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  • Writer's picturelaviadelcavallo

Keep it gentle

Gentleness may be mistaken for weakness and fragility in these competitive and often power-driven times. Apart from the fact that there is nothing inherently wrong with fragility and weakness and that it takes loads of courage to accept and to live them, gentleness is all another story.

Often, gentleness has been associated with feminine qualities in a strongly biased gender approach. Gentleness is neutral.

Gentleness is taking the time to understand the self and the other, it is not forcing and not using power to control. Essentially, gentleness is respect and trust. It is the inner strength of self awareness, accepting the time needed to listen. It is the power of a real dialogue between beings. It is also assertiveness as self-respect.

When you educate a young horse you shall employ gentleness and all the listening skills you are capable of. Listening to the smallest cues, observing the behaviour and physical changes your actions or words have on the horse, because the objective is cooperation and trust. And not domination.

Domination is instead a surrender and an admission of helplessness, gentleness is where true power resides.

By applying gentleness in all interactions with horses you gain their trust and respect and therefore you will be able to interact with and enjoy well balanced, engaged and emotionally sound horses. You can apply gentleness to boundary setting and discipline. What matters is to learn to listen to the cue when you need to stop and change or ask for what you want.

The same applies on how you decide to treat yourself. Yes, push yourself outside your comfort zone to accomplish what you wish, be brave, but do it in a way that respects your rhythms and pace.

That’s where I apply the concept of gentle discipline; consistent and constant commitment to improvement and learning. In gentleness and respect.

Do something gentle every day no matter how small, no matter how insignificant this may seem. Even a gentle, conscious, single breath is gentle. This is a good starting point. This is enough.

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