"INTUITION" BASED IN PAYING ATTENTION
Perceptive In the Moment Interactions
Horses are highly sensitive, observational prey animals. Because of this they seem to operate from a grounded place where they have a strong awareness of their environment. They live in the moment as a survival mechanism. We are prey animals too but as our brains grew, we have left some of these more “mammalian, hind brain” skills behind as we use our big brains in more predatorial ways. We now have a strongly developed prefrontal cortex. There is much benefit in having a strong prefrontal cortex (this is an understatement!) but it can also get in our way as we ruminate, rationalize, relive fears or ignore our “mammalian brain” while our for brain is thinking it through. In this more recent way of living in the world it feels like we have lost our ability to be “in-tune” with our surroundings. My equine partner’s more grounded way of being in the world can invite us to join them in this stance. They offer a model of sorts to invite us to live with greater awareness of our moment to moment choices and interactions as we work to ground ourselves and “meet the horses where they are at.” For more information please see Sue McIntosh's blog post "Why Horses: All We Have in Common - and Not".
Meeting the horses where they are at in this grounded place invites an experience of connection that really seems to cultivate a “safe place” where we feel understood. The horses are really “paying attention” and they respond intuitively based in this attentive stance. I speak more about the resulting relational feeling in the neighbouring section on non-judgemental unconditional support. But these experiences with horses also act as a reminder of sorts for us to be in the world similarly. I feel that this grounded way of interacting with the horses in sessions invites us to learn from this and bring it to our relationships outside the corrals. I find it sort of asks us to “try on” this intuition that is based in “paying attention” in our daily interactions. We gain some of our own intuition/heightened awareness by watching and reflecting in real-world interactions that seem to make a positive difference as we navigate choices in our relationships.