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Relationship Comes First

The other day, one of my clients found herself in a predicament. She offered energy work to a horse. She had to complete several 45-minute sessions with a horse to accomplish a certain number of case studies. That particular day, the horse walked away after 15 minutes. According to the protocol she had to follow, she was short 30 minutes. What was she to do?

This is not the first time I heard a story like this. A few years back, a client said to me, "You know, my horse doesn't like Reiki."

Really? I answered. Why do you think that?

The client answered that her horse walked away a few minutes after she offered her Reiki.

When we asked the horse why she had walked away, the mare answered very matter-of-factly, "Because I got everything I needed."

That got me thinking. Who decides how long a session has to be?

When we look at human versus animal time, we must remember that humans have a busy mind that darts around in our heads without supervision. Animals live in the moment.

So while it takes most of us about 30 minutes on a massage table to calm our minds so we can receive and enjoy a treatment, most animals are already there. The moment the energy comes their way, they receive it. And sometimes, they have received everything they needed within a few minutes or maybe 15 minutes.

What does that mean for professionals offering energy healing, body, or any training to an animal?

The relationship comes first.

And with that, I mean the relationship with the animal.

Each animal responds differently to stimuli. Some animals take a long time to allow a practitioner in. I mean that 45 minutes of energy or bodywork might be too much if a horse, dog, or cat is subdued or shut down. On the other hand, if an animal is open and available, 45 minutes might not be enough.

So how much time should my client spend with that horse?

The late horseman, Tom Dorrance, was known to answer questions like that with, "It all depends."

And I couldn't agree more. It all depends on the animal, the circumstance, and the energy you bring to the session.

That's why I avoid any cookie-cutter training, energy, and bodywork.

That's why I focus on building a relationship with the animal to gauge their personality, availability, and relationship with their herd or pack mates.

A few weeks ago, I walked into a paddock with two horses eating hay from the same pile during a barn call. The first thing my client's horse, Halo, said was, "We are really good buddies."

Well, it seemed obvious that they were good buddies because they were eating nostril to nostril.

When the time came to offer Halo a Chakra balance, we took him away from the buddy to a quiet corner in the paddock. Within moments the buddy horse had joined us, and we decided to let him be part of the experience.

After offering Halo some flower essences, he closed his eyes half-mast and processed quietly. After a while, we wondered if he was still processing or falling asleep, almost tuning us out. Moments later, the buddy took the cheekpiece of Halo's halter in his teeth and gently tugged on it. Halo woke up and began licking and chewing, a sign of processing and digesting the healing I had offered him.

Initially, I was tempted to keep the other horse away from Halo's head. But my gut told me to allow things to unfold.

After offering Halo another remedy, his buddy, once again, helped the process by holding the halter between his teeth, playing halter tag in the most gentle way.

Halo's initial comment that the two horses were great buddies was not just referring to them eating hay together peacefully. They were good buddies on a much deeper level. And that is something we always need to keep in mind. Relationship first!

Maybe the horse my client worked with walked away because he had had enough. Perhaps the other herd members told him to join them, and that's why he left.

I will repeat it. That's why I focus on building a relationship with the animal to gauge their personality, availability, and relationship with their herd or pack mates.

Energy, bodywork, and training must consider all that matters to the animal.

Simply applying a healing or training template of something a human came up with is not always sufficient or effective.

I understand the challenge any of us who like to teach face. We must teach what we know while keeping in mind that everyone is different. Some people want to follow a template, and others are more into integrating their experiences into a modality. Some people are more in-tune others are more reliant on clear directions. So how do we offer an approach that fits everyone?

That's what I am so passionate about. I help you learn to tune in to yourself to build a connection with the animal.

If you walk up to the horse with a specific outcome in mind, you are not open and curious to listen to the horse and his needs. But if you are embodied, if you sense the horse's personality, somewhat shut down, and notice his availability, maxed out after 15 minutes, and consider his herd mates by telling them what you are up to, you can trust that the horse is telling you exactly how much and for how long your service is needed.

Making a mindful connection within and with the animal is the key to meaningful and effective work. That means I see the world through the animal's eyes and adapt my idea, protocol, and skills to the furry being in front of me. If that means I must walk away from the protocol … so be it. And, I can only hope that my client's human teacher is open to her sending in a case study that only lasted 15 minutes … for the horse's sake.

As you go out and connect with furry beings offering them your skills, remember to listen to your body and theirs. There is no greater teacher.

Until we connect again, sweet fellow travelers in the world of paws and hooves.

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