The greatest lesson horses have taught me is to meet people where they are in that moment. Because horses are prey animals, they only live in the present. They need to be constantly aware of their surroundings in order to adapt to a situation on a moment’s notice; this does not allow them to dwell on the past or future.
The unique ability of horses to live fully in the moment is a large reason why they are used in therapeutic settings. It allows them to “meet people where they are” or to simply accept the present. Horses do not have expectations of how one should act or speak. They simply adjust to how a person is acting or is speaking. If you are always kind and quiet with your horse, but have a bad day and raise your voice, a horse doesn’t react with anger. It simply accepts that today, you are different and that’s okay.
Do you know how powerful it is to be fully accepted by another being with no judgement? That is the power of the horse. I say this is the greatest lesson horses have taught me because they have shown me the power of acceptance. A horse might be surprised by a change in a person it knows well, but it won’t react based on a preconceived notion. I apply this to my own life by accepting individuals in the moment.
If my friend had a bad day at work and snaps at me, I don’t react angrily or take it personally, I just accept that she had a bad day and needed a release. I know it’s abnormal behavior for her, but it was what she needed in that moment. I don’t hold it against her and I don’t expect her to snap at me again. I think about the horse’s ability to be present and I allow myself to do the same and accept the moment.
Acceptance can be the first step toward decreasing stress, toward forgiveness, toward self-compassion, and toward stronger relationships. Next time you are around a horse, observe how accepting they are of you. Notice the lack of judgment. Notice the lack of expectation. Notice the pure acceptance of that moment. How can you bring that into your own life?