This was the necessity to please people in order to survive. I have spent the last two years purging this conditioning. Now I see that it was the fear of upsetting others (and to the child within me that meant losing their love and ultimately their presence) that kept me from applying the skills I'd learned with horses to working with the people dearest to me. With the unique clarity which comes from hindsight, I can now see how my fear and inherent anxiety in human interactions led to a repetition of childhood trauma and an eventual end of the relationship—just like fear and anxiety around horses leads to negative results.

Unlike so many humans, horses are taught as foals to be very honest and clear about their feelings, and they have taught me over my lifetime to be the same way with them. I know I can trust that my honesty will be received with equal honesty. Horses are discerning rather than judgmental, and they accept who you are in the moment. Now I am beginning to dare living with that same honesty and clarity as I interact in the human world—which quite honestly is a bit scary! However, I am consistently getting positive results every time I take a breath and make the leap, and I am learning to trust that all will work out for the greatest good. As A Course in Miracles teaches, ”In my defenselessness my safety lies”. As Gideon brought to my attention, it is my choice, and I can live a life filled with tenderness and joy!

Kim Walnes
~ copyright October 2007

GIDEON ON THE SUBJECT OF MUD An image of Gideon came into my head, stepping high as he mindfully and carefully walked through the unbelievably deep mud we are experiencing at the moment...

GIDEON ON THE SUBJECT OF POWER This subject came about as a result of our early showing experiences—when his hormonal surges were frightening to me.

GIDEON ON THE BLOSSOMING OF HOPE Hope is a word heard and seen often these days. No matter what the context, hearing that word releases an energy that causes a flush of joy...

GIDEON ON THE TEACHING OF TENDERNESS Recently, I have been recovering from being thrown from a young horse. No broken bones, thank God—just addled brains, whiplash, and strained muscles everywhere. After resting for two days...

GIDEON: STILLNESS AS A BRIDGE TO AUTHENTICITY Gideon and I were walking side by side up the incline to the outdoor arena. As we approached the top, he stopped suddenly and became very still. His behavior was not the normal...

GIDEON AND THE VOICE OF TRUTH! Listen! Do you hear the Voice? That inner soft whisper which only speaks the Truth? Do you hear the moment by moment Calling to BE who you truly are?

SMOKE'S MESSAGE ON BREATHING AND AWARENESS Just as in human relationships, horses and humans often unconsciously mirror one another. These reflections tend to be of behaviors whose origins lie in past traumas and in fear...


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