I have read every book he's written. A few of them more than once. I have watched DVDs of him working with horses... He has played a huge part in my life even though we had never met.
He wrote about horses and trauma, and when I read his words, they became my thoughts. So much of what he said made perfect sense, and I was able to use his wisdom to help heal my life.
I would give him credit for helping to save my life, and definitely started me on a new path.
I was just an auditor. (Although, at the last minute, I could have taken my horse down there, because a slot opened up. Unfortunately, I didn't have the means to pay for the clinic and getting Sunny down there. Fortunately, I learned a TON as just an observer.)
The first night we spent asking questions and just chatting.
Mark believes the most damaging myth that horsepeople believe is that we are supposed to be the "alpha" horse. We watch horses pushing each other and bossing each other around, and we assumed those were the horses in charge. They are not. In domestic horses, those are the insecure horses. In the wild, the horse in charge is a wise old mare: A horse that has been around and the other horses trust to keep them safe. Be a good leader that your horse can trust, and he will trust you and follow you.
He also pointed out that a horse is not capable of "disrespecting" people. Respect and disrespect are human ideas. A horse is a horse, and he does horsey things... If you teach him to do something (intentionally or unintentionally) he will usually do it. Be aware of what you are teaching your horse.
We also had a few hours of Mark showing us how the principles of Aikido could help us with our horses. We learned how to breath, and then we learned how to soften up ourselves and our brains so we could connect with our horses (and other people).
That clinic was hard for me. Mark put his hands on my shoulders to demonstrate something, and my brain imploded. The sad (and frustrating) thing about PTSD is that it affects me when I least expect it. His hands triggered something, and my insides collapsed on themselves. I cried. I got over it. And then talked with Mark about overcoming that. (I took some of what we discussed to my last session with Green Eyes. I love how much I am learning from the horses and the professionals in my life.)
|BJ made a great guinea pig for Mark.
|This picture made me smile...
We asked him if he was posing for us to take his picture. He just shrugged his shoulders, and then I took his picture.
|This horse was having a hard time - she was really worked up and stressed. By the end of the two hours, she seemed calmer.
Also - I just loved this view.
The clinic went for another day, but we had to rush back to be here for my rehearsal, my SIL's baby shower, and a pumpkin carving party with BJ's kids and grand kids at our house.
I haven't posted much about my life. Life is very full with fun and family and horses and mountains. It has also been good to get back to therapy. It also helps that my therapy has included horses, because horses are amazing for me.