Understanding “Undemanding Time” and What It Means To Be, Not Do.
In our world of busy lives, it is all to evident that many things cannot get done. Our “to do” lists seem to multiply as we sleep. Demands on our time can leave us frazzled and feeling defeated….and then there is our horse.
The sad reality is that you need your horse more than he needs you. Yes, he needs his feed, supplements, shelter, etc. But as Winston Churchill said, “There’s something about the outside of a horse that’s good for the inside of a man.”
In every relationship, shared time is needed to build a quality bond and connection between two individuals. This is the same for horse and human. But, he is fine for the most part being left to his own equine herd as you fill your days with your human busyness.
But who misses out the most? You do.
Sharing Time with Horses Changes You.
The joy of sharing time with a horse does change the human. The benefits for your mind, heart and body are innumerable. We make time for what is truly our priorities. If we really understood how much we benefit from horsemanship, it would be a higher priority in our lives.
“But your horse is fully present. Horses live in the moment, whereas most people live in the past or the future. This makes for a major disconnect with their horses. Not only are you both on different time lines, but dwelling on the past brings baggage, and focusing on the future can bring anxiety.”
Making an effort to concentrate less on time can have a positive effect on the hours you have with your horse, whether you’re riding, grooming, playing, or just “being there.” Some people have already discovered that being with their horse is a relaxing time that truly offers escape. Unfortunately, most people have not found this place because they are frustrated with or afraid of their horse.
“Yes and no,” says Linda. “Yes… in terms of expecting your horse to perform. He can only be as good as the leadership you offer and almost nobody wants to follow an emotionally imbalanced leader. Horses are really grounding. You can leave your very stressful day in life and find solace by being totally present with your horse. But you have to acknowledge that and not try to ‘achieve’ something, or train and make progress. When you are upset, just ‘be’ with your horse. It’s healing.”
Because horses live in the moment without fear of the future or sadness from the past, people tend to find comfort in their presence. Someone who is grieving a loss, for example, may seek consolation in the company of their horse, filling a void that can’t be satisfied by another human, even by dear friends and family.”
Choosing To Be With Your Horse and Not Do With Your Horse.
Perhaps the hardest activity to “do” with your horse is the undemanding time, as Pat and Linda Parelli call it. It is a time to “exist” with your horse. To just be with him and not “demand” or “request” anything from him. It is the “being” not the “doing”.
In our task driven society, doing is praised more than being. We are told that quality time is more important than quantity time. I disagree with both concepts.
We are raised to be productive individuals, and doing well is rewarded financially and rewarded by praise and recognition. Being…not so much. Integrity and high moral character is overlooked as people believe that “the ends justifies the means.” Things like “little white lies” or “stretching the truth”, etc. are par for the course to “get ahead” and achieve the doing.
Knowing That Quality Time Usually Happens in Quantity Time.
In our quest for doing, we value our time, saying that we can have quality time, “now hurry up and do it”. But the truth is that quality time usually happens in quantity time. Those precious memories that we have of our childhood usually happened on summer holidays when the lazy days of summer meant lots of free time. Quality comes out of quantity.
This all applies to horsemanship also. The “existing” times when you hang out with your horse builds bonds that tie your heart and mind to that of your equine partner. It is the quiet space between the notes in the music. It is the margin on a page of type. It is the weekend off after a busy week.
During “existing” time, we sit, we share space, we “be” in the moment with our horses. It is the resting time in the relationship. And it can be the time of truth. Does our horse seek to be near us? Does he turn and escape our presence? Does he frisk us for attention? Does he lay down at our feet?
Testing Your Human Horse Relationship By Using Undemanding Time.
I remember one warm summer day, going out to the corral intending to play with my horse. The four horses were just coming in from the fields, and the lead horse sauntered past, followed by my guy. He viewed the situation and decided it was nap time, and laid down about ten feet away.
So, there I was with three of the four horses laying with in ten feet of me, as I sat on a pedestal. I marveled at their confidence, trust and ability to derail me from my plan of play.
But as I took the quality time, in that quantity time, and existed with these four beautiful creatures, I was “being” with them. I was sharing their life, their moments, their idea and enjoying the peace, relaxation and unhurried pace of their life.
“Existing” not “Requesting”, Being not Doing.
Undemanding time, or “existing” time is when we simply be with our horse and enjoy their presence. We do not make requests or demands. It is not a telling time–except to guard our space or protect our bodies or possessions from a playful or dominant horse.
Undemanding time is something that we can do on days when we want to be with our horse, yet are not prepared or in the mind space to play and advance our learning or their learning.
Let’s talk. What would your horse do if you chose to be with him, not asking anything, but spending “undemanding time” with him? Are you willing to experience the benefits of having “existing” and not “requesting” time with your horse?
Rose Standish, Life Coach, Biblical Educator, Author
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