Tantrums Make Me Giddy

Posted by harmonio on February 17, 2014


One of the things I’ve noticed over my years working with horses is that patterns will emerge. For example at one point I had a sudden influx of clients with traumatized horses, all at the same time. Another time I found myself challenged on a daily basis by aggressive horses that seemed to be constantly testing the boundaries of everyone around them. Without fail these patterns showed up and challenged me to push myself into an uncomfortable area. I didn’t always enjoy it but I did begin to recognize that as the horses and I came out the other side, not only were they happier, but I had developed a new confidence, a new depth of compassion or some other skill that improved my life profoundly.

In the past week or so I have noticed the horses around me hitting a lot of resistance. This resistance is accompanied by horsey tantrums. There has been bucking, rearing, ears back, bolting off and all sorts of other fun stuff. I’m sure their owners don’t think it is fun but it makes me giddy. That’s right tantrums make me giddy, especially big horse ones. Here’s why.

Usually when we (horse or human) hit resistance it is because we are uncomfortable stepping into something new. It could be a new behavior, a new circumstance or a new way of being but the important word here is new. New usually equates unknown. As humans we often mistake mentally understanding information with knowing it in an experiential way. This is important to note because we may judge something as known because we’ve heard about it but that is a very different thing than experiencing it.

Now here’s why I think tantrums are juicy. Tantrums emerge when we are pushing through our resistance. I described above what horse tantrums can look like but what do your tantrums look like? I get grumpy, feel like nothing is working and tell myself it’s not worth it anyway. My teeth clench and I notice a specific sensation/holding in my chest and throat. I often do things half assed in this state of mind and then try to avoid accountability for it.

I used to buy into my tantrums/resistance. I’d get all worked up and make myself miserable. I hated being uncomfortable and I let my ego convince me that getting to the other side might kill me (I can be dramatic). Yet when I watched horses push through their resistance there was often a big display followed by ease. They would give it everything they had and then it was done. I realized how much easier things would be without the stories I attached to my resistance. I became an observer to my resistance, watching it unfold in me as it did in the horse. My behaviors became familiar until it reached the point I could laugh at myself while experiencing resistance and a lack of comfort.

If you are feeling ready to take your horse/human partnership to the next level don’t be surprised if you hit some resistance in you and your horse. Let’s face it our horses read us very well. If you’ve been resisting being more assertive (perhaps because you want your horse to like you) your horse knows this. While your assertiveness, or lack thereof, has nothing to do with your horse liking you or not (they don’t bring all the crazy human stories and demands to relationships) it does mean your horse gets to call the shots. If you start to be more assertive I would be surprised if he doesn’t resist. He wants his grass and he wants it now. But maybe (and by maybe I mean I’ve experienced it first hand) in the unknown there exists a world where you can feel loved by your horse and not have to be dragged around to every green patch of grass in sight.

So the next time you notice your horse hitting resistance, check out what kind of resistance you’re hitting in yourself. Remember the unknown isn’t good or bad, it’s just unknown.