When you come for a session with the horses at Free Rein Australia, it is helpful to understand what to expect so you can be a fully active participant in the process.
About the horses
None of the horses at Free Rein Australia are ridden, and consequently they do not experience humans in a dominant role. They all have freedom to move, express, and engage with humans – or not! They live as much as possible like their wild ancestors – moving, grazing, resting, interacting with other members of the herd – but also with the ‘mod cons’ of being in a domestic environment where their health and physical needs are met!
Just like their wild ancestors, their survival instincts are powerful and finely tuned. Horses have survived and thrived for 60 million years mainly because of their ability to sense threat in their environment, and be curious enough to investigate when the threat is reduced to a novelty.
When clients come into their space, they are the novelty. Safety and comfort are the paramount concerns of horses (and all mammals – including us), and horses will investigate novelty in their environment to determine the level of risk to their safety and comfort.
Just like the horses, when a new person joins our group for example – we are checking them out to determine our level of safety and comfort – whether we are conscious of it our not. We might want to know who else the new person knows in the group – what is the connection? We are sensing whether we trust or like the new person, and wondering if they will like us. Essentially we are trying to determine how safe and comfortable we are with the new person in our group.
This is what horses do – but with 60 million years of practice and refinement, they do it a little better than we do! They can sense the subtlest shifts in us that are not detectable to us. For example, if we say we are fine, but really we are sad, or nervous, or annoyed, or confused, our words betray our bodies and the horses notice! When we say something that is not in alignment with what we really think and feel, our bodies have a physiological response such as a tightening of the solar plexus, shortening of breath, or increase of pulse or blood pressure. To horses it might be like striking musical notes together that are not in harmony – it sounds and feels jarring. Furthermore, they are getting mixed messages – or at the very least, they sense that we are confused, or don’t know how we feel or what we are doing. This translates to ‘unsafe’ in horse language.
It’s not personal
Horses move away from anything that is uncomfortable and unsafe, and move closer to that which is comfortable and safe – just like we do, whether we know it or not.
We might seem unsafe to horses when we send out mixed messages: we say one thing, but feel something else. It might not be deliberate or malicious – we just might not want to share with the whole world that we have a problem that is confusing or embarrassing. It’s best to acknowledge (even silently to ourselves) that we have an unresolved issue that we are still processing, and apart from that, we are feeling ok. Our bodies will probably accept this, and the horses will not feel any jarring energy coming from us.
Our intimate space is roughly about one metre all around us. This is the space into which we only allow certain people – the ones we care about and trust. Our hearts can be measured up to this distance – with the current technology. ‘Horse technology’ can sense our heart field as far as 30 metres away or more!
A horse’s intimate space might be about five metres all around the horse – based on the fact that a horse’s heart is five times the size of a human heart, it might be measurable with the current technology up to five metres away. On this assumption, if we are within five metres of a horse, we are in that horse’s intimate space – and the horse can intensely feel our energy.
Resonant field of a herd of horses
The concept of safety in numbers really applies to horses. In a herd, everyone has a job that directly contributes to the safety and well-being of all members of the herd. Horses are tapped into the herd energy field at all times so that they can instantaneously respond to potential threat.
All members of the herd must be present, embodied, and have a regulated nervous system that is usually ‘resting and digesting’ unless the herd is on the move, or they are playing, mutual grooming, or eating. The ‘rest and digest’ state is of great importance as they are restoring and conserving energy for the next threat. Any member of the herd that does not have a regulated nervous system (such as a horse that has been traumatised by humans) is a liability to the herd. In this state, this horse may not notice the potential threat, and does not alert the herd of imminent danger. The herd may reject this horse, or work together to restore equilibrium to that horse’s nervous system.
The electromagnetic field of a herd of horses whose nervous systems are regulated and synchronised is indeed a powerful energy field. Quantum physics has shown us that a highly resonant, rhythmic vibration will overpower a weaker, chaotic vibration and cause the weaker field to align with the more powerful, resonant field. This is called entrainment.
Since the heart is the most powerful oscillating energy field in our bodies – that we can currently measure, other body rhythms such as our respiration, and brain waves are directly influenced by our heartbeat. The most impactful way to change our heartbeat is through our breath. When we breathe evenly – where the rate of the in-breath matches the rate of the out-breath, we can bring our hearts into a restorative rhythm.
Horses know this. When a human with a chaotic energy field enters the space of the horses, they may deliberately change their breath rate to influence their heart rate, and consequently bring the chaotic energy and nervous system of the person into coherence and equilibrium. Remember that the horse’s heart is five times the size of a human heart, so the heart field of a horses’ is more powerful than the human’s heart field, and simply being in the proximity of the horses, influences our heart field bringing it into a restorative rhythm.
How this might look
When a person’s energy and nervous system activation is too flat and low – such as when they are feeling depressed, sad, or grieving, the horses will breathe in short sharp breaths for several minutes – thus increasing their own heart rate, and consequently raising the person’s heart rate and energy into a more balanced state.
When a person’s energy and nervous system activation is too high – such as when they are feeling anxious, hyper-vigilant or unsettled, the horses will breathe in long trance-like breaths to lower their own heart rate and consequently lower the person’s heart rate and energy into a more balanced state.
Why is nervous system regulation so important?
Our nervous system is connected to every organ and function in our bodies. When it is chaotic, those organs and functions cannot operate the way they should, and they become compromised. Over long term, this leads to illness, disease and sometimes even early death. Imagine driving your car indefinitely at high speed over an unlimited succession of speed humps. How long would it take before your car started to malfunction?
Humans tend to store the energy of their emotional memories in their bodies. Any emotion that is not based in love, peace, gratitude, or joy has a quality of heaviness. We could say that this heaviness has a low frequency or vibration. Most of us don’t know how to complete the expression of our emotions – which involves moving them through and out of our bodies. Consequently we store them in our bodies. This has the effect of feeling emotional, or reactive, or flat and heavy. Sometimes it is so uncomfortable that we suppress, ignore, or project our emotions to find relief.
All of nature is an expression of pure presence
Horses live in the moment, and (when they are physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy) they don’t accumulate past emotional baggage the way humans do. This means that their frequency or vibration is much higher than most humans.’
Another principle of physics is that a higher frequency is more powerful than a lower frequency (think shattering glass at high frequency), and therefore when a lower frequency comes into contact with a higher frequency – such as humans interacting with horses, the lower frequency starts to rise. As lower frequencies rise in humans, heavy emotional energy is released. Often people feel emotional without having any conscious thoughts that would produce such emotions. This is the result of the horses’ vibrational field impacting on us.
Emotions are meant to move
Emotion or E-motion is energy in motion. Emotions are meant to move. We can support the movement of emotion by feeling it and allowing its expression. Holding back tears, fighting or suppressing the emotion will only create more discomfort in our bodies.
How the horses respond to energy movement
Horses will readily lick their lips when energy is moving in our bodies – specifically when there is a softening or release of some kind. As we relax in their presence for example, energy flows in our bodies.
Other ways the horses respond to energy moving within us is yawning, stretching, passing wind, eliminating, or rolling.
They may touch your body with their noses wherever they sense blocked energy.
Everything the horses do is information
Remember that horses’ first and paramount priority is for safety. So when the potential for threat in their environment is reduced to a novelty, they are compelled to investigate! With their full attention on the novelty – or you, the client, their behaviours are most likely to be in response to you – what you are holding in your body and your vibration – which is a composite of your life experiences, your cellular memory, the condition of your health, your thoughts, your beliefs, your feelings (sensations), and your emotions.
Nothing is private but only you know
Since you are a unique being, the horses will respond to you in ways that will also be unique. We can help you notice the horses’ behaviours, but only you know what they might be about. For example, a horse crosses the arena and lays down at your feet, while two other horses stand broadside to you – with their bellies facing you. In horse language, standing with the belly facing you is usually saying, “I’m safe for you to come closer.” A horse that lays down at a person’s feet requires trust to be in such a vulnerable position – or it could be an act of surrender. The horses are accessing an energetic vibration that you are holding – perhaps that is taking a lot of energy to hold. So, safety, trust, vulnerability, surrender might be the themes – how you interpret them reveals what you are experiencing or have experienced in your life. As you reflect on the horses’ behaviours, it is not uncommon that insights will emerge – about what the horses are showing you, what needs to change, why an event has happened, etc.
After your sessions
Being in nature with its high frequency of pure presence, and the powerful electromagnetic field of a herd of horses causes energy to flow through our bodies. As blocks are cleared, old patterns and heavy energy is released. Our bodies want to discharge this old, heavy energy, and we can support this by resting and drinking plenty of water.
Slow, small, gentle
In the days that follow, you may continue to feel the energy of the horses and get insights about your experience. You may also feel a little different. It is helpful to understand that small change is more beneficial and significant than big cathartic shifts. This is because our very sensitive nervous systems do not cope with or respond well to big cathartic change. We do not want to traumatise or overwhelm our nervous systems. Little by little is gentler and easier to integrate the changes.
Gradually and then all of a sudden
Gradually you release the heavy energies of old emotions, beliefs, traumas and stress, and each time you feel a little lighter, and more resilient. Then, one day, all of a sudden you realise: shift happens!