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  • Writer's pictureMaria A

Finding the Push/Pull Balance

It is easy to chase a horse away. Make a loud noise, jump around, wave your arms. Horses are prey animals, which means their instinct when threatened is to RUN. Humans, on the other hand, are predators; we have the fight or flight instinct. If we hear a noise in the woods, we don't automatically run, we look to see what it is and then process the threat and act accordingly. Horses on the other hand react very quickly to perceived danger and can run off at lightning speed whether the rider is attached or not.

One of the exercises I lead participants of H&PP through is to send the

horse out on the rail (go to the outer panels of the round pen in a circle) and then invite them back to join us in the middle of the pen. The easy part is the sending (push); but the goal is for the horse to return to us (pull).

Everyone loves to see the horses run. Chasing a horse goes with their nature, anyone can do that. Having the horse return to us means they trust us. It is about being clear, consistent and not threatening. It is about being safe to the horse because you've worked on the relationship and communication, and he/she realizes you are not a threat. We need to learn a better balance between pushing away and pulling back in.

If we spend our lives chasing and pushing away, we never achieve the benefits of drawing in and attracting. Working with horses in a round pen can really help us learn how to find the push/pull balance. Horses will let us know if we are too pushy by simply avoiding us. That's when we know we need to work on the drawing/attracting part of the relationship. Working with horses can give us insights as to how we work with other people. We can find real life correlations between our interactions in the round pen and our actual lives. Some questions you can ask yourself relevant to your own life are: Do you talk more than you listen? Do you give feedback but are never open to receiving it? Do you take more than you give? It's all about finding the balance.

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