Becoming Conscious

In the beginning, when I first started to observe horses, I instantly found every horse I came in contact with had a different feel about them. I also noticed there was common braces and attitudes within all of them.  I was very unconscious that I was always the constant factor that the horse was always dealing with.  Even though I felt a difference, I did not understand that I had a lack of ability to read the horse’s expression, nor did I understand their needs.  I was unable to make a real difference in how the horse related to me as I did not know I was creating blindly the very brace, fear even spoiled behavior that was before me. I didn’t even know that such things existed in me, let alone the horse.



The first day I began working for the local trainer, Ben Quinters. I had arrived at his faculty at 6:00 am. I spent the morning mucking stalls; along with his larger paddocks. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with horses. I realized that feeding, watering and cleaning the facility was part of my right of passage to be able to interact on some level with the horses themselves.

Up until this point, everything I had learned was from my uncles. They taught me the basics and I thought I was pretty handy. I certainly had some milage on their backs doing day work on ranches as well as other multiple activities.  I was under the illusion that I knew what I was doing. This false sense of knowing ended promptly on my first day of work.

Ben shared that we were going to take some green colts to a water crossing. He had me get up on a two year old mare that had only a few weeks under saddle. The second I sat on her back I felt the unsureness of how she felt about me. Little did I know at the time that the unsureness was mine. We proceeded to go a short distance to the edge of the river bank. I felt that this was going to be an easy task to accomplish and I was very excited to prove what a good hand I was.

This all came to a screeching end when my horse became aware what my intensions were. I began to climb down a steep embankment to enter the heavy flowing river before us. I was filled with embarrassment as I struggled to get the horse to enter the water. Ben began to coach me and for the first time in my young life, I surrendered my ego and listened.

He said “look up to where you are going so the horse feels your intensions”.  I then heard many pearls of wisdom. ” acknowledge her slightest try and reward her smallest change” and “make the right things easy and the wrong things difficult”.

Hours later soaking wet, dirty and self defeated,  I finally succeed in crossing the river that day. I will never forget Ben’s words, “Darling, You have a long way to go and a lot to learn before you get there” I felt gut punched by the truth. I also felt a fire of determination flare inside me as I knew I was willing to do what it would take to learn for the horse’s sake.  That was the day I owned; “I knew absolutely nothing”.  I became willing to remove my pride and become open and conscious for the horse.

Surrendering ego 

Becoming conscious 

To the horses needs 

Facilitates us to understand

Our selves 

By Donnette Hicks 

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