The Diary of DaVinci
© 2006-2007 by Cheryl Ward
Installment 6: The Secret and the Horse
Apr 20, 2007
Watch the video
for Installment 6
In the first installment I wrote about Neuro-linguistic-programming
and re-foaling for DaVinci. My chief aim was to help him write a new
script for his frightening life. An outstretched arm with an open palm
used to mean he was about to get slapped. Instinctively he'd cower and
run. Today I'm thrilled to report that he now welcomes that gesture with
a friendly nicker and relaxed, half-lid eyes. And now I think I have a
clearer picture of what's actually happening.
The Law of Attraction
I just read the book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. It's currently a
best seller in book and DVD formats about deliberately creating the life
you want through your thoughts and feelings. I've been reading about
deliberate creation for several years now. What's unique about this book
is that it's a compilation of 55 of the greatest teachers on this
subject. Their aim is to unveil "the secret" of the universe that has
been understood by some of the most prominent people in history, from
Plato to Galileo to Einstein. That secret is the law of attraction.
If you're not familiar with this universal law, it's that your beliefs
create your reality. The things you focus on and give attention to
manifest in your life, whether you want them to or not. We are
constantly in a state of creation by our thoughts and the feelings
attached to those thoughts. Deliberate creation aims to help you to
intentionally create the life you want and not create things you don't
want. When you say "I don't want this or that," you're creating more of
this or that, the very things you don't want. The challenge is to focus
on what you do want.
So often we want something, but feel we don't deserve it out of guilt or
unworthiness or some other belief that stands in our way. The feeling of
"not deserving" is resistance and prevents what we want from happening.
Rather than moving towards what we want through an open door of
allowing, that feeling of guilt or unworthiness closes the door. The
feeling of excitement, love and anticipation is the power that opens
the door and brings you what you want.
What Do You Want?
As I read the book I kept hearing the phrase that defines Positive
Reinforcement Training which says to the animal, "Move towards what you
want, rather than away from what you don't want." To move toward want
you want is positive, progressive and allowing, in the same way DaVinci
targets his way into the trailer.
A crop to the hindquarters of a horse causes it to move away from
something it doesn't want so it can get relief from something it finds
unpleasant. Do I want to work with a horse where it's behaving out of
avoidance? Wouldn't it be much more wonderful to have it willingly want
to do as I ask, because it's what we both want?
So what does this look like? Deliberate creation is all about thoughts
and feelings, often difficult to illustrate. But I think I have a clear
example with DaVinci's big adventure as he walks around the neighborhood
for the first time.
A Walk around the Block
I know he thinks the mailbox has a mouth that wants to devour him. He
starts to breathe heavily and get a little trembly. I'm just about to
bring him back to his pasture when he sees his ball. He picks it up and
gives it a vigorous shake. After he shakes his ball a few times he lets
out a deep breath and looks down the road. Now he feels confident
enough to leave his yard. I, of course, am thrilled.
Change the Thought, Change the Outcome
My initial interpretation is that his nervous energy needs a place to
go. Once he shakes the ball a few times, he releases his nervousness and
moves on. After reading The Secret I realize the thing that changes are
his thoughts. First, DaVinci's thoughts focus on things that can eat
him. The mailbox can't really eat him, but his thoughts about it must
feel extremely real to him; real enough for me to see his nervousness
and want to take him back to his pasture. His ball represents fun, play,
treats and mastery. When he sees his ball, suddenly his thoughts change.
Just as suddenly, his behavior changes.
The fascinating part is that the ball makes him feel happy and the
mailbox fills him with fear. I was thrilled that he leaned towards
playing with the ball rather than focusing on the mailbox. It's my hope
that the feelings from the ball were good and comforting and if, in the
future, he thinks he's in a scary situation, he'll reach for a better
DaVinci's Big Adventure
In the video of DaVinci's first official walk around the neighborhood, you can see what happens when he encounters trash cans, mail
boxes and barking dogs (watch
the video for Installment 6). I have his ball and his sponge whip, two of his
favorite things. I'm a bit concerned with working with him with a halter
and lead rope since he's usually at liberty. I think we both rely
heavily on his ability to run away if something scares him. My main
concern is to make sure he has plenty of rope in between us with
generous slack. This way if he has to run, he can at least bolt a few
strides and I get to keep my shoulder in its socket.
Instead of pressure on the rope to lead him, I ask him to target his
sponge whip. The sponge whip proves to be not only a way to lead him but
also a way to connect his attention to an object. During his encounter
with a trash can, he can differentiate when I want him to touch the
sponge, and when I use it as a pointer to touch the trash can. What a
I must say that I truly savor the trash can encounter. DaVinci at first
is very apprehensive, but then touches it, knocks it over and paws at
it. He remains focused even when the can bounces and hits him in the
nose. This is huge for him. For a horse that is petrified of having
anything done to him, he is unaffected by the trash can attacking him.
This tells me that if he is the one initiating the action, he feels in
control and is not afraid. When he is allowed to use his mouth and
hooves I notice that he has more confidence and interest in the
At one point he's a bit confused by the trash can and immediately
reaches for his ball. This to me shows how he changes his thoughts from
something unwanted to something wanted. Instead of focusing on the can
by running away or spooking, he reaches for something that makes him
feel happy, his half-deflated, floppy red ball. (Reminds of toddlers
with their security blankets.)
During the walk I'm amazed by how he stays connected by targeting. If
his attention wanders I get it back by asking him to touch his sponge.
If his attention really wanders I toss him his ball. Even through an
alley of barking dogs he remains calm by targeting his sponge. I can
literally see his brain calculating what he should do next. The ball and
the sponge represent something happy for him and I believe their
presence help make his calculations easier to create a safe and happy
walk around the neighborhood.
The Law of Attraction Applies to Horses
This month I've experienced a huge realization: horses are creators too.
If you have a horse that is well-behaved and gets along well humans,
that horse will probably receive wonderful care and handling from those
people. If a horse has problems or doesn't know how to work with humans,
there's a good chance that the humans won't know how to work with the
horse. Too often the behavior of the horse sets the tone for its
treatment. Each horse appears to create its reality by it's thoughts
about its circumstances.
My passion now is even stronger to teach horses to act in a manner that
earns them the best treatment. If a person can teach a horse to have
pleasant thoughts and feelings about humans, the horse plays a huge part
in creating the reality it desires. So for those horses that have had a
rough start, there's great hope. Their recovery starts one happy thought
at a time.
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7: You Decide >
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