Category Archives: Inspiration and Idols

Guts & Determination

“You have to have guts and determination if you want to look for what I’m talking about. If you don’t, that don’t make you wrong. 
What do you want to do or accomplish and what are you capable of accomplishing? 
It’s your concentration, your coordination and your reflexes in that order. But the concentration isn’t near deep enough.
You say ‘Oh he might spook, he might buck, he might fall down, he might rear.’ 
So look at what he’s working with!
He knows you can’t handle it and that don’t make him wrong to know that you can’t handle it. 
He might do any of those things because something might scare him or he might slip and fall at any time and yet the people can’t handle that……..but they want to go on with their horse. 
If he turns around quick, they fall off!
So confidence is knowing that you are prepared for the unthinkable and I don’t know how you are going to get that without experience……..that still don’t make you wrong. 
You know where you’re at, you should know your capabilities. That’s no sin and no crime. 
You’re being honest with your fellow man. 
You’re being honest with your horse; you’re trying to keep him out of trouble.”

- Ray Hunt.

From an article that appeared in The Eclectic Horseman Magazine ‘Words of Wisdom from Ray Hunt’ - http://www.eclectic-horseman.com/content/view/314/

Unknown Photographer I own no rights to this Photo

Unknown Photographer
I own no rights to this Photo

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Filed under Handling Emotions, Horses, Human & Animal Interactions, Humans, Inspiration and Idols, Quotes

Your Idea, His Idea

“The horse knows. He knows the human twenty to one. It’s amazing how much he’ll get out of things, how he’ll fill in for as little as the human knows about him. 
How that horse can handle it has always been a mystery to me. Put yourself in his shoes to live your whole life where no one knows who you really are. Well, I haven’t met a human yet who compares to a horse. A human couldn’t take it. 
See, you can get a horse to do something if you’re tough enough, just like you can with a human. 
But a willing communication is a different matter. 
You fix it so the horse can try, then you allow him to work it out. You have to give him that dignity. You make your idea his idea.
I believe these colts, I trust them. 
I always trust they can buck too. Don’t think they won’t.
Just keep fixing it up and let them find it. Don’t try to make it happen. 
Prepare to position for the transition. The transition is the last thing that happens. And don’t try to be boss.”

- Ray’s words are from an article ‘Ray Hunt: The Cowboy Sage’ written by Gretel Ehrlich and appeared in the Shambhala Sun, July 1998.

500px / Photo "look" by Yevgeniy Zhenikov

500px / Photo “look” by Yevgeniy Zhenikov

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Filed under Horses, Human & Animal Interactions, Inspiration and Idols, Quotes

Sleeping In A Pack

On the road with my dogs, the moment I look forward to the most is going to sleep in my little trailer with a heap of blankets and all of my dogs surrounding me.

It really is a primal thing when you think about it – to not only share a space with others but to sleep in a “pack” or group. So long ago when people and wolves first started working together and slowly began living together, when dogs were truly working dogs, people and their wolves and later their dogs would sleep in the same space.

For safety or due to lack of abundant shelter, people and animals would gather together at night. You really become aware of how comforting it is when you close your eyes to the sounds of others deeply breathing.

So maybe a week ago I was in my trailer with three of my dogs. One was next to me and others were snuggled up in a corner. All were slowly falling asleep and the two boys in the corner were doing major synchronized breathing. I almost recorded it but, as always, when I got the camera out they fell quiet.

Snuggled into each other, they perfectly alternated their breaths – one would breathe in exactly as the other breathed out. Then they breathed in and out at the same time. This went on for a good half an hour or more. They were so synchronized and it had a major relaxing effect on the whole pack, including me.

After some time, they entered REM sleep and began dreaming… My Labradoodle began kicking his legs as he ran through dreamland and right as he did, the other dogs did, too! No joke! And after a while he stopped and continued breathing deeply and calmly. The rest followed his lead – all deep asleep.

This observation really moved me, how in-sync they all were even though they were sleeping. I closed my eyes and had the best nights sleep I’ve had in a long time!

Two of my dogs asking for snuggles in the trailer. Photo by Humanima

Two of my dogs asking for snuggles in the trailer.
Photo by Humanima

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Filed under Behavioral musings, Dogs, Human & Animal Interactions, Humans, Inspiration and Idols

NEW Video – Doggy Sunshine

Here is the latest new video that my boyfriend and I made with my dog this past week.

Enjoy!

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Filed under Dogs, Inspiration and Idols, Teaching Tricks, Video Discussion

Holding Vs. Pulling

I once had a teacher tell me that, when a horse pulls on a lead rope, to become a tree.

This meant a few things. I should be rooted and centered (not go flying off after the horse, but to “hold my ground”, in a way) and not to pull back on the horse. If the horse pulls, I just hold the rope but not pull or lean on it. So that when the horse stops pulling there is immediately some slack in that rope. If I pulled, I would consciously have to release the rope when the horse releases and my timing would be off. It would not be as fast as the instant release the horse would get if I simply held the rope. Even if that time difference is a mere few seconds – it makes a difference.

This concept came back to me in the form of a fence post while reading Zen Mind, Zen Horse by Hamilton MD, Allan J. On page 58 he wrote:

“For me, the fence post is the perfect symbol of impeccability because the post never gets angry or impatient. Many horsemen have pointed out that a fence post exerts pressure only when the horse exerts pressure upon it. It pulls back with precisely the amount of force the horse applies. If the horse relents the slightest bit – pulls a fraction of a gram less – the post “responds” and releases. It rewards the horse for his slightest attempt.

In its responses, the fence post represents total clarity, perfection and detachment. The simple fence post will therefore serve as our inspirational symbol of an impeccable teacher. The post’s responses are merely natural reflections of the horse’s actions. So, in a Zen-like fashion, we should endeavor to become fence posts and challenge ourselves to be as quiet, detached, and proficient as they are.”

Fence Post at Sunset Kansas Scott Bean Photography

Fence Post at Sunset Kansas Scott Bean Photography

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Filed under Behavioral musings, Handling Emotions, Horses, Human & Animal Interactions, Humans, Inspiration and Idols, Quotes

Humanima’s Booklist: MUST Reads.

Most everyone has some book or writing that they cherish. Maybe they even keep it by there bed – perhaps it’s a religious book.

For me, it’s these two books. Yep, Tom Dorrance is like a God to me and I would give so, so much to have met him. He passed away a while ago, but is known today as the grandfather of natural horsemanship. The two books, “Tom Dorrance, More Than A Horseman” and “True Unity – Willing Communication between Horse and Human” are packed with knowledge.

In my life time, I will probably read them countless times to work on understanding more and more of what made Tom the man he was. He almost seems like a super-human, super-hero. As these books aren’t novels, I can’t go on too much about what they are “about”. They are about life, how to view it, deal with anything, adjust any situation… see animals in a knew way. See yourself in a new way.

True Unity has a written section by Tom and ends with people’s stories about Tom – what they learned, their thoughts and so on. More Than A Horseman was made as a kind of Memoir for Tom. After he died, they put this book together of amazing, life-changing stories from many horsemen and horsewomen who met Tom. Some met him no more than once or twice, but have life lessons that will stick with me forever. Some worked side by side with Tom for years.

I can’t get over how great these books are and, seeing as they aren’t widely published, recommend getting your copy as soon as possible!

As a side note… I have had True Unity for quite some time and have just recently decided to purchase More Than A Horseman. I live in Germany and it was shipped from America – this kind of delivery usually takes weeks! When I ordered it, they said it would be at my house in a month or maybe more. It was here in… a week?? Yep! They paid a bit extra, as I saw on the packaging, to get it to me fast. Now that’s some great service.

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New Video!

Woops!

I haven’t posted this video yet?! This was filmed earlier this week – mowgli and the rest of the pack!

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Filed under Dogs, Inspiration and Idols, Teaching Tricks, Video Discussion

This Isn’t Normal!

For a brain surgeon, a brain surgery is a common occurrence. For us, it’s… a miracle.

As we progress through different levels with an animal (or life in general), things start to become “normal”. First, even owning a horse or dog is a miracleHow is this even happening? Then we start working on something, then we figure it out, can do it with ease, and it’s on to the next thing.

But someone who sees you do something that is simple in your eyes, might be blown away. Maybe a trick you taught your animal, a dressage maneuver, and so on. Perhaps even the fact that you’re horse isn’t freaking out, aggressive or your dog is being polite and not trying to kill you could impress them!

You teach your horse to spin. For a while it is simply amazing and you’re so proud. After a while you just do it and don’t really think twice about how long it took you to teach and how amazing it is. It just… is.

Sometimes we can get so caught up in all the stuff that doesn’t seem to be working and you feel as if you’re not getting ahead. But look at where you are! You’re riding a horse. A predator. How insane is that? It seems normal, but it’s not – it screams against everything that is wired in our brain as well as the horse’s. Or, you are working with your dog and just the fact that you are communicating with another animal is mind blowing.

When I stop myself to remember to take nothing for granted, I am astounded by the little things. That’s a mind set I am trying to adopt more and more. How grateful can I be for the “little” things, all that I have already, and still move forward, forward?

Practicing it, I take lots of little breaks, especially when I feel I am pushing too hard and think about everything I have accomplished with this animal so far – no matter how small. What has improved just the tiniest bit?

Unknown Photographer I own no rights to this photo.

Unknown Photographer
I own no rights to this photo.

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Filed under Behavioral musings, Human & Animal Interactions, Humans, Inspiration and Idols, Teaching Tricks

Golden Knowledge

So very, very perfect.

This is a quote that I want to print out on nice paper and hang up on by every door in my house and next to my mirror!

I need to be constantly reminded of the message it brings, because it is so important: in life, and very relevant also to working with animals. It’s the one lesson that everyone needs to learn…

“I am not interested in control. For control of another thinking being is an illusion. What I seek is the cooperation that makes the pursuit of control unnecessary.

To this end, rather than control a horse, I try to teach self control,
Rather than restrain, I try to teach self restraint,
And rather than discipline, I try to teach self discipline.

I am not always successful. But rest assured that whenever I fail, I realize it is because I have failed to set the example. Which means I have not been training hard, working out, studying diligently, and watching my diet.” – Unknown

Unknown Photographer I own no rights to this photo.

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I own no rights to this photo.

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Filed under Handling Emotions, Human & Animal Interactions, Humans, Inspiration and Idols, Quotes

Amazing Footage

I stumbled upon this wonderful footage of Tom Dorrance – the legend of horsemanship.

When I watched it, I could feel his kindness, calmness, and simplicity. Although it was hard to hear what he was saying at some points, I was captivated! Balancing a broom… he talks about how you have to try it a bit, then come back and try again until you can really balance a broom on top of your thumb.

Tom relates balancing a broom to starting (and generally riding) horses… you always have to be a bit ahead of the broom or of the horse so that it doesn’t “fall”. Always one step ahead.

This is also another video of Tom, as he was still a bit younger.

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Filed under Horses, Inspiration and Idols, Quotes, Video Discussion