Written by: Sarah Burgner
I have loved all things horses for as long as I can remember. I even used to pretend I was a horse myself, resulting in lots of bruises, knee torn jeans, and an incredibly tolerant mother with nerves of steel. I was fortunate enough to be able to get my own horse at age 10, Ebony. “Ebbie” was a beautiful, 14 y/o jet black Tennessee Walking horse mare who ultimately taught me what it meant to have a relationship with a horse. She was patient, honest, and as kind as they came. As I got older, and much braver, I started dreaming of show jumping. My sweet Ebbie was amazing in so many ways, but being a walking horse, jumping was simply not going to be her best suited discipline. I then had the opportunity to get my first mustang, Bullet. He was a 16 year old, liver chestnut, and was barely 14 hands tall. Nonetheless, he had come from a stable that used him as a school horse for beginner jumpers. My parents bought Bullet from some church friends of ours and the rest is history. That little mustang and I jumped everything in sight! Ebbie was the perfect first horse, but it was Bullet who taught me what horsemanship was…
Ebbie was naturally an absolute sweetheart. She was easygoing and wise beyond her years. However, Bullet was spunky and opinionated. He was the perfect horse for me to not only learn to jump on, but he taught me how to be a partner. He challenged me to ask him questions, not just to give demands. After about a year of owning Bullet and Ebbie, I was introduced to a program called Parelli Natural Horsemanship. I was intrigued and mesmerized from the very first clinic my parents took me to. I began to study, watch, and read anything I could about the Parelli program and I was immediately hooked. In natural horsemanship, the focus is on so much more than just disciplines and training. Natural horsemanship is all about an approach to a relationship with horses without using fear, manipulation, or force on the animal, but is all about understanding the psychology of how horses think, act, and learn in their natural, God-given behavior. It wasn’t long until I realized horses, like humans, have different personalities and when we understand our horses’ personality; we can communicate so much more effectively. For instance, Ebbie was slow, gentle, and calm in any situation, whereas Bullet was steady, but more energetic, and would spook when he wasn’t confident. After learning this, I was able to love and lead my horses so much better! There was less confusion and more confidence for me and for them!
I believe God created these magnificent animals for our enjoyment, but I also know He created mankind to take care of them and enhance their lives for the better! Personally, I feel a true horseman will exemplify the fruits of the spirit as talked about it in the Bible (Galatians 5:22) while working with horses. Such as: patience, kindness, self-control, joy, and gentleness. Natural horsemanship is where we get to enjoy and improve the welfare of God’s creation and creation thanks us by trusting us enough to let us in emotionally or allowing us to climb up on its back and taking us for a ride.
Did you know horses can actually hear a human’s heartbeat from up to four feet away? And within moments, they can sync their heartbeat up with ours? It’s because horses are “herd animals.” God specifically designed them to work off of the energy around them as a means of survival and security. When we are able to create authentic connection with our horses, it’s essentially like we have one heart. And when we operate with one heart, we can be real partners, and when we become partners with our horse, anything is possible.
As of today, I have been involved in the equine world for 20 years. From show jumping, colt starting, trick training, problem solving, show coaching, trail riding, confidence building, and virtual mentoring, I have learned and cultivated how to read and better understand our equine partners. My business, One Heart Horsemanship, focuses on natural mentoring, problem solving, partner development, and confidence building. All while using holistic emotional support with the help of essential oils, clear, natural communication styles and confidence methods to provoke the conversation and curiosity between horse and human.
The use of essential oils is something I have implemented for years in my horsemanship, both on our personal horses and client horses. When using pure, organic essential oil blends or singles, it can open the door of emotional and mental breakthroughs like never before. Oils are a God-given resource that has the ability to naturally cross the blood/brain barrier with no physical intrusion on the body. Meaning when used aromatically, such as simply sniffed straight from the bottle, they can allow the realignment of mental and emotional connection in animals and in humans. For example, when I’m working with a high-strung horse who has a lot of their own opinions I will allow the horse to smell an oil such as “Harmony” or “Humility” to promote feelings and alignment to the titles suggested in the name. Or when working with a scared, abused, or unconfident horse, I will use oils like “Valor” or “Peace and Calming.” The effect I have witnessed when using these little oily tools on horses, as well as people, has been absolutely astounding. Horses have no idea what a placebo effect is and I always encourage people to try “oil-ing” their horses consistently for at least two weeks and sit back and watch what happens.
As someone who is crazy passionate about natural horsemanship and natural living, I am also passionate about educating others on combining the two in a safe, nonjudgmental space. I have a Facebook group, The One Heart Horsemanship Resource Page, where participants pay a onetime $60 fee to join. I make weekly posts including how to’s, encouragement, live sessions, advice on problem solving and more. I also offer in person and virtual mentoring services. It’s simply a safe space for all kinds of equestrians to be able to pull from different natural horsemanship methods and techniques to help improve their understanding, communication, and over all relationship with their horse.
If you are interested in my services, learning more, or want to join the One Heart Horsemanship Resource Page, you can find me on Facebook as Sarah Rebecca May Burgner or follow me on Instagram at sarah_rebecca_may.