DAVID HARRIS, UNITED KINGDOM
David Harris is an internationally acclaimed speaker, trainer, facilitator and coach. David is also a life learner in natural horsemanship. He lives in Windsor, England, with his wife, two children and seven horses. He is passionate about people and their amazing potential. “We are all stars, sometimes we need to learn to shine a little more”.
Charlie (April 2011)
Phone: +44 (0) 7774 968817
David Harris (April 2011)
When we first started our workshops often we did not have a structure. We would invite friends family and acquaintances to come and “play” with the horses. If the play resulted in learning we would refine the process and utilise it in our programmes. This is the way many of our current exercises evolved.
On one memorable occasion we realised you do not need a structure or even an exercises for profound learning to occur. This is my memory of that wonderful occasion. I have changed the name of the participant to ensure this intimate learning stays that way. She gave me her permission to tell you the story.
It was a sunny spring day, warm but cool enough to require a coat. We had a group of four people playing with us. We had completed a safety briefing and the atmosphere was still with an air of excitement.
It was my intention to take the group through a lunging type exercise I was trying to refine. I asked who would like to try the exercise first. I was standing waiting with Johnjo, a chestnut gelding standing at 16.2 hands. He waited patiently while one of the participants stepped forward. Her name was Charlie (name changed by request).
I handed her Johnjo’s lead rope, gave him a gentle stroke on the shoulder in preparation for the exercise.
“Well Charlie, what would you like to work with today?” I asked.
She took a deep breath and then started to talk at a speed and rigor, which took me by surprise.
“Well I wanted to work with something that has been bothering me for ages” she took in a short, sharp breath and continued even faster.
“I am single and would love to find a partner, I have many men friends who would make great partners but we only ever have one date, never a second. And I do not know why.” Another even shorter breath and continued to speak still faster.
“I am attractive, intelligent, I earn good money, I have a great job and I think I am very interesting, why would it be that no one ever wants to go out with me more than once, I just do not understand”. She continued to talk faster and faster, snatching shallow breaths between sentences.
All the time she was talking Johnjo was yawning gently but regularly. Initially Charlie did not notice, but towards the end of her first stream she did. She stopped talking looked at Johnjo, then looked at me and said.
“My god, I am boring the horse”. For the first time she spoke slowly and it seemed from the heart and not the head.
As the words left her lips Johnjo stepped forward and put his head flat against her chest.
Charlie looked slightly confused and then put her arm around his big, soft head. They stood together in a heartfelt embrace, it seemed like time stood still.
After a moment Charlie looked up at me and started talking again building up speed with each word.
“Isn’t this interesting. When I got emotional the horse stepped forward to me. I do not understand, what does this mean? Do you think he is trying to tell me something? Wow this is amazing”.
Johnjo stepped back and started yawning again. Charlie stooped talking and looked into his big brown eyes. She sighed and said nothing; she looked moved by the interaction and visibly softened.
Johnjo stepped forward and again placed his head flat on her chest. Charlie put her arms around Johnjo and they stood, melting into each other. With each breath Johnjo’s head got lower, and lower; a sure sign he was very relaxed and connected. After a few moments he stepped back, there was a sense he was done.
Charlie looked at me, looked at the group then looked and Johnjo, gave his forehead a gentle rub and silently returned to the group.
Some weeks later Charlie called and said she had told all her friends what had happened with Johnjo. Her friends had said “Yes Charlie, that’s exactly what you do, you pretend to be what you think they want”.
Charlie asked me “Why did not they not tell me?” I asked her “Would you have listed if they had?”
This was a profound learning for Charlie by the simple act of being herself. She experienced the attractive quality of just being herself and had a whole body learning experience. Horses have an amazing ability to help us be who we really are. No pretence, no mask; the real self.