Monthly Archives: December 2018
I’ve recently returned from a lovely break in Thailand. I’ve never been before and one of the things I’d heard so much about and was keen to try were the amazing massages. My poor old body has taken a bit of beating one way and another over the past year so I thought this would be just the thing. I wasn’t disappointed and had four. 😄
So apart from making everyone jealous now we are in the depths of winter, what am I writing about it here for? And what has any of this got to do with horses?
Well I recently read and shared a really enjoyable blog by Nelipot Cottage in which there was a photo of a hand with ‘I am enough’ written on it, which reminded me of some thoughts I had whilst receiving my last massage of the four.
There’s rarely a time when us ‘good students’ are not in pursuit of improvement. Seeking to better ourselves for our horse’s sake and sometimes just for the sake of our own sanity. We attend clinics in search of finding the ‘thing’ that might just be the answer, we study books and spend hours attempting to better our skills according to how we feel about them at the time or are being reminded of were they are lacking. We spend hours riding in the school trying our hardest to be better at putting this here and keeping that there. There’s often a lot of ‘Doing’ going on and it can get quite knackering! Lol Bear with me…
Back to the massages… We found a lovely quiet place on the beach where a family of ladies provided the service. Each time I had a massage I had a different lady but essentially the massage routines were pretty much the same, except they couldn’t have been more different! What I discovered by the last one was that I had definitely enjoyed some more than others in terms of finding them more or less therapeutically beneficial to me. But what I found interesting was that this seemed to have not so much to do with the “skill” level of the giver, which did vary, but more to do with something else entirely.
In the end my favourite, and the one which found me feeling totally relaxed, trusting, able to receive and ultimately the most dribbly was given by a little older lady with a much more gentle approach than I had thought I needed or wanted and one which I was initially a bit disappointed at. She also had hands a little like sandpaper, which I’m fairly sure isn’t something usually recommended for a masseuse. Lol
As I began to regret my choice and start an internal whinge dialogue a strange thing began to happen… I found myself beginning to relax in her presence and as this happened I found there was no need for her to use an overly firm pressure or aggressive technique in order to achieve a deep and effective feel to the massage because I was letting her in.
It seemed that regardless of the skills employed, potential ‘correctness’ of the treatment and general sandpaper levels, each of the givers brought a uniqueness and ‘themness’ to the experience which could only be brought by them. Body interacting with body in this way is a very intimate and sensual experience. If you find yourself tense, fighting and resistant it can become painful and unpleasant. With relaxation, acceptance and trust it became something entirely different. I found that ultimatley my reaction in those terms had a great deal more to do with the energy the giver exuded from the start. Something in their own uniqueness and ‘themness’ if you will…
I got to thinking on that last day as I was melting into a jellied heap at the hands of The Little Old Sandpaper Lady, that if I can sense this then imagine how acutely horses must experience it. I really believe that they know who we are even before we do and can feel not just what we do but the very essence of who we are in a way that can’t be hidden beneath even the greatest set of skills. It is this that can make the very real difference to how we are received by them and how open and compliant they are to our ideas and requests. I believe that even when we are struggling and blundering with the technicalities of it all, they can still feel the place from where our intentions come.
Of course we’d all love a fast track to the Eutopian land in which we possess both an enlightened soul, an even unfaltering temperament AND an awesome set of skills but I think that when we are struggling with the latter and perhaps feeling a little guilty about our ineptitudes we can remind ourselves that the horses know… There’s often a lot of ‘doing’ going on and thats ok but amidst our ‘doings’ I think it’s worth remembering that underlying all that we are also a ‘being’ acutely sensed by them, and it’s entirely possible that your ‘being’ is indeed enough, and who your horse might still choose to be with regardless of your skill level 😊