Just last week, I went to a rural barn in South Carolina to try out a new pony. Her name was Rachel, and she was a pretty palomino paint with friendly eyes that sparkled.
I mounted and – off we went! She was incredibly sensitive, turning this way and that if I merely thought about how I might want to go this way or that. Every shift in the saddle was a message to Rachel, and she responded immediately.
It got me thinking about that part of us that is more ‘animal’ than ‘thinking human.’ We all have a physical and intuitive response to what our senses pick up. The more primitive part of our brain, the limbic system, is a powerful processor of sensorial information. It reacts quickly to input that we might be in danger. It sends us into fight or flight. It gives us a gut feeling about whether a stranger can be trusted.
Over time, if we are well-educated and good citizens, we learn to think through all this sensorial input with a different part of the brain – the neocortex. This can be very good. But it also can lead us astray – when we try to ‘talk ourselves out of’ irrational feelings.
When your gut and your thinking brain serve one another – that’s magic.
So, when folks come to the ranch to do groundwork with a horse, I often ask them, “What if you were a horse? What would you be doing right now?”
Play with this thought. Stop over-thinking, and just ask yourself, “What do I know without knowing how I know it?”
Trust that. It’s good, old-fashioned horse sense.