Monday, November 16, 2009

A horse's heart

The greatest explorer on this earth never takes voyages as long as those of the man who descends to the depth of his heart. - Julian Green

The Institute of HeartMath is a research and education organization dedicated to heart-based living – people relying on the intelligence of their hearts along with their minds to conduct their lives. HeartMath has been researching heart intelligence, stress and emotional management for more than 18 years and according to them, the human heart creates an electromagnetic field so strong it is measurable from several feet away.

Research has found that one person's heart energy waves (electrocardiogram output) are detectable by electrodes wired on the surface of the other person's body when they are seated three feet apart. However, when they are holding hands, each person's heart energy waves are detectable not only on the surface of the other's body, but even in the other's brain waves. Thus, we now know that the heart energy field is both conducted by physical contact and radiated across space between people.

But what about horses?

Think about this: An average horse heart is about thirteen times larger by weight than the average man’s heart and over 20 times larger than the average woman’s heart. Research at the Institute of HeartMath has shown that the human heart's energy field is "approximately five thousand times greater in strength than the field produced by the brain."
How great, in this case, is the energy field of a horse’s heart?
I am convinced that it is absolutely enormous. And imagine if we let ourselves feel it, if we let ourselves be “touched” by this powerful energy field. How much can we be moved emotionally by being in the presence of something that radiates genuine love, acceptance, support?

Yesterday, when I went to the barn, nobody else was there. I immediately got Little Love out of her box and took her into the indoor arena. In the winter she rarely gets to go outside due to the strict rules concerning paddock use and she loves to roll more than anything. I let her loose, as usual, and after a few rounds walking around and checking that everything was safe, she went down for a roll. Then, when she stood up again and shook, we began our dance.

If you have read my previous posts (for example May 16th of this year), you may remember that Little Love is a very private horse, one that doesn’t like to be touched, one that doesn’t care for physical closeness. She has encountered some abuse in the past and her trust of humans is still limited. So usually, when we play, she lets me run next to her, but at a distance of a minimum of six feet. I accept this and never push for more. In fact, I have in the past six months demanded less and less from her and instead allowed her to demand something from me for a change. This has resulted in us riding the trails instead of working in the arena, or “free running” instead of long lining.

As a result of my approach, Little Love has changed under saddle, giving me her back willingly as we trot on the trails, demonstrating gates that would wow a Grand Prix audience. And not only that, something has changed between us in the arena, in liberty. She has invited me closer.

And so yesterday, in freedom, we trotted and cantered together slowly, shoulder to shoulder in circular patterns. She is a massive horse and I could feel her energy roll over me like a tidal wave. Every now and then I put out my hand and touched her, and she would respond by arching her neck and collecting, her eye cocked slightly inward, creating a bend in her neck. She was absolutely beautiful, stunning and she was there with me, wholeheartedly, with body and soul. I knew exactly what she was thinking, where she was going to turn, how she wanted me to move. I felt her joy, her trust, her strength, her power. I felt her heart like it was inside me.

Scientifically there is much more to this heart to heart business that I am revealing here, but if there is one thing I know for sure, it is this: when I am with Little Love there are no words to describe the feeling inside. It is with her that I find my own peace, my equilibrium and the clarity I need to continue living my life to its fullest. It is with her that I can be who I truly am, congruently, with no hold backs or assumptions or expectations. It is with her that I can be a simple human being living in a simple moment, with no past, no future, just the present, the glorious present.

Little Love has a big heart, in fact, it is so big it can fit a whole person inside and then some. But, I have discovered, her heart is like any a true heart of a horse: it is only there if you accept it with childlike innocence, with no strings attached, no pushy human agendas, just with an open heart of your own. It sounds so simple, but yet is one of the hardest things to do. I urge you all to stop what you are doing, to stop and stand absolutely still to listen; I urge you all to stop doing and start being… and if you are as lucky as I was, perhaps you will get to feel something absolutely priceless: a horse’s heart.

Take care of your heart,