Horses in modern society face a lot of changes throughout their life time.
Horses are re homed frequently – just imagine how terrifying that really would be…No say over where you’re going, who will take care of you now, what will be expected of you. Humans would struggle immensely with this, let alone a flight animal that is programmed to live within a secure herd environment for all of their life.
As a species, horses and ponies are not very comfortable with change – their entry into domestication has forced their survival to depend on us and as any horse owner will I’m sure relate to, it takes a horse a good year or so to truly feel secure enough to show their true selves and feel settled and secure in their new surroundings.
They have to place their trust us in. They have to trust their new life. Their new situation of living.
Trust the change.
When you think about it deeply…just for a few moments….we are not so different from horses with regard to our feelings surrounding change. In fact we share a great deal in common with these beautiful, sensitive creatures.
We struggle to settle to the idea of change without apprehension setting in, and even those of us who enjoy the new pastures that await, will have a degree of fear present before embarking on a different, unknown journey. With change comes uncertainty…and not knowing what to expect creates worry. Trusting that it will all work out for the best is not so easy as it sounds…I’m sure you’ll agree!?
So, what can we do to make change easier? How do we trust the process?
I think I am still trying very hard to figure out the right answer. I wonder if there really is not a right answer, but more of a strategy to apply when facing what is uncertain and worrisome?
I believe though, the three lessons I have learnt about dealing with change from my beloved horses are indeed these little snippets of wisdom.
1. Give yourself time. Time to soak in all that is new. Time to investigate, explore, and take in everything.
Horses will want to familiarize themselves with anything new. Check it out fully. Make sure it agrees with them and it is indeed safe. We should do the same to gain that sense of familiarity.
2. Speak up if something isn’t right.
This isn’t always easy. But an unhappy horse will show you how they feel about anything new. They will speak up as best they can and express their fear, anxiety, even sadness. Horses can embrace change very well given the time to adjust, but you’ll know if something isn’t right because you will have a very distressed and unsettled animal on your hands, or a very subdued and troubled one.
Listen to your feelings. Accept your emotions and do not punish yourself for feeling insecure about new beginnings.
3. Trust that things have a way of coming together.
Horses are wonderful at adapting to new circumstances in their lives. They rely on our kindness to give them a good life. We on the other hand rely on ourselves. Not all changes may come as part of our plan. We cannot sadly hold the reins to every aspect that may come our way, but we can take little steps to adjust, accept and trust that no matter how scary things may be, we can always follow the glowing example of our equine friends and steadily strive to accommodate change by making it work for us, and not against us.