I am not a “horse person.” I have never owned a horse. I don’t ride regularly, nor am I skilled in handling horses. But I have been touched by the soul-of-horse, and have been humbly honored to receive a gift, a “don de Dios” as a Costa Rican horseman called it, which has enabled me to sense and bring to human expression the thoughts of these wondrous creatures.
I share the treasure I have received in communicating with these beings so that other people may better understand their inner world, and the ways it can help us understand our own. And for those who ride or own horses, I tell this story as another way for you to learn to trust what you hear when your horse needs to speak.
Horses have a profound capacity to communicate directly and in detail with humans, although of course they don’t use spoken human language. But their pre-linguistic and sometimes visual mode of expression can be understood in human-language terms if one is open to the experience.
People often ask me, “How and when did you learn to communicate with horses?” The short answer is that it happened a few years ago, while riding a horse in Costa Rica. But when I reach back in memory I find that my ability to sense the thoughts and feelings of horses started many years ago, when I was a child living in Philadelphia.
COMPANIONS ON OUR JOURNEY
Aladdin was one of the horses at Echo Farm Camp. Located northeast of Philadelphia in Bucks County, Echo Farm had the classic summer camp elements: “bunks” and “bug juice” and the like. I attended a two-week session the summer I turned eleven.
Camp’s amenities brought great relief to us city kids: a swimming pond, walking trails, playing fields, yoga classes, campfires with “s’mores,” guitars and singing, and arts and crafts. But my favorite was horseback riding.
In the four and a half decades since being with Aladdin, my understanding of horses has deepened along with my life experience and inner growth. When I was a child I kept my soul connections with horses secret, scrawled across the lines of my diary and locked away with a tiny key. Today I am moved to share my experiences, along with the thoughts, concerns, and desires of the horses I meet.
I am moved to do this because I have a deep sense that horses feel a more urgent need for humans to hear them, and that humans have a more urgent need for the understanding and the healing that horses offer us. I believe this enhanced communication is as much about people as it is about horses, and that what these magnificent animals have to tell us bears deep significance for our awakening as human beings.
HEARING WHEN THEY SPEAK
People often ask how it is that I can communicate with horses, how it works, and what I do. As for what makes it possible, that remains a mystery. I experience it as an emergence of something from within me, but not of me, although I don’t know myself exactly how it works and I continue to seek to understand the process. Perhaps that’s a question for the cognitive scientists. Then again, is there any point in trying to dissect the capacity of one species to connect with another? On Earth, all species of life, all organisms, are interconnected and evolving together.
That being said, I will try to put into words the process I go through when I communicate with a horse.
As a child, I believed all things were possible. I knew then, as we all do at birth, that the Life Force within us also connects us. We experience ourselves as one with mother, and also with the life around us. But as our sense of self takes hold, we begin to become separate individuals, falling from the grace state of awareness of our connection with God into the mental perception of separation.
But the separation is only in our minds. In fact, the Source of our being continues to maintain its connection to us, and it flows among all of life as an energy connecting all living creatures. This is how it is possible for humans and horses to communicate with each other.
As we grow further into our sense of separation and individuality, language arises from imitating those around us, and we begin to sense and believe, mistakenly, that is it the language itself which is being communicated. But the words are merely the medium. What is being communicated is actually the energetic flow of divine substance moving between us, as us.
When I hear horses, I move in that flow of connection with them, and then I translate what they express into my own language. So it doesn’t matter whether a horse lives in Costa Rica and has heard only Spanish all his life, or in the United States where people have spoken to him exclusively in English. The horse can understand me and I him because we communicate with each other in a pre-linguistic state of interconnectedness. We listen to each other inside of that flow which unifies our souls.
TRUSTING WHAT WE HEAR WITH OUR MIND’S EAR
When I say that I “hear” horses, I’m not referring to an auditory process involving the ear, but rather to an inner hearing that arises from a quiet state of being. To hear horses whisper is much like hearing an answer to a prayer, and in both cases we have to trust and believe what we hear with our mind’s ear.
God’s language is silent, and so is the language of horses. Humans have the same ability to communicate without spoken words, but in many of us it has become atrophied through lack of use. We can relearn that way of relating if we can learn to let go (if just for a little while) of our sense of separateness. When we move into a state of deep connection to the unity of life, language falls away.
And so I begin each session with the horses by cultivating a state of awareness in which my mind is quiet and open to the soul-of-horse. This is the state I refer to as release, where I put aside language and reliance on the physical apparatus of the hearing sense in order to shift into the neutrality needed to believe and trust in a process that does not involve words, but instead is based on the connection of the mind and heart.
CENTERING OURSELVES IN A DEEP STATE OF SILENT BEING
God can be heard speaking to us only when we’ve centered ourselves in a deep state of silent being. The process works the same with horses, and if horse and human open themselves one to the other in the essence of an energetic state of unity, real communication becomes possible.
Above all, I need to be comfortable and feel safe around the horse. The calmer and more self-assured I am, the more the horse is able to trust me.
As I approach the horse, I explain to him or her who I am and why I’m there. I tell them that if they want to talk, I will be able to understand what they say. Meanwhile, the horse senses my aura and state of being, and reads my true intentions. In fact, the horse starts to get a sense of me the moment I walk into the stable or barn. Horses are extremely perceptive.
Moving closer and closer, I whisper directly into his or her ear. The most important determinant of a successful communication is the horse’s understanding that I mean him or her no harm, and that my purpose is authentic. I place my hand gently on the horse’s body. This touch, I have discovered, is not essential to the communication, but can help me to sense the spirit of the horse. In fact, there have been occasions when I have been able to communicate with a horse at a distance, from the other side of a barn or even from thousands of miles away.
Throughout my conversation with the horse, I remind him or her often that I want to listen, and that I will share what he or she tells me with the owner. Some horses respond immediately, while others take some time to open up to me. Usually the horse will stand very still as we communicate. Sometimes, the horse will make licking and chewing motions and lower its head. This is a sign that the horse is submitting to me, or affirming the accuracy of my interpretations, or both.
There are occasions when a horse may seem to be ignoring me, such as when he lowers his head to eat hay while I am speaking. Even so, a flow of communication between us may still be taking place.
BEING INTUITIVELY PRESENT, OPEN, AND OBSERVING
To understand what the horses are saying, I have to shift my state of mind from a place that is linguistically oriented, visually dominated and intellectually judging, to a state where I am intuitively present, open and observing. Allowing my consciousness to spread out, I leave the confines of the cerebral cortex and extend my awareness down into my solar plexus. (This may not be a scientific way of describing it, but it is how one horse explained what I needed to do to extend our communication.)
All of my senses then become exquisitely keen. Colors and sounds become intensely vibrant, and certain scents are so strong that they leave an impression on my tongue. But what I call ‘releasing’ is the most heightened of my senses.
To release, I must let go and trust, dropping entirely into the fullness of the present moment to allow my perceptions to shift beyond the five senses, and it is absolutely essential that I do this in order to understand the information coming from the horse. As with driving a standard transmission car, it’s a matter of shifting into neutral, with the gears one through five representing each of the five senses.
I must ‘shift into neutral’ and let go of the control I normally have over my senses, a control that makes living in the day to day world possible but at the same time limits my capacity to perceive on the level of the soul-of-horse. This shift into neutral makes it possible to ‘hear,’ to sense with my entire being, and allows my full mind, including my bodily senses, to inform what I perceive.
The communication may be only momentary, or it may last fifteen minutes or more. The process, however, does not rely entirely on my ability to release. I can only hear the horse when the horse is willing to engage, and to communicate we must both be in a mutuality of connecting.
©2013 by Rosalyn W. Berne. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher: Rainbow Ridge Books.
When the Horses Whisper: The Wisdom of Wise and Sentient Beings
by Rosalyn W. Berne.
About the Author
Rosalyn W. Berne, Ph.D. explores the intersecting realms between emerging technologies, science, fiction and myth, and between the human and non-human worlds. As a university professor she writes and teaches about engineering and technology in society and the ethical implications of technological development, often using science fiction material in her classes. In her personal life she continues to discover the transformational nature of human-equine relationships, and offers facilitation and translation services for enhancing communication between horses and their owners. Visit her website at whenthehorseswhisper.com/
Watch a interview with the author: When the Horses Whisper: The Wisdom of Wise and Sentient Beings