“If You Want to Know What is Wrong With Your Horse, Go Look in the Mirror”
- Murrel Lacey
In every moment, everything in nature is mirroring and matching energy for survival and connection. Both harmonious connections and the need for survival depend on this dance. The herd matches and mirrors each other’s movements to stay together as a single unit for protection. This is also how horses form bonded partnerships in the wild.
Horses also know how to match and mirror the predators around them to stay safe. If a predator does not mind being seen, is relaxed, and not focused on any given thing, the prey animal is relaxed and does not mind being seen for they know they are safe.
Horses Mirror Humans’ Energy
If a person’s energy is accusatory or communicates with a horse when a horse feels threatened by them, or a horse does not respect or trust your leadership, it will bring out fearful, dominant, or even aggressive behaviors.
This lesson is not easy to grasp but it is a secret to raising your consciousness in how to communicate with horses. It turns out that sharing a connection with a horse is an inside job. From studying this, you will grow an understanding of how to connect from your true nature. It is such a powerful lesson that horses have to teach us, but many times it goes unnoticed.
Any challenge you are facing in your life, looking in the mirror will cut down the long journey of frustration. The lessons you need the most are usually the ones you will naturally try to avoid. Looking into the mirror is one of those lessons.
I want to share a story about Murrel Lacey, one of my mentors. Murrel played a big part in my life. The premier broodmare of our breeding program of Arabian horses was the daughter of Murrel’s Stallion, Serafix. She was a mare that books could have been written about. Spring Song was her name. His other Arabian stallion was Karadjordje+++. Spring song had a daughter from Karadjordje+++. Her name was Wind Song. We carried forward these beloved stallions’ bloodlines through the Bask stallion we owned by the Name of Mi Tosk, along with the syndicated stallion Khemosabi.
As I reflect back, I had been going to Murrel Lacey’s training center for about six months, more days of the week than not. I was looking for secrets to deepen my knowledge. I liked the way Murrel’s horses felt about him. He had about 50 horses at his training and show barn.
You could walk through his barn and all of his horses were social and had a sparkle in their eyes with a trusting heart. Much like the horses in my barn. He could dance with horses at liberty, mirroring their movements, matching the horse’s energy as a way to bring out the willing energy of a horse, as no one else could.
There, I learned how to face up high spirited energy and turn it around, without a fight, through a leadership approach that horses resonate with.
Murrel would work with a horse when the horse was highly agitated and turn them around at liberty. Murrel’s energy was clean and honest. Horses mirrored his energy easily since their innate nature is also clean and honest if met with this intention. Murrel did not see horses as the problem and he was always relaxed with them. Just his presence took negative and aggressive behavior out of a horse. In his liberty dancing, he brought out a shared dance that started strong and intense and turned it around to a harmonic bond. He met aggression with no fear and no anger,...Murrel knew how to develop respect that would build trust and enthusiasm for performance.
Murrel gave no-fault insurance to the horses that he turned around. He was known for handling the most dangerous horses. He disbanded aggression and dealt with the angriest stallions like no one I know of, other than myself. However, my approach is different in that I work with horses when they are relaxed and I incorporate more social behavior and meditation.
One thing I shared with Murrel was the view-point that horses naturally mirror your behavior. That is the reason they are such good teachers for humans to learn about themselves.
I had taken a lesson from a dressage trainer that took my confidence away from me and I stopped training for a while and wound up following Murrel around like a puppy dog gleaning any info I could. He took me under his wing teaching me his approach and where he put his daily focus while training horses. He would start on each horse he rode by telling me what he wanted to accomplish for that day. After he was finished he would then give me a short blow-by-blow review of what took place and what the horse learned. I never took my eyes off of his rides and watched with a depth of focus that any master would appreciate. I knew he honored that.
Six months of that and I was ready to get back to training at my barn with my confidence restored. I thanked Murrel for sharing his training secrets with me.
Murrel said, “I have been trying to give away my secrets for horse training all my life and have never accomplished giving even a single secret away. All I did was give you information. What you do with it, you will succeed or you won’t. If you should succeed, you would have succeeded anyway without my help.” He then walked off with his dog.
I feel that without a special person coaching us, our journeys would be a struggle and possibly not even achieved. I know it was true in my case. If it were not for the support of special people, like Murrel and my father were to me, I wouldn’t have achieved the level of horsemanship that I have today.
I believe that it is the job of a coach to empower. All we can do as a coach is to guide people to find their own abilities. It is up to the student to give wings to what they learn. That comes from within.
As teachers, we need to see where a person’s strengths are and what it is that they want to achieve so that we can help them get there. How anybody gets anywhere is how well they can keep growing and enjoying the ride.
We are all a student of the horse --- the horse that is within and the horses we choose. If we are having a problem with a horse, they are only mirroring the energy that we bring to them. There are no bad horses, only horses that are misunderstood.
If there is one message you can take away from this profound subject, it is that if something isn’t going the way you want it to, look to yourself, your behavior, and your energy for the answers.
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