In Ortho-Bionomy study we talk about the study as the “Evolvement of the Original Concept.”
I was fascinated by this phrase at first, but as I have studied this bodywork modality for so many years now, I realize more what that means. As we work and study, our understanding evolves and changes. We take the original concept of the work – which is based on key principles such as “less is more,” “go in the direction of ease,” “the body’s ability to respond,” and it grows and changes beyond what was originally set forth. It deepens and spreads out like the roots of a tree, seeking out more nourishment.
This is beautiful, because it opens the door for incredible possibilities. As the work progresses, the practitioner embodies the work to a greater degree, layering with experience and time, new knowledge and a new intuitive sense.
And that’s the other thing – evolvement becomes embodiment – it becomes part of you at a cellular level.
In the beginning, sometimes isn’t clear to students where they are going or that the Waterhole Rituals by Carolyn Resnick is different from methods learned in the past. There is a huge difference, but in the doing is where you begin to see the difference in your horses. To me it is like Ortho-Bionomy in that I could see some immediate changes but I couldn’t see the deeper changes until it had become really embodied in me. Now I work from a place that is steeped in that understanding, the principles and the way the body responds to it.
I watch horses learn from each other. How long does it take for them to embody a certain exercise? When I do an exercise with one horse, another wants to try it and often gets it perfectly because I believe he has watched the other horse. In the case of playing ball, my mare has always been afraid of the ball. She didn’t want to come close. After watching the boys playing with it and having fun, she went to stand over the ball as if to say, “see – I can do it too!”
The Waterhole Rituals by Carolyn Resnick are embodied in horses already, and we learn them until they become part of us. In the beginning, we are learning techniques. Of course they are necessary, but each technique has a reason for being, is rooted in horse understanding, not in just the way we do things. If we insist on doing the technique when the horse isn’t interested or our energy isn’t right, we aren’t going to be successful.
Recently I went into the arena with my horse and was just drifting, the horse wasn’t interested in me or what I had to “say.” When I recognized this and shifted my energy, I asked her a question, asked her to do something I knew she knew how to do, then she practically answered, “why, of course!”
I mention this because as we learn and our knowledge becomes embodied, it is up to us to continue to make our training interesting and exciting to our horses, not grow slack in our leadership. I would notice someone else doing exactly what I had done – drifting, not being there for her horse in her leadership. Horses will take advantage of that in a second.
Horses show us clarity and demand it in return, otherwise they may resort to snuffling the ground, ignoring us, or just walking away. I recently talked with someone who had gone back to traditional horsemanship methods because she “didn’t have time” to take a horse through the rituals. When in fact, it takes less time than other methods once you have the rituals on a horse, because the horse has developed a trusting relationship with you, not one dependent upon the leash you have on her. Time is irrelevant to horses. They don’t know how many minutes you need to pick up Johnny from school, or how long it takes to make a casserole, or what time you have to be at work to earn the money to put hay in front of them. If we can release ourselves from the time schedule of training a horse, which is clearly very hard for humans, then we might be able to accept this method a little better and see the overall benefits.
Perhaps this person had gone back to a traditional form of horsemanship because she did not have the Waterhole Rituals deeply embodied in her. Once that embodiment occurs and you see it proving itself out every day, in every interaction with your horses, how can you turn you back on it? There are good things you bring with you from past learning experiences that are really valuable. Embodiment is something that occurs with any wonderful, deep training. It is what happened to me with bodywork – now I hardly ever take an aspirin, not because I was told not to, but because my body seeks other ways of healing itself. The nervous system changes. What I love about embodiment is the depth of the knowledge, at the cellular level, where it resides. It is where our fundamental relationship resides, with our horses, and other people and with ourselves. It is how we evolve.