So.  I stopped writing blogs a while back – maybe you noticed, maybe you were just bumbling along, living your own life anyway…  At the back of your mind could have been that thought of…  didn’t something pop up on a Monday?

So why?  Well…  I don’t know really…  Burnout (that’s the trendy “in” word at the moment, isn’t it?), lack of inspiration (what to write, and in this world of conflict, covid, lockdowns, WHO am I write anything that doesn’t sound inauthentic in this world we’re in…) Deep, bone weary tired.  And, honestly, I just didn’t want to.  I write for me as much as for anyone taking the coffee break to read my rambling thoughts…

And suddenly, over the past 2 or 3 days, a bunch of my trains of thought, have all had a mass train-wreck in my mind and the way ahead, the POINT of what I am doing, went ah-ha – lightbulb.  To try and explain it here maybe its own, separate challenge…

The world at this point is full of conflict –

“You MUST get your vaccination.  It’s the responsible thing to do, look after each other – get the world back on its feet…”

“You must NOT get your vaccination…  It’s the world powers taking over human rights, it’s George Orwell’s 1984 – do you not see the blinkers, the mass mind control by the media and the scaremongers…”

“You MUST support Black Lives Matter, otherwise you’re missing the point, not respecting communities…”

“It’s wrong to support Black Lives Matter, because all lives matter, and the movement in itself is racist…”

“Your MUST support the welcoming of war refugees into your country”

“You MUST protect your country, your jobs, your family, your rights, and close the borders”.

Everyone has an opinion, and their eyes, they are RIGHT.  Which creates?  Conflicts.  Anger.

I’m not arguing here – I’m not interested in keyboard warriors (worriers, more realistically) commenting and giving their views – I’m just saying the world is polarized in an utterly depressing way, and social media is a horrible, cruel and depressing place to hang out.  Everyone has an opinion, and everyone is adamantly right.  I tried to give up social media entirely, but the very structure of my business is so interwoven with communication, that I keep winding back there.

Now, I’m going to take you on a leap, OK?  Bear with me – this may be to Woo Woo for some, but it’s the glimmer of understanding that has come out of my mind’s train wreck…  I’ve written before about the 100th monkey…  A group of monkeys (people, ponies, whatever’s) in one part of the world “get” something – a chimpanzee works out how to use a stick to fish for termites in a tree stump, the whole troop get it, and across the globe, another troop of unrelated monkeys start doing the same thing.  Global consciousness.  An idea, thought, understanding, has global reach…  It is documented, it’s a real thing, so even though so western, logical brains may try to dismiss it, sorry, it’s a true story…  So, conflict with your neighbour about vaccine, does add to world conflict.

The 100th monkey affect…

I think the current situation in the Ukraine has us all horrified, scared, sympathetic and feeling useless in our lack of ability to help practically.  (Amazing how much Covid has virtually disappeared off the media stage now that there is more interesting / current bad news to sell newspapers).

We’ve all been fighting amongst ourselves (largely over who isn’t / is / will / won’t get the vaccine) and it’s created a real angst globally – how much has the angst worked towards (100th monkey) making a global climate where war is an option?

My little path in the world, my message, is nonviolent communication.    In the horse industry, I’m very sad to admit, there is so much abuse, beating, MAKING the horse do something.  Recently I saw a post on FB, someone had written along the lines of – “I had to put draw reins on my horse and do an hour of forced outline – he was much better (more submissive) afterwards…”  How much more violent can you get?   My whole ethos is about – if the horse’s needs are being met, if you ask in a non-violent way, everyone will be happier, and he’ll generally be able to oblige.….

Take the rider saying – my horse is so resistant – he won’t put his head down…  Now, a horse has needs that have to be met –

  • He needs to understand the question
  • He needs to be pain free
  • He needs the strength and proprioception to carry out what is asked
  • He needs to freedom to carry this out (if a rider is crooked, pulling back on his mouth or has tied his head up with strong bits, tight nosebands and draw reins, he can’t physically lift his back – biomechanically, it just doesn’t work).

So, if no one has explained the question to the horse, the rider won’t get the required answer.  Try asking, speaking, yelling, (escalating) a question at me in German – I won’t answer purely because I don’t understand…

If the horse has a sore mouth, toothache, saddle pressure, a lame leg, a constant jab with the spur, can’t move his tongue because the noseband is so tight, bellyache from ulcers, etc. etc.,  – the answer will be no, unless he’s in such a dire situation (beat him harder, kick him more) that he has to make an unrealistic, unsustainable, plan.

What’s nonviolent communication all about?

If he is young, weak, incorrectly muscled, he can’t physically find power to do it. (12-year-old boy sent out to do an adult man’s job).

And what do some riders do?  They use force, dictatorship, increasing frustration and violence to MAKE.  IT.  HAPPEN.

Now, I am in no way comparing riding a horse and going to war.  I am in no way saying that being kind to your pony is going to help someone in the Ukraine.  I am certainly not belittling the horrors of what they are going through.  War is the ultimate embarrassment and disappointment in being a member of the human race.  But, is there such a huge leap from feeling the anger at your pony for not putting his head down, the frustration of your coach – just do it – and feeling the anger at a senseless war?  Hatred is hatred, violence is violence.

There is nothing practical that I can do for the people of Ukraine.  I can share a post on social media, I can send them prayers, wishes, thoughts, whatever’s.  I can book an Airbnb room.  I can’t stop the tanks.  BUT I can go and open a nonviolent dialogue with my horse.  I can open peace talks.  Me, personally, I can ask a rider to think through how changing their body’s position in the saddle, becoming clearer in their aids, they can help their horse to develop understanding.  If I can be Monkey number one in sharing the story of peaceful communication, and another 100, 1000, 10,000 people join in, maybe we can start making real life changes…  We’re asking Russia to put down their guns, how about we put down our spurs and draw reins and make friends with our ponies?