A horse is the projection of peoples' dreams about themselves - strong, powerful, beautiful - and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existence. - Pam Brown
I'm not a fan of horses, I've never liked them. It's just something that I grew up with. It got worse when I was 15 and, on a trip, got seriously injured because a horse decided to kick me. I suffered from a hairline fracture in my left leg and my leg was plastered, and movements limited, for two months. So, my prejudice against them doesn't seem unfounded, does it? It's safe to conclude that I was apprehensive about going for an experience that involved an active interaction with horses.
I met Charlotte and Manjeev, our hosts at the experience about 15-minutes away from the location, the Gurgaon Polo Club because the location is a little tricky to find and you might get lost. Word of advice: Do not Uber, if you have to, come by a cab that'll wait for the duration of the experience. It had taken me an hour to reach our meet-up point and another 15 minutes to reach the Polo Club. But right off the bat, the couple's passion for what they do was so infectious, I caught on the excitement instantly.
The couple are the first ones to bring Natural Horsemanship to India. After years in the corporate world, Charlotte and Manjeev decided to follow their passion and trained at Monty Roberts Natural Horsemanship Centre in California to learn how to breed and raise horses. Charlotte sums up her words for the equine, "Humans were born to scratch horses," because, horses love it when you scratch their coats. For them, horses are a breed that is easy to understand and controlling them is the simplest thing in the world if you know what you are doing. But what is Natural Horsemanship? Well, that of the first question I asked!
It is the philosophy of working with horses based on the horse’s natural instincts and methods of communication, with the understanding that horses do not learn through fear or pain, but rather from pressure and the release of pressure. Simply put, it is a way on working with the horses in which you use the horses' 'prey' instincts to control them instead of inflicting pain. This is better because a horse that bonds with the trainer, instead of fearing him, learns better.
Charlotte and Manjeev introduced us to their horses, Lucy and Liddy - two gorgeous beasts of the Marwari breed. The Marwari is the only breed in the world with inward turning ear-tips (yes, my mind was blown!). Through discussion and demonstration, they taught us that controlling horses can be broken down into three steps: grooming, teaching them to follow you and establishing dominance as the leader of the herd. Going through the steps with Manjeev with Charlotte wasn't just fun; it taught me a lot about human behaviour and reactions, too!
Do you know that horses, in fact, can read your energy and will act upon that energy instead of your actions? I was told this hilarious story of a boss who was very dominant and could not stop screaming at his employees, but as soon as he tried to dominate the horse in the enclosure, the horse conveniently ignored him, much like his employees did. Luckily for me, I was able to establish authority in one go. From there on, the two of them listened to me. It was pretty satisfying, to be honest. Classic predator behaviour, according to them, though!
Leaving the place, I was pretty relaxed and the stress of the day (and the week) had washed away. Even though it took me two hours to get home from there, I can say it was a successful trip. I do like horses now, maybe not to the level of Alan Strang's love in Equus (never that much), but a healthy amount! I think they get me, something I can't say for a lot of humans!
You can book the Horse Whispering experience for Rs 1,500 on Airbnb.
Airbnb has recently started Airbnb Experiences around Delhi NCR. You can also try the Community Kitchen at Bangla Sahib Gurudwara that gives you a tour of the Gurudwara and allows you to take a closer look at the community kitchen there!
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