Feeling The Answer



A life lesson was taught to me when I worked with Ben Quinters a local horse trainer as an apprentice starting Colts and working with problem horses.

I found every horse struggling at the same point of a trail that Ben and I often rode. There was an old farm house at this juncture of the path with a large fenced in yard. This house was just off to the side of the trailhead leading up to a mountain wilderness area. I always knew there was something wrong as all horses clearly struggled at this same spot. This was the storage place of a local animal rendering business. There was a smell of death in the air and it was clear it affected and concerned the horses.

What I did not understand was that I was blind to the answer of how to help the horse. Ben shared with me in his gentle way, ” Donnette, what the horse needs and what it’s receiving from you, are clearly two separate subjects ” He continued that I was missing all the expression and communication that the horse was contributing. I realized that I had not yet found the humility or identified how my ego was keeping me in my mind. I was constantly thinking in human conclusions. I was always knowing what was best for the horse. I was taught to show the horse who is in charge. I was the all knowing human. This was an inherited attitude passed down from prior generations. I was simply unconscious to what I was creating at this point of the path. I did not understand that my being human at times was humanizing and blaming the horse as being the issue. The horse was not the issue. I was the glaring problem the horse was dealing with.

The smell was not why the horses where reacting and surviving the situation. Their brace, struggle and fight was due to how I was handling the situation. Before I even came close to the area in which they began to share their concerns, I projected on them that they would have an issue. I would stop breathing, tighten my body, shorten the reins and grip their sides getting ready for what was about to happen. I was clueless that I was the cause of the horses reaction. I was creating a bigger issue in my blind human unconsciousness.

Learning to remove my ego and becoming open and humble was the way for me to begin the journey of listening to my horses needs. I soon found myself feeling for the innocence of the horses heart. I began to relax my body and loosen the slack in my rein. Giving trust to the horse when it needed to show me its concern as it smelled death on the other side of the fence.

Surrendering to the horses nature resulted in the equine exhaling as they walked past the rotting smells. I still felt their body react as they identified the smell. I learned to rub their neck and assure them that I felt relaxed. I no longer added my self created fears to the already heightening awareness the horse was having.

As I look back to the early days of working with Ben, I realize that he taught me to open myself to feeling for the answers for both the human and the horse by having the courage to leave my all knowing humanity in the renders yard.

Look inside yourself 

Questions are answered

By  feeling  for your horses needs

By Donnette Hicks 


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