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  • Writer's pictureRachel Ory

Calibration: How it Helps Horsemen

Horses live in the present moment, and for anyone working with them, it requires putting our stream of thoughts on pause if we want to get something accomplished. In order to have an influence on the horse, we have to calibrate our thinking to think like a horse. Horses are keenly aware because they constantly live in the present moment. Unlike most humans, who are busy thinking about drama from the workday or decisions that have to be made. When our minds drift to the past or future, we aren't on the same vibration as the horse. When we loose consciousness and connection, we aren't going to communicate effectively, and the potential to get hurt is always greater.


"Most people get hurt because of obsessive goal orientation, because they get ahead of themselves, because they lose consciousness of what's going on in their own bodies, in the here and now. The best way of achieving a goal is to be fully present. Surpassing previous limits involves negotiating with your body, not ignoring or overriding its messages. Negotiation involves awareness. Avoiding serious injury is less a matter of being cautious than of being conscious. All of this is also true to some extent of mental and emotional as well as physical injuries." - Mastery: the Keys to Long-Term Success, by George Leonard


As horsemen and women, we have not only ourselves to be aware of, but also a thousand pound creature with flight instincts that would rather be eating grass than thinking about what we want them to think about. If we can't be disciplined and aware of ourselves, how can we possibly expect the horse to follow suit? It starts with us, and it starts with making the choice to "tune in." This tuning in is more formally known as calibration.


Calibration is being able to find something in the present that connects us to Source. Instead of trying too hard or trying to please others, we learn to let go of troubles and worries, to "tune in" and to calibrate ourselves, and the universe reflects that frequency back at us. When the mind is clear, vibration rises. There are two different aspects of calibration: Physical and Thought.


Physical calibration - The more different types of horses we work with, the more opportunity we have to refine the physical aspect of calibration. We find what feels good and what doesn't feel good. What works for a certain type of horse and what doesn't. We learn to respond in the moment without having to apply a lot of thought, doing less sooner instead of being late and having to do more and catch up. The only way to refine the physical aspect of calibration is through lots and lots of attentive practice.


Thought calibration - Being at one with the horse, or being in sync with positive energy by connecting to Source. When we form an opinion or expectation for the horse, oftentimes we get exactly what we expected because we have calibrated to that opinion or expectation. In other words, we get what we expect. But when we calibrate by connecting to Source, we are open to the possibilities. We no longer pass judgement on the animal or have to ride defensively. We no longer project human thoughts and characteristics onto the animal. We can see more clearly the truth of what is, and this is so important when it comes to the welfare of the horses we work with.


While learning to calibrate, there will be times where we are focused and connected, and times when we start to drift. Our awareness is meant to gently guide us back on track. We may not have control over the thoughts that enter our mind, but we can choose what to focus on and what to let pass. When this technique is applied to all of the (seemingly) ordinary moments of life, perspective begins to shift.


At the time when we decide to work towards reaching our highest potential, whether with horses or in any area of life, calibration is going to be the key to making the positive shift that we have been searching for. Yet another one of life’s lessons, exemplified by the horse.

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