Law 9 – The Law Of energy

Energy is everything.  Whether you are looking through a microscope or a telescope, everything you see is created using energy.  Some of you may believe in a deity, a divine being, who is the creator of this energy and some of you believe it is pure science.  But there are few who have any education that have not been taught that everything is made of molecules (for example, water) and these are made of atoms (water is made of molecules made of 2 hydrogens and 1 oxygen or H2O).  We were also taught that atoms are made of protons and neutrons contained in a core or nucleus and electrons spinning about this nucleus.  When atoms share these electrons they can bind together to form the molecule.  But there is more.  There are even smaller particles (subatomic) within the atom that are not protons, neutrons or electrons.  And all of these particles exist in the smallest things we know and the largest stars in the universe.  

Every cell in our bodies and in the horse are also made of these molecules, atoms and subatomic particles.  Let’s agree to not talk about woo woo stuff where we talk about connections through space to ancestors.  However, we all have experienced days where everything “flows” and days where all the traffic lights are red and the day never ends.  This is what I want to talk about here.

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Energy is everything.  Whether you are looking through a microscope or a telescope, everything you see is created using energy.  Some of you may believe in a deity, a divine being, who is the creator of this energy and some of you believe it is pure science.  But there are few who have any education that have not been taught that everything is made of molecules (for example, water) and these are made of atoms (water is made of molecules made of 2 hydrogens and 1 oxygen or H2O).  We were also taught that atoms are made of protons and neutrons contained in a core or nucleus and electrons spinning about this nucleus.  When atoms share these electrons they can bind together to form the molecule.  But there is more.  There are even smaller particles (subatomic) within the atom that are not protons, neutrons or electrons.  And all of these particles exist in the smallest things we know and the largest stars in the universe.  

Every cell in our bodies and in the horse are also made of these molecules, atoms and subatomic particles.  Let’s agree to not talk about woo woo stuff where we talk about connections through space to ancestors.  However, we all have experienced days where everything “flows” and days where all the traffic lights are red and the day never ends.  This is what I want to talk about here.

I believe that we emit an energy that attracts or repels people, business or just about anything in life. I think that it is a simple thing to understand if you only think of two energies: positive and negative.  Positive energy is what you really want and are not afraid of while negative energy is what you want to avoid or what you are afraid of.  Unfortunately due to the decades of training with marketing, advertising and news reports we all seem to focus on what we are afraid of or don’t want.  We bring THAT energy of fear, worry, doubt and anxiety into the stall with the horse.  No wonder we fail to connect with the horse (or the people around us) and things do not go as planned.  

Many people believe that the horse is there to help US become positive.  Owners look at the horse as their therapist, the child or spouse they always wanted, a replacement for someone we lost or something else.  We long to be with our horses because they accept us for who we are.  They help us escape our miserable lives, find zen, balance the bad in the world and more.  Isn’t this one sided?  If we believe that horses are living, breathing beings with thoughts, needs, wants and desires (more in Law 10) then how can we go in to “change” the horse when we can’t even change ourselves – on our own without any aids such as a therapist?

Change is an inside job.  This is why I don’t focus on training the horse.  It is us that needs the training and the horse will follow what we are – the leader.  So how do we do this? I’ll tell you how I do it but the exact methods are different for each of us.  However there are tenants that are the same for everyone.

  • Tenant 1 – Training a horse, horsemanship and leadership are all about improving ourselves, not the horse.
  • Tenant 2 – Energy is like water in that it always seeks the lowest level.
  • Tenant 3 – The leader always has the lowest amount of energy.
  • Tenant 4 – Energy level is NOT excitement level.

Step one is to consciously recognize that you have control of your energy.  This will take a lifetime of practice but the first step is to recognize your energy and that you have the ability to instantly change it.  Think of the last time someone surprised you with something that scared you.  Think of the energy you had instantly at that moment when you lashed out with sharp words or a fist then begged for forgiveness afterwards.  Your actions, and reactions, from the event were instantaneous and without thought.  They were reactive rather than proactive.  What most people don’t know is that you can have your actions and reactions go the other way instantly.  You can direct your reaction in an opposite direction.  We see this in actors following a script where an adversary jumps into the scene and our hero doesn’t even blink.  He remains the leader and the action that follows goes in his favor.  Unfortunately we all have a script we follow based on our experiences and we need to change this script.

When something happens that raises our alertness we usually raise our energy to match what is happening.  The common response to this is the return of energy in an increased measure.  Like a card game of poker, we “see you and raise you” until someone says “call” and the cards are laid on the table.  But working with horses is not a card game.  The end point should not be a winner and a loser.  When the energy becomes louder (in music when the volume grows louder it is called a crescendo and this is what I call the increase in energy), I focus on lowering my energy (decrescendo).  This is a great time to offer my special training aid.  After all it seems like everyone needs a gimmick to help you train horses.  Here goes.

Send me a lot of money plus shipping and handling and I will send you a box with the dimensions your height, your width and an inch (2.54cm) thick.  Unbox the contents and attach it to a wall with the reflective surface facing away from the wall.  When you are having difficulties with your horses (or your friends, family, work mates), stand in front of this mirror.  The horse will reflect you as well as any mirror will.  Control what you are projecting and the horse will respond in kind.  If you crescendo then the horse will too until there is a “winner.” The result is not a willing partnership.

By the way, once you have established a willing partnership, the horse will actually be willing to be with you.  They will come to the front of the stall and actually become the friend you think you have never had in the human world.  This is what you have been looking for in your relationship with horses and you didn’t have to bribe them with treats to do it.

Remember this when you are approached by a horse with raised energy.  Acknowledge it (seek first to understand the horse) then lower your energy (then to be understood). Give something different that they can reflect back to you.  Here are the things I do immediately: control my breathing, dump my energy, shut my mouth. 

  1. Breathing is everything as you cannot raise your energy if you are breathing with deep, controlled breaths.  Holding your breath makes things worse.  There is science behind this as a lot of your adrenaline (the hormone you instantly make when you are afraid) is eliminated in your exhaled breath.  
  2. Dumping your energy is a technique that you will develop.  Many think of the “electricity” running down their legs, through their shoes and into the ground.  Many call this “grounding” and it actually works well.  My technique is a little gross.  I concentrate on my anal sphincter (the muscles that keep your poop in when you really need to poop).  It is impossible to have raised energy with a relaxed anal sphincter.  I know you are trying this right now as you read.  Puckered equals being tense with a higher energy.  Relax it and you relax everything with the accompanying reduced energy vibe.
  3. Shutting your mouth means stop talking.  If you open your mouth and form words you are basically saying to the horse that you are afraid and that you are not the leader.  The words most often heard are “It’s OK,” “It’s alright,” “No one is going to hurt you,” “This will only take a second,” “Come on now, do you have to make things difficult,” and so much more.  All of these are instructions or what I call COACHING.  Do not coach.  These horses are not your children or spouse.  By the way, how does coaching them (or your horse) work when no one has asked you to be their coach.  Leave all coaching to coaches who are training people or horses asking to be coached.  Coach your horse how to cut the cattle or take the correct strides between jumps or to run the fastest most efficiently.  Just shut your mouth and stop coaching the horse that has a higher energy and is basically saying that they do NOT want to be coached.

If you insist on opening your mouth it should be as a positive cheerleader.  Examples include “You’re the best!” “I’m so grateful!” “You are just amazing!”  And my favorite – “Thank you!”  

Here is the main part of words and their effect on horses and people.  Words are no different than a sweet treat.  Words are usually a response to a behavior in the horse or an emotion you have to that behavior.  We tell lies with words and we all know that lying is wrong.  Why then do you lie to the horse?  Telling him that it is going to be OK is usually a lie from the perspective of the horse.

“It’s OK” doesn’t seem true when the vet is standing outside the stall door with a needle.  “It’s OK” doesn’t seem true when you have a saddle in your hand but every time the girth is tightened it hurts.  “It’s OK” doesn’t seem true when the horse trailer door is open and the horse’s colon has painful ulcers irritated with motion.  These are all examples of not seeking first to understand the cause behind the horse’s perspective.  Stop lying, shut your mouth, start listening and lead.

Cheerleading is a way to reward GOOD behavior.  Coaching, on the other hand, is a way to reward BAD behavior.  Believe it or not, when you open your mouth and say anything while bad behavior is being performed then you are acknowledging that bad behavior and rewarding it.  This encourages the continuation of this bad behavior.  Offering food during bad behavior is also rewarding bad behavior.  DO NOT REWARD BAD BEHAVIOR.

The words, “Thank you” are available in an instant without needing to reach inside your pocket and unwrapping a candy.  The effect of those words when said along with the good behavior are equally effective.  REMEMBER TO ALWAYS REWARD GOOD BEHAVIOR (or at least acknowledge it in a small way).

The best thing to do when bad or unwanted behavior is exhibited by your horse is to breathe, lower your energy and shut your mouth.  The best thing to do when good or desired behavior is exhibited is to truly say, with any positive emotion you care to show, “Thank you!”  Reflect towards the horse a feeling of gratitude or a small sense of acknowledgement.  When you do this with kindness, respect and from a genuine belief of truth then all horses will start their way towards a mutually respectful and willing partnership.  Some people will do this with exuberance while others will just relax, soften their eyes or turn up one corner of their mouth in a barely discernible smile.  It doesn’t matter because any reflection of their accomplishment is a positive energy you are emitting and will be seen by the horse.  Energy is how horses communicate.  You cannot do this too much.  It is impossible.  It will always work and will get better the more you do it.

Step one is to become aware that your energy needs to change.  Step two is to know that you can change it.  Step three is to practice, practice and practice more.

Learning how to control your energy is really all about gaining confidence while remaining humble.  Confidence without being humble is just arrogance.  It looks the same on the outside but it is fear based and fear is a negative energy.  Being humble is remaining in a giving state without wanting something for it.  Confidence is all about changing yourself in order to bring out the best in someone else without expecting anything else other than mutual respect.

As you work with horses over time your confidence will grow and your fear will diminish.  Law 1 and 2 will never go away and will return as soon as you break any of the other laws.  Remember that these laws are irrefutable.  Like gravity they are ever present.  But connecting with positive energy to your horses will be the best prevention against injury and be the best training method.  It requires no gimmicks (unless you really install that wall mirror).  It doesn’t need complicated movements or skills.  It is based only on your personality and matching it with the personality of the horses you have and becoming confident in yourself, rewarding only good behavior and having the genuine belief that the horse has an equal say in your relationship.  I’ll leave you with this one thought and it might not be something you want to hear.

If you are not good at relationships with the people around you – your spouse, your children, your parents, your neighbors or the person behind the counter at the convenience store, then how will you become good at a relationship with another species?  Practice these skills with people first. Become good with them.  If you must, get a job behind the counter selling something you know nothing about during the busiest time of the year to people who are stressed.  An example for me would be to sell perfume at a large department store to men at Christmas time who are shopping at the last minute for their wife or girlfriend.  If you can conquer your fear here and become the leading sales person then you can conquer your fear and negative thoughts you are bringing to the horse in his stall.  Get right with yourself and you will get right with your horses.

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How to keep a horse calm – Stop the confusion webinar Part 1 at 30:08