A way to think of how to "pop"/release your core when releasing your horse
However, I was just not getting it. I would try to manufacture this big “pop” in my core when I released Maia and all I got was some sort of bizarre half-crunch thing that probably looked like I had a stomachache. Not to mention I didn’t feel any different. Other than feeling silly.
But something happened today that has clarified it a little for me. It actually came in a way I’m not proud of, but to be totally honest, I got frustrated with Maia. We were riding, which tends to bring up more frustrations for me, and she was careening all over and I was struggling to get with her and it was just getting pretty annoying. So I thought, well, this is a good time to get off, then—let’s not keep that going. So I got off, brought her back to the stall, and found her standing heavily and totally not in tune to being released off the space that I needed to get around her and untack. So I, still quite annoyed at this point, stuck my fingers on her and just by George zinged them off of her with this huge pop in my core and—poor Maia—she practically did a backflip to the rear of the stall.
I stood there dumbfounded. Well, wow, that worked. It was perhaps the biggest release she’s ever given me, especially because, sensitive as she is, I’ve really
dulled her down to those touch-releases due to previous training. Sometimes she just hardly responds to them.
With most of my annoyance gone now in curiosity about this newfound “pop” in my core, I kept on playing with her and really "popping" my core when I took space or released her found her infinitely sensitive to it, eventually gliding around the stall with just a glance here and there and a little release with my fingers. All excited that I might have found the secret “pop,” I untacked her and then wandered around the pastures (which included three draft horses, heavy and dull) and tried to simulate that pop in touch-releasing them. The two mares I did at the end didn’t respond quite so strongly, but I was getting a little “out of it” by then—the three geldings I did at first had huge reactions.
The little Morgan (?) gelding actually slipped in the huge leap of release he felt, the massive Saddlebred/Percheron leaped away, far lighter with that release than with the “traditional” releases I had done before in my work with him, and even the huge, heavy, sleepy Percheron who I never had touched jumped away and walked off with life and energy. Yet they didn’t seem offended. They would march off and then stop and look at me with their ears up, like “Whoa, I just felt alive.”
I was astonished.
So here’s what it felt like to me. We’ve all gotten mad and hit, jerked, kicked, or yanked something out of anger, whether it’s the ridiculous car door that won’t open or the shoe that won’t come off or, yes, even the dog who won’t get out of the way.
Every time we jerk or hit or act like that out of anger, we are (or are trying to) release (ie, move or change) something that is stuck—just like when we release our horse. The emotion of anger can accomplish incredible releases.
So imagine a time when you did that—hit or kicked or jerked something out of anger. Remember that fire in your core—the zing, explosion, pop, twist, wrench, jerk, whatever it felt like to you? It was like your action wasn’t the action itself; it came out of that place within you that was completely focused on getting that total release (ie, movement) of whatever you had your anger aimed at. It was driven by that explosion in your core. Not only that, but you felt completely alive—you had this high, buzzy vibration in your core of total availability, ready to turn and instantly release (slap/hit/jerk) something or someone else because you were just so mad.
|Here's an example of a horse using anger/aggression to get an enormous release in himself... though I'd have to say he's using a lot of pressure on that poor dog!!|
That’s what the “pop” in my core was that absolutely connected to the horse. Anger makes your movements be absolutely exploding with meaning; between my fingers’ release and my core’s “anger” pop, there was no question about the release I was looking for. And, because I was annoyed, I was totally in the moment and exploding with the confidence that I was going to get that release I was looking for, yet without "forcing" it. I actually felt it physically in my core, you feel yourself sort of explode into life.
It makes sense that we would need to access that part of ourselves to make feel/release work, as so much of feel/release is accessing all of yourself to be totally available to the horse. What is fascinating is that if I’m on the right track with this, you need to have something like the releasing “pop of anger” in your core, but it is absolutely, totally, completely crucial that you are not angry AT ALL. That is, in fact, one of the biggest components of feel/release: there is never anger or judgment toward the horse.
How interesting that anger can serve such a purpose and teach us such lessons, something we should perhaps embrace and yet simultaneously need to redeem. Anger itself is not wrong; it is how we steward, use, and direct it, and what makes us angry, that the potential for evil comes. It makes sense, really, in the end, that holistic horsemanship would come from holistic life -- using all of the emotions, but in a redeemed way.