By Heather Green, Animal Communicator & Energy Healer
     Many horse lovers would agree that horses are our greatest teachers.  As an animal communicator and energy healer, I have experienced the way they pick up on our energy, read our minds, mirror our emotions and behavior patterns, and push us to overcome our self-imposed limits. We can heal ourselves and prevent illness and misbehavior in our horses if we pay attention to what they are revealing.

     Horses help us achieve personal mastery in the areas of courage, trust, confidence, and empowerment. These qualities are important to acquire in order to be successful with riding, as well as developing a healthy partnership with our horses. At the very least, riding is risky due to a horse’s instinctual nature, even for those of us with much experience under our belts. The more courage and trust we hold within ourselves, the more relaxed a horse will feel under us. As the horse picks up on a heightened level of self-trust, he becomes more trusting of us as well. The further development of these attributes allow our horses to more easily be able to keep us safe, have fun in our company, and be successful in riding activities.  
      On the contrary, if we are insecure or disempowered, the horse will pick up on it, and naturally take the lead or control all of our activities. This can cause frustration and disappointment with our relationship, because we may not be able to reach the goals we have set for ourselves, or at least not in the way we originally desired. As we shift the energy, becoming more confident and empowered through our dedication to regular groundwork with our horses and personal mastery through the many healing modalities available in our world, we can begin to establish the lead role in our relationships with our horses.
      Riding is a metaphor for helping us reach goals in other areas of our lives as well. The horse represents our instincts. If we want to get to the end result, our heart’s desire, we must be able to let go and believe in our horse every step of the way.  As we progress in our riding experience, our horses will still continue to show us where we need to grow. This can be understood when we consider someone who switches from pleasure riding to competition. He will need to move into a higher level of empowerment and confidence, and hold more defined boundaries with his horse. This will help him keep the focus, determination, and discipline needed with his horse, to see the results he desires in a repetitive routine, strenuous workout, and the often anxious and exciting environment of the performance arena.
     Our horses also teach us by mirroring the unhealthy behavior patterns we have with humans. This is frequently experienced by people with boundary and fear issues.  I worked with a woman named Sally who since the time she owned her horse, never asked him to back up and give her space when she fed or cared for him. She also didn’t feel safe around him, and feared he would hurt her. Within months, Sally had a pushy and demanding horse on her hands. When she reflected on her life, she realized she had the same problems with humans—often getting her toes stepped on or her space intruded upon. With this awareness, Sally started to heal her past. This involved releasing the behavior patterns she developed in response to being raised by a domineering father.  It wasn’t long before she got back her power, and had her boundaries respected by her horse. At first, Sally had to speak firmly and sometimes bring in a lunge whip when asking for space. But with the increase in her personal mastery, she carried a higher degree of empowerment in her energy field. The horse picked up on this and honored her space and requests. This did take time, and she saw the changes in her horse’s behavior come in stages, just like with her personal transformation.
     One of most overlooked and important ways horses teach us is through empathic sensitivity. This is the ability they have to hear our thoughts, pick up and act out our emotions, and feel our physical sensations. This can occur to the degree that horses (as well as other animals) can carry our illnesses, even to the point of death! The good news is that through awareness of our own issues, whether physical, mental/emotional, or spiritual in nature, we can take responsibility and get the treatment we need, so our horses don’t get sick.  
     Have you ever seen a horse that is normally calm, bolt off when a nervous rider gets on his back? How about a horse that rears up or pins his ears back when a certain person approaches? These are examples of how horses reflect fear, anger, and make attempts to hold their own boundaries.
     We can always count our blessings when we have horses in our lives to show us the many ways we need to grow, heal, and become more aware of our emotions and relationship dynamics. Sometimes horses will even show us the big picture of our lives when we can’t see the forest for the trees, often by misbehaving or getting sick when we are in abusive relationships or restricting jobs or living situations.  The key is to notice these signs and reflect on what is going on in our lives and with ourselves, so we can make changes, bettering our lives and theirs.