In our high-tech world of bytes and data we can forget there’s another avenue of communication that isn’t cellular, or vocal, or run by computer processors. It is intuition. In my opinion, it’s one of the most important avenues of communication with animals.
It’s that little voice that says, something is not right with my horse when everyone around you is saying, “Oh, your horse is fine.” It’s that whisper that says, I don’t feel good about feeding this, or he seems fine but I feel he may have ulcers.
We horse owners spend a lot of time in our heads. Riding is a thinking sport. Competitions are as much a mind game as a physical endeavor for both horse and rider. And yet, when we get out of our heads and just feel, we are in that zone of connectedness with our horse—in the moment, present, intuitive.
Some of the best trainers and competitors that I know have the ability to let the feeling direct the thinking brain, rather than the other way around. They feel what the horse is telling them.
Intuition is an awareness that is absent of rational thinking. And while we think of science as being the bastion of rational thinking, some prominent scientists have maintained that intuition is associated with innovation in scientific discovery.
The best veterinarians are, in my opinion, the most intuitive. Listening to their intuition gives them the freedom to step out of the box, particularly with complicated cases that don’t fit a prescribed paradigm of treatment. The intuitive veterinarians also seem to be the first to start linking chronic health issues with certain medications or protocols and revise dosing even if that is not what the drug companies advocate.
Most of us are not encouraged to listen to our intuition. I think this is because our high-tech lifestyle disconnects us from our intuitive feelings, and we are bombarded by the black/white, right/wrong, good/bad duality of judgment that leaves no room for grey or blue or green or red or a rainbow.
Now before you think I’ve lapsed into the hippie phase of my youth or that I have been listening to too many Grateful Dead songs, let me just say that it is the animals that are constantly reminding me of non-verbal communication, of intuition.
I feel that the animals are communicating with us through our intuition. I find for myself that when my brain is fluttering around, chattering like a magpie, or I am stressed, I have a harder time hearing my intuition, and hearing the horses and dogs.
Trusting our intuition is particularly important when it comes to horse care, feeding, choosing supplements, knowing when the horse has had enough work for the session, when to teach new things, or what is really going on with the stoic horse when our intuition is telling us something’s not quite right.
What I love about intuition is that everyone has it! Yet we are conditioned to ignore it, mistrust it, and avoid it. Not so long ago I was giving a seminar on whole food and a doctor in the audience asked how one knows how to adjust the whole food diet for each horse. “Use your intuition,” I advised him. He was in shock. You would have thought I had told him to run around the room naked. But that moment really taught me: we have to let go of the instruction manual in order to hear the horses.
Listening to our intuition does not discount or displace our rational thinking or our observational acuities. It is simply another source of information and communication. Listen to it, trust it, celebrate it.
Don’t be afraid to trust what your intuition is whispering in your ear.