Church of The Round Pen

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Let me retouch the joy I feel working and playing with the beautiful lady, Chloe, as we become acquainted in a Bear Valley Springs Round Pen. The joy of balancing energy between horse and human. I am visiting my brother, just outside of Tehachapi, CA. He has two very nice horses; Silver, a gentle giant, half shire-half quarter horse gelding, a delightful silver grey. And he has Chloe, feminine, lovely, elegant, half Friesian, half paint – a beautiful balance of black and white. I am smitten with her.
Chloe and I don’t know each other. I have been told she has a certain level of training. I find when I ask her to move up to that level she is confused, not sure as to how to respond and becomes agitated, throwing more and more energy into escaping my request. I lift my energy, changing my body posture to more assertive as she escalates. I know that somewhere she knows the correct response and I wait for her to find it, not letting up on my response to the energy she is throwing out. And suddenly she finds it, bending her ear and eye to me, her head and tail lower, she begins to respond rather than react and I yield the pressure of my energy and she begins to lick her lips. Joyful communication. We have found a momentary balance, a balance to build upon.
We see the round pen as a place of schooling for the horse but in reality, hidden in plain sight, is the dance of relationship, the coming together of energies, enfolding one in the other, creating a communication of mind, body and spirit. Horse spirit is our captivator. We are enthralled with the primordial, free expression of horse in body and action. We want to capture that spirit and make it our own. Of course we can’t capture it, we can only interface with it. Come to that common denominator that enlivens each of us.
Like any church, the round pen can be misinterpreted to be all about dogma and rules. Rules are guide posts to a deeper entanglement of promise and potential. When we bind ourselves to rules we bind ourselves to the structure of ego. Ego structure is important but it is only a portal, or an impassable boundary, to the greater dimension of energetic relationship.
This is deep stuff and I don’t mean to scare anybody away. We, of The Tribe of Horse, all seek that mystic relationship with our horse. The relationship where we become one in mind, body and spirit.

TRANSFORMATION. “A personality change aligning to a pattern appropriate to spiritual life which so sensitizes the recipient that incoming spiritual forces have significantly increased impact.”

Today we made thunder – You made thunder.
I am the witness making the space available.
You are my horse, the primal voice of my passion.

Lightning lanced, you arc and lash and flare.
A tornado tossed tumble weed your buckskin body
Bounds, lifts, floats, and dances in the round
to the strident concussion of your own music.
I stand in the eye of your storm
Reveling in the power of your expression
tasting the turbulent wind funneled through your nostrils
vibrating to the pounding rhythm your
hooves drum on the skin of sod and soil.

And then the storm is spent.
Your canter is cradle rocking soft
A Soul soothing cadence quiet as an April shower
I lift my hand and step back, a beckoning bow
Inviting you to share the center with me.
You come, ears up, muzzle reaching into my cupped hands
You blow a gentle Zephyr, the west wind’s promised warmth.
The scent of exuberant exertion lifts off your body, damp and dense.
You are Life coming to me willingly,                                                                                           You share your heart space.

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“…great sensuous song of life…”

I’m reading “The Feminine Face of God: The Unfolding of the Sacred in Women” by Sherry Ruth Anderson, Patricia Hopkins and wanted to share this quote with you.

“When I was a girl I would roam through the pastures with my horse, Spotty, and there would be a communion, a great sensuous song of life being sung through us that I have no words for.”  Anonymous

These words are so very validating to read; the experience  similar to my own.  It is only as I grow in years and wisdom that I truly acknowledge the communion with nature, with life, that riding my horse has granted me.  A blessing of spirit, “a great sensuous song of life….”  Several years ago I attempted to put this wondrous song into a poem.  The poem won a first place in a contest held by the East Bay Equestrian Network.

Meadow Music – A Rider’s Song

Meadow music notes of spring

Flow the contour of the hills

Swirl the ponderosa canyons

To the rhythm of gentle hoof beats walking

To the meadow music notes of spring.

Yellow flowers rising, reaching sunburst beauty

To the gentle hoof beats passing through their midst

Walking gentle hoof beats,

One-two, one-two, one-two-three-four.

Meadow grass seeds on their slender stalks

Bow and bob in unison to the rhythm of

The meadow music notes of spring

To the gentle rhythmic hoof beats

Of the mare walking in the horse dimension

Meadow music notes of summer

Simmer warmly through the valley

Wrap round trails traced on hillsides

To the rhythm of muffled hoof beats walking

To the meadow music notes of summer.

Powder puffs of cedar scented dust rise in rhythm

To the muffled hoof beats passing on the path.

Walking muffled hoof beats,

One-two, one-two, one-two-three-four.

Toasted gold by summer solstice

The meadow grass sways in sleepy melody to

The meadow music notes of summer

To the muffled rhythmic hoof beats

Of the mare walking in the horse dimension.

Meadow music notes of autumn

Serenade the oaks and alder,

Decked in glowing passion colors,

To the rhythm of happy hoof beats walking

To the meadow music notes of autumn.

Leaves red and gold shake and shimmy

To happy hoof beats walking in their glory.

Happy walking hoof beats,

One-two, one-two, one-two-three-four.

Parading the yellow leafed road,

Petals of sunlight flutter and fall to

The meadow music notes of autumn

To the gentle rhythmic hoof beats

Of the mare walking in the horse dimension.

Meadow music notes of winter

Sing the blackbirds in the choir loft

Of the ancient oak tree’s branches

To the rhythm of crisp hoof beats walking

To the meadow music notes of winter.

Five hundred voices trilling, singing gospel in god’s house

To crisp hoof beats passing ‘neath their perch.

Crisp walking hoof beats,

One-two, one-two, one-two-three-four.

In the waning light of winter, reflected in the shivering pond,

Barren branches nod to the rhythm of

The meadow music notes of winter

To the crisp rhythmic hoof beats

Of the mare walking in the horse dimension

Lynnea Honn

 

Esoteric Horsemanship and The HeartMath Connection

“Initial findings seem to reveal that the calmness or autonomic state of the horses has a greater influence on the human response rather than the other way around.”

I first met The HeartMath Institute at Sophia’s Well, a Wisdom Center in Sutter Creek in the early part of my journey through the Ageless Wisdom Teachings. We learn in these teachings that the heart is an intelligent repository of wisdom, intuition, and knowingness; that it is connected to the brain, constantly informing our thoughts and emotions of our inner resources and resonance. Our brains are so focused on the outer world and our outer senses that we rarely hear or listen to the whisperings of our heart.
Doc Childre and Howard Martin with Donna Beech have set forward in their book, The HeartMath Solution, a scientific presentation of the power of the heart in daily living. In a follow up book, The Science of the Heart, we get a comprehensive look at how the evolution of this new study of the heart/brain connection pervades all our relationships, with ourselves, with other humans and creatures, with the world at large.
“The heart has been considered the source of emotion, courage and wisdom for centuries. For more than 26 years, the HeartMath Institute Research Center has explored the physiological mechanisms by which the heart and brain communicate and how the activity of the heart influences our perceptions, emotions, intuition and health. Early on in our research we asked, among other questions, why people experience the feeling or sensation of love and other regenerative emotions as well as heartache in the physical area of the heart. In the early 1990s, we were among the first to conduct research that not only looked at how stressful emotions affect the activity in the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and the hormonal and immune systems, but also at the effects of emotions such as appreciation, compassion and care. Over the years, we have conducted many studies that have utilized many different physiological measures such as EEG (brain waves), SCL (skin conductance), ECG (heart), BP (blood pressure) and hormone levels, etc. Consistently, however, it was heart rate variability, or heart rhythms that stood out as the most dynamic and reflective indicator of one’s emotional states and, therefore, current stress and cognitive processes. It became clear that stressful or depleting emotions such as frustration and overwhelm lead to increased disorder in the higher-level brain centers and autonomic nervous system and which are reflected in the heart rhythms and adversely affects the functioning of virtually all bodily systems. This eventually led to a much deeper understanding of the neural and other communication pathways between the heart and brain. We also observed that the heart acted as though it had a mind of its own and could significantly influence the way we perceive and respond in our daily interactions. In essence, it appeared that the heart could affect our awareness, perceptions and intelligence. Numerous studies have since shown that heart coherence is an optimal physiological state associated with increased cognitive function, self-regulatory capacity, emotional stability and resilience.
We now have a much deeper scientific understanding of many of our original questions that explains how and why heart activity affects mental clarity, creativity, emotional balance, intuition and personal effectiveness. Our and others’ research indicates the heart is far more than a simple pump. The heart is, in fact, a highly complex information-processing center with its own functional brain, commonly called the heart brain, that communicates with and influences the cranial brain via the nervous system, hormonal system and other pathways. These influences affect brain function and most of the body’s major organs and play an important role in mental and emotional experience and the quality of our lives.
In recent years, we have conducted a number of research studies that have explored topics such as the electrophysiology of intuition and the degree to which the heart’s magnetic field, which radiates outside the body, carries information that affects other people and even our pets, and links people together in surprising ways. We also launched the Global Coherence Initiative (GCI), which explores the interconnectivity of humanity with Earth’s magnetic fields.”
So, what does this have to do with the horse/human relationship? In 2005 Elllen Kaye Gehrke, PhD began a series of five studies to see if the HeartMath science would support using HRV as a marker to demonstrate the emotional connection occurring between horses and humans when they interact. A description of these studies and findings are put forwarded in an extremely interesting and informative article, The Horse-Human Heart Connection, Results of Studies Using Heart Rate Variability published in the Spring 2010 edition of NARHA’S STRIDES.
The last of the five studies was conducted in 2008 in collaboration with Dr. Ann Baldwin, a physiologist from the University of Arizona, using seven pairs of horses and humans.
“It appeared that each person synchronized his or her particular HRV frequency cycle to match the horse’s specific frequency cycle. This result was reproducible and was observed in six out of the seven horse-human pairs. In the one horse-human pair in which the human did not match the horse’s specific frequencies, the person stated that she was distracted with other responsibilities during the recording.”
Dr. Gehrke enumerated several findings of interest in her article. The one that is most relevant to my “aha moment” is number 7. “Initial findings seem to reveal that the calmness or autonomic state of the horses has a greater influence on the human response rather than the other way around.” It is the heart resonance of the horse that influences humans. We are so about us, how we influence that we blind ourselves to the abounding energies that flow through our lives.
I am forever in awe of that first encounter. A white gelding standing in his field. A magnet to my four year old heart. The power of his heart pulled me to him. I stood at the fence participating with hopeful excitement in his gentle approach. His great white head lowered over the fence rail. Our breath intermingled, the whiskers on his chin tickled child cheek. He allowed and acknowledged the tentative touch of child hand upon his muzzle. I was, I am, enchanted, enthralled, enamored. The bio magnetic power of his great heart enveloped me and has held me in embrace though all the journeys of my life.

I Am A Teacher of Horse Passion

As a teacher I pass on my knowledge with my heart and soul. I find I tune in with every fiber of my being in the attempt to communicate and share my knowledge, describe in the clumsiness of words. When I connect with a young person who grasps intuitively the concepts of the horse/human relationship steps it is a joyful experience. It is impossible for me to not become very attached to these kids. I watch them with nurturing eye and hand, grow as horse people. I see them explore, get stuck, experience the light of understanding and I move through all of this with them. It is personally fulfilling and rewarding. However, I know with every lesson, every interaction there will come a day for them to spread their wings and move on to the next level, the next horsemanship experience, the next expansion of their passion…the passion that we share. They will leave me. Which of course is what the preparation is all about, it is one of the goals of the teaching. I am devastated, inconsolable, just like a parent whose children have left home.

I have to say, there is real wonder in Facebook. I woman found me, a woman that I knew briefly when she was a youngster and I wasn’t much older. I have been following her postings and page. She now owns a Thoroughbred Bloodstock farm in Florida. I mentioned to her how wonderful that she has fulfilled the horsewoman’s dream. She responded that I was responsible. WOW. What a gift she gave me in those few words. This sharing of the passion for horses has been going on for more than fifty years. It isn’t just in this moment. Just as there are people that have helped me along this journey, the ones I think of in gratitude, there are those whose lives I have touched. We are all linked in this love of horses.

And so I can release my kids, with love, to their future and their past. I go with them in their journey. I am so grateful that, as a member of the Tribe of Horse, I have the gift of sharing the passion for these incredible creations of God, the Horse. For in the end, it is all about our horses.

She is a horsewoman.

She is blessed

with an enthusiasm and passion

that has carried her through life,

generating a journey

compelling and rewarding.

Now she is blessed

by the opportunity

to share her passion

with those starting on a similar journey,

weaving together

the similarities and differences

of interspecies relationship.

She lives in the flame of enthusiasm

as she helps to transform

unknowing into knowing

between horse and human.

Lynnea

Horse Beauty

Beauty, it is said, is in the eye of the beholder.  And yet the study of art and mathematics show there is a universal form to beauty – an asymmetrical balance that creates an ever evolving movement, forever seeking to bring the whole into balance and forever recreating it’s asymmetry in a harmony that carries the eye into a mystery of searching.  It is called the Golden Ratio, universal “sacred geometry” that shows itself in the spiral of galaxies, in the crest of an ocean wave, in the curves of a conch shell and in the complex spiral of DNA.

“The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man,” a quote famously said by Teddy Roosevelt.  The horse embodies the golden ratio many times over in its form.  We can’t help but admire the shape, the combination of curves and angles, the flare of nostrils, the flag of tail, the curtain of mane – beauty expressed in every part and every movement – universal, primordial beauty.

Beauty also comes in relationship, searching for that melding of horse/human understanding.  As a teacher of foundational horsemanship I ask my young students at their first lesson, “why do you want to learn to ride a horse?”  The most common answer is “I love horses.”  Can’t go wrong with that.  Starting from a place of love can only lead to success.  For me, watching these young horse people struggle trying to grasp the physical, mental and emotional intricacies of learning to handle and ride a 1000 pound horse and suddenly pushing past the barrier of  not being able to suddenly being able, is absolute beauty.   I am passionate in sharing with these young people the experiences and practices that my 56 years of teaching has taught me.  Yes, teaching teaches.  My mentors teach me, the horses teach me, and students teach me.  Learning reaches out through an entire lifetime.

BEAUTY     by Lynnea Honn

Six months past

 was her lesson last.

A nine year old

 seeking the elusive gold

a treasure so bold,

 a shared story retold.

The joining of beings,

 the vistas of seeing’s

from the back of a horse,

 a bridge to the source

of nine year old glory,

 an adventure story.

She sits astride a gentle ride,

the fat round mare

of snow white hair.

She listens and cares

words her teacher shares.

Her body tries so hard to do

what her teacher says is true.

Try as hard as she may

 her seat just won’t stay

in the saddle so wide

 and the bouncy stride

jars her seat from the saddle.

 to stay on is a battle.

“Sure can’t chase cattle

 if you can’t stay astraddle,”

Teacher says from the center

 the words of her mentor.

Clasping hard on the reins,

 child’s hand jerks and strains.

back rubber band bending,

 mixed messages she’s sending.

The teacher does muse

what words can she choose?

so child’s seat she won’t lose,

 this young psyche won’t bruise.

Teacher calls on her knowing

 to lead to the flowing

of harmony felt

when two bodies melt

into exquisite rhythm

and shared body wisdom.

“Imagine head lifting high,

 a string attached to sky,

your breathe a soft sigh,

  your legs a draped “Y”

across horse’s back,

 over horse tack,

legs stretching down,

 heels reaching for ground,

hands push against bounce,

 weighing only an ounce,

seat pumps like a swing

 so that you won’t fling

off from the spring

when the horse is trotting.”

And then it is there,

 as though from thin air.

Little body is straight

and in rhythm with gait,

Hands float above wither

 like the play of a zither.

Fingers fold ‘round rein

 so as not to cause pain.

soft, without strain.

It has not been in vain

This effort of love – A gift from above

This moment of Beauty, A Rider, A Cutie.

 

The Tribe of Horse

A young, budding horsewoman introduced me to the concept of The Tribe of Horse.  I was offering pony rides with my mighty Mini, Shadow, at the local Farmer’s Market held in our small Sierra Foothill town.  She came to ride, telling me that she was from the Tribe of Horse.  Of course she was and in that moment I realized I was a member of a tribe.

Who are these people that comprise The Tribe of Horse?  Just as in any tribe there is a home for every  connection, in this tribe it is connection with Horse.  Each of us has our own emotional, physical, mental blueprint.  In esoteric philosophy this is known as the etheric or energy body.  We each have our own relationship foundation with horse.  Where one horseperson may cover 100’s of miles in competitive endurance riding, sharing the challenges of horsemanship, endurance, and environment in extreme trail conditions another horseperson may find complete satisfaction in  day to day conversations in the corral, brushing, feeding, caregiving, with never the need to mount the horse.  Each is in relationship with the horse, spending time in communion with a being of infinite presence.

It is joy, mystery and awe that lead into the Tribe of Horse.  Once there the instruction is rigorous, with mental, emotional and physical challenges, the humps, bumps and falls of life reflected in the microcosm of the horse/human relationship.  Our guide is a child of this earth, a cauldron of earth energy, powerful in all its aspects.

To all of you who are of The Tribe of Horse I dedicate this blog.  Also to those needing guidance in the understanding of your loved one’s apparently irrational passion.

I am grateful to share the Trail of Life with Horse