Lisa Walters has woven together science, common sense and personal experience to illuminate the relationship that we share with horses. She has just written a book, ‘In the Field with Horses: Exploring the Horse-Human Connection’, and agreed to share some of her insights with Tiffany MacNeil.
When did horses first become a part of your life?
I was born with a fascination for horses, and had a transformational experience when I was nine years old. A family friend allowed me to spend time with his mare that summer, and then gave her to me as a gift. The countless hours I spent just being with this horse laid the initial foundation for understanding the interconnected nature of humans and horses.
How are humans and horses connected?
Our bodies are constantly reading and responding to our environment, just like horses. When you are in a state of presence, your awareness expands and you are better able to notice subtle things. Horses live in the present, and respond according to what they perceive in their field of awareness both physically and energetically. Modeling what they feel is one way they communicate with each other. In our interactions with them, horses reflect our own energy back to us, and thereby provide a sort of mirror for self-reflection and self-evaluation.
What is the “field” you refer to in your book?
I’m not only talking about being with horses in the physical field, I am also referring to the energetic field that we share with horses. When we connect with them while in a state of Presence and Coherence, we become aware of an additional level of connectivity and communication. This type of connectivity is experienced as more heart-centered than head-centered. It is a very expanded state of awareness and really includes all of life. The Rumi poem that I open the first chapter with beautifully describes this field:
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and right-doing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
The world is too full to talk about.
Is there scientific proof that a horse-human connection exists?
Definitely. I initiated a research project conducted with the HeartMath Institute in Boulder Creek, California. Together, we designed and implemented research to determine if there was any measurable energetic synchronization between horses and humans. It was exciting to find that Coherence (a scientific term for the peak performance state where the brainwaves become in phase with the beat-to-beat changes in the heart) looks almost identical in horses and humans. We also discovered that horses stay in a state of coherence most of the time. In our research, the horses influenced the humans to shift toward coherence, more than the other way around. We saw the most synchronization between the horses and the humans when the humans were sending feelings of appreciation toward the horse. This happened in spite of whether the horse knew the human before, and even if the human was across the arena from the horse. The evidence certainly suggests a connection beyond the physical. This helps to explain why it is that when we are around horses, we feel good both physically and emotionally.
How did you discover this heightened sense of awareness?
I started to notice that when I was in a peaceful state of presence around my horses, I observed very subtle communications between the horses and myself. I engaged in relationship with my horses with a sense of curiosity and play. In this state, there were just too many coincidences to ignore or doubt that something quite profound was happening. The more I believed, trusted, and stayed curious, the more extraordinary things would happen.
Can you describe one of these coincidences?
Yes, often I will think about the horse I want to ride, and that horse will be waiting for me at the gate when I arrive at the barn. Or I will go out to the field, connect with the lead horse and ask him with mental pictures and words to bring the other horses into the barn, and he does it. These are probably less coincidence than they are evidence of our connectedness in the field that connects us all.
What would you consider the potential of this work with horses?
We have an opportunity to raise the status of horses and understand them as sentient beings. Horses are excellent teachers in the realm of subtle awareness in relationship, as well as the interconnectedness of all life. I have found that the more I learn about horses, the more I learn about myself.
Lisa works with individuals, helping them learn how to ride from a more connected place, how to read and understand the language of horse, and other related programs. More information can be found at www.equusatori.com. Her book, ‘In the Field with Horses: Exploring the Horse-Human Connection’, is available at Amazon.com.
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