Excerpts from “The Horse Listener”, the first book in the Horse Listener trilogy by Internationally published best selling author Mark M. Hanna
“What better way to explain it than from the heart of the ones who experienced it.”
Mike would often explain to me that he believed that we were all together, man and beast, in some sort of pre-existence, created by God for a purpose. We were all sent down to earth. If we found each other during our lives, we might be able to help each other. He told me how he felt about his stallion, Shahwan. He felt that they were soulmates with a special purpose to fulfill. The Arabian horse was especially precious to him. Mike told me that after he came out of his deep depression, he was a new man. Different, because he was not an angry, aggressive man anymore. Life was precious to him. With his acceptance of Christ’s atonement, he woke up each morning thanking God for his new life. Things were clearer to him because he had lost all his negative issues.
I remember the stories he told me of what the horses were thinking when he was communicating with them and his awareness of their body language that was heightened because of his change of heart. I knew I wanted to learn from this man. The first time he started to realize he had a gift for communicating with horses in a special way, he was trimming the feet of some horses belonging to an Arabian horse preservationist. They owned six older stallions that they had collected from all over the country and the world. One stallion was very wary of his trimming experience. Mike took special care to understand this older stallion. He said that as he looked into his eyes for that connection, a wave of fear and panic came to him from the stallion’s mind. They were all coming in pictures. It affected Mike so much in his spirit that he had to quit and ponder what he had just experienced. He realized in one moment that the stallion had projected a flurry of pictures and strong fear into his unsuspecting mind.
“What a revelation!” he’d told me. “I saw pictures without lengthy consideration and interpretation, but the first impression that came to my mind.” He stood there for a while contemplating what had just happened. With empathy and a quiet demeanor, Mike told the stallion in his mind, in pictures, that he understood what was causing his trepidation. There it was again, in pictures, the first impression he felt was relief from the old stallion. After that, Mike had no problem with him. After the intimate communication he had experienced, he realized that a quiet, sensitive approach to nonverbal communication, using pictures, not dismissing first impressions, had calmed a fearful, powerful stallion.
This experience initiated a series of events that would change Mike’s life with horses. He already had an innate ability to read the body language of horses. But now, softening and going within and listening was the new frontier. He was already known to be a horse whisperer, but now he realized that the horse whispers in our ears and it is our task to listen. It now had begun to awaken a realization of a deeper, more spiritual mode of equine communication. With this new dimension, Mike embarked on a journey, to become a horse listener.
Mike told me of another experience when he worked for an Arabian Dinner Theater in Florida as assistant to the head trainer. He purposely used his newfound technique to reassure a mare who had been involved in a chariot accident. She had been rehabilitated by another professional and was ready to be inserted back into the performance. The trainer told Mike he was not sure of her success, so Mike said he would talk to her. He introduced himself and asked her what was wrong. She said she was fine with all her training but was worried about why everyone was taking all of these precautions. She was following her instinct to survive. He assured her he was aware of the concerns, that they were just trying to protect her. She said that she did not need all that care because she trusted her trainer. She immediately calmed down and told him she would do just fine. Just before the performance, he told the trainer there was no need to worry. Relieved, the trainer said he had worked so hard to help her succeed. When the horse-drawn chariots were driven past Mike on the way into the ring, the mare looked over at him, as if to say, “Watch this,” and proceeded to perform perfectly, much to the relief of all her crew.
Another horse in the same show had to stand in a dark place for forty-five minutes waiting for his part in the show. He felt he was being neglected and not appreciated. Mike reassures him that he was an integral part of the performance, even if his part was only for a minute in the program. He had been grumpy and uncooperative before his conversation with Mike. His countenance changed immediately, and he beamed with pride and confidence. His attitude change resulted in him being the most popular horse in the program.
Mike told me he would do his best to help me improve my communication skills. I felt honored that he would try to impart his knowledge to me. He said the first impression that comes to mind with the pictures is always the right one and to go with it. Stop trying to interpret your first impression.
“From little things we achieve great things.” In other words, relax and let it happen and stop trying so hard.
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