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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Three Ways Horses Teach Us Emotional Power in Relationships

Jun 30, 2024 10:01AM ● By Liz Cutting
Horses embody profound wisdom for humans to live better lives. Observing and interacting with a herd of horses teaches us valuable lessons on leading ourselves and others with discernment. We learn to receive and respond to body-centric intuition, give ourselves and others the physical space needed for our minds to be present and engage an innate sense of timing by active listening.

Here are three pieces of wisdom from the horses—from human-to-human and equine perspectives.

Be Present
We humans tend to think two sentences, or even two weeks, ahead. Rather than dig up a clever comeback or zinger while your partner is talking, really look into their eyes, hear the tone of their words, watch and feel the body language being expressed as your partner shares. Be curious about what and how you are receiving your partner’s communication. Feel it in your body, and lean into the feeling as you are receiving. Breathe. Know it is always okay to take a breather. If your body needs to step back or away for you to feel safe or comfortable, give it the space it needs. This way you can be present and responsive.

Equine Point-of-View: Horses reflect presence to us by simply disconnecting from us if we are not congruent—mind, heart, gut—in how we are showing up. If we are not in the moment, sharing the space and paying attention, the horse senses it and knows we are not reliable partners. Nothing can be accomplished or partnered on until we take a breath and return to being wholeheartedly together.

Be a Witness, Not a Judge
Communicate with your partner in a non-judgment zone, as if you were meeting for the first time and you were truly curious. Even in a potentially heated moment, see what happens when you take a breath and do something entirely different than normal. If you usually go on the defense, try asking an open-ended question to clarify their intent, and really listen to the answer. 

Sometimes we just want to be heard and felt. If you can breathe through a triggering moment and drop both expectations and the need to be right, you may break new ground together.
Equine Point-of-View: We witness with horses by getting curious about their responses to us, and our responses to them. Say you’re in an equine assisted coaching session and are asked to lead the horse around the paddock. He totally refuses to move with you. Observe first what is happening in your body. Do you want him to move so badly that you want to force it? Drop the thought—just move to the center of the arena. Explore what’s happening within you that could be stopping him (or you) from being a willing participant.

Rather than creating urgency that may escalate into anger or desperation, see what happens when you walk away and take a breath. You may find you just needed to clear the energy of “you must” and open up to “I see you”.

Practice Saying “No”
When you say “yes” when you want to say “no,” your body does a lot of the talking for you anyway. Saying “no” is a healthy option versus giving in to something when you just aren’t in the mood. While it sounds scary to talk about what and how you’re feeling, the release of tension gives everyone a break.

Equine Point-of-View: Try getting a halter on a horse who wants to just hang out in the pasture. Their “no” is unmistakable: ears pinned back at you, they spin around and kick up their heels to run far away. It’s nothing personal, they simply do not want to be “harnessed”.

You get to reapproach and let them know your intentions are gentle or come back another time. You must check in with yourself to see what energy you’re approaching them with. Whether horse or human, the partnership must be true and based on cooperation through mutual desire, or at least willingness.

Trust and Grow Emotional Superpowers
When we get in tune with all of our energetic resources—mind, heart and gut—we can really know and act on the messages we are receiving about our needs in the moment. Taking our time, we can relate honestly, most importantly, to ourselves. Only when we know our own motives and desires can we relate to others in an authentic way. Without trying to force things to change or faking our feelings, we can respond in any situation thoughtfully, with curiosity, clarity and focus.

Horses living naturally take care of themselves and each other, each taking the role they are best suited for in the situation. If humans could live like horses in a healthy community, there would be significantly more peace, love and understanding.

Liz Cutting, founder of Mane and Soul Life Coaching with Horses, provides a safe space for clients to connect bravely to their true selves and purpose through on-the-ground experiences with the wise reflection of horses. Register for private life coaching sessions, workshops and yoga with horses at

Mane and Soul Life Coaching and Yoga with Horses - 7725 S Coyote Creek Trail Tucson AZ

Mane and Soul Life Coaching and Yoga with Horses - 7725 S Coyote Creek Trail, Tucson, AZ

Discover the joy and confidence of your body’s heart-centered wisdom through yoga, breathwork and experiences with the horse herd. Read More »