The Rider’s Mind Podcast Episode 107: Interview with Josh Nichol

I am excited and honoured to have Josh Nichol join me on the podcast. I have been consuming content from Josh and I’m a member of his membership. I’m learning from him and enjoying it very much, so I thought you’d like to learn from him too.
Connect with Josh
You can find Josh’s website at:
His YouTube Channel is A Horseman’s Pursuit
Instagram:  @ahorsemanspursuit
Facebook:  Josh Nichol A Horseman’s Pursuit

Listen to The Journey On Podcast with Warwick Schiller and Josh Nichol
Episode 32: Josh Nichol on Apple Podcasts

Join the Conversation

Join the discussion in the The Rider’s Mind Community on Facebook. As a member of this community, you’ll also get tips and videos from me. 

Want to connect or ask me a question? Find me on Instagram or Facebook.

Learn with Me

If you’re looking to make changes to your mindset, be sure to sign up for my free Next-Level Mindset Mini Course.

You can also join Stride, my next-level barrel racing group. This group receives video training and coaching from me and Stride members have access to special guests. We work on becoming mindful barrel racers so we can show up, be present and perform with great partnership.

Episode Transcript:

Michelle: Josh is from  Meanook Alberta, and I’m going to let him introduce his methods. Would you call it that you’ve coined the term relational horsemanship? Would you be able to tell us what that all encompasses?

Josh: I will, thank you for having me. I’ve been looking forward to this conversation as I have enjoyed all of the things I’ve watched and seen of your content, and I thought that this was just going to be a great conversation to share and dive into some of these topics. Yeah, you know, I’ve spent my whole life with horses and in myself I would say I’m more relational person. I don’t necessarily deal very well outside of good relational standing, and that causes you to, in moments, live in a certain turmoil and you then have to seek and try to figure out how to, how to create balance and and understand needs. What are the needs for a person, what are the needs for horses? And relational horsemanship on one hand can kind of sound fluffy, I guess, but the honest truth of relational horsemanship is is that we want to get to the point where we understand exactly what a horse needs to be their best and do their best, and I also want the same for us, and as we can get to a place where we can be clear on what it is that we each need and our needs can be met in relationship. The level of performance that can come out of all of us is just amazing and I don’t think that people necessarily understand when a horse is running at a place where their needs are unmet and their muscles are tight and they’re nervous and scared. How that is diminishing their joy in life, but also their capacity to perform and do well. So that’s been part of my journey, is just to understand what does a horse’s mind need and what does their body need? How do they, how do they need to move? What does it mean to get a horse to work as they were made? And the idea is that when you can understand what what their bodies need to do to do well, and you start honoring that, that brings another level of peace to the horse because they’re not working out of balance and in places of tension. So then there’s no need to dominate or to force or to hold. So it’s like it’s really cool as you start to provide a horse with what they need and you know and understand how their bodies work, the relationship, the connection changes and that’s when it becomes a relationship. So it’s very cool that on that side we can understand our horses. But the other amazing part about horsemanship is that when you start seeing it in a different way, you start seeing yourself through your horse, you start seeing your presentation reflect through the horse to help you understand yourself better. And that’s just an amazing privilege that horses give us, because unlike dogs, a dog will – you know you can give a dog trouble and it will just keep coming back and it doesn’t really ask you to change much about yourself. It just wants the affirmation and the praise. Where horses are entirely different, they will show you exactly what they get from you and when you can switch that from behavior and say the horse is just misbehaving to, maybe the horse is giving me some feedback that I need to listen to about the way I’m presenting myself. This allows us, through the horses, to start understanding ourselves better, which to me is just such a cool gift that these these animals just allow us to kind of dive into more. So relational horsemanship kind of consumes a couple of different perspectives, and some of it is about us and our own growth, and some of it is about how we can understand them better. And as we work on both sides of that, it just creates this beautiful connection, and that’s what I’m desiring to create, and I’m growing in that all the time as they continue to help me understand myself better and as I grow and learn more about them. Yeah, that’s the idea, the general idea of relation horsemanship.

Michelle: I was kind of not liking you for a little bit when I learned about unmet needs. Everyone had unmet needs. Every horse there was like, oh, you, here’s another unmet need. I don’t know what to do with my kids. You’ve got an unmet need. Everyone had unmet needs everywhere and I’ve kind of calmed down on that but it was kind of like a flood one you start recognizing what is happening and what this behaviour is showing at the root of it. I guess my understanding is like any time you’re not in the flow or feeling relational someone, or one partner has an unmet need. Is that correct?

Josh: I think there’s different layers of it and I think that there’s definitely areas where you’re just not insync together, and that’s where I talk about. There’s certain parts that are more mental, spiritual and energetic, and and that that also encompasses emotional. So there’s emotional, mental, energetic and spiritual, and those are all the inner needs. And those are the things that that you know: ways we look at life, ways we interpret life, that can cause us to become twisted in our goods, and that’s our own personal growth, and you and I shared some of that before we started recording, just about how we can turn things into things that create twists and our god. And then there’s stuff with horses that’s about imbalance, physiology that can create irregular flow between a rider and horse, and that’s you know. That’s another side of the art of riding. So there are times when the needs, the main needs of a horse or minds, space and pressure, and I’m sure you know being that you’re into my content. That’s not unfamiliar to you. The horse has a need to know what’s going on in the world. They need to know how to interact spacially. So that’s why horses generally will push into people because they’re trying to connect. They’re not trying to be disrespectful or disobedient, but they’re reaching for us and us, as humans generally don’t exist outside of our bodies. We exist inside our bodies. You know we’re not – We’re not generally open and vulnerable, but a bit guarded. So then the horses will generally be looking for that connection, and then pressure is another major need. So how do I handle pressure, how do I control pressure? And horses generally come to us and humans will do this as well, as we’ll live in a self preserving form to control pressure. So I’m going to run first. I’m going to fight for Simon to guard first. I’m not going to think first, you know, and even in the example of you know, just some of our conversation before we started it was like it’s like right. Our first thought is to kind of like be unsure versus just to bring our brain online. And how much of our work is just to get our brain online. So those are the things we’re trying to do with our horses and we have a big cerebral processor. The horse doesn’t so much of the work is about helping a horse kind of cultivate their needs in a way where their needs are met. But there it’s done in a way where they can think instead of flee instead of pushing stronger, that they can feel and respond. And this does take mentorship. This isn’t the horse’s nature, and I jokingly say that this is the farthest thing from natural horsemanship, because we are not trying to play with the nature of the horse, we’re trying to get a horse to be a thinking creature instead of reacting creature. So that’s kind of the mental side, like the mental, emotional, energetic, spiritual side of the horse. And then, yeah, you know how many ways does it, how often does it take us a second to pause and breathe, to not cause ourselves to go there, you know? So yeah, It does happen a lot, but it’s definitely a thing that when you start observing, you know we can really see how often we’re living in a space where there’s an unmet need and sometimes that need is very controlled by ourselves. You know we can do it ourselves by just taking a breath. Man, I’ve just so many of your quotes and posts and what I’ve seen. It’s all about being able to bring a brain back online. How do you bring yourself back to a place of calmness and the art? This is the mean, the art of living, the art of relationtionship is gaining more abilities and processes to keep our own brain online, where generally were triggered to go off-line so that there’s there’s a part that’s not necessarily about a need, but about a skill set to stay centered. And when we can gain that skill set and get more to that place where we can be centered, we gain a lot more ability to meet our needs. But sometimes it’s not about an unmet need as much as it’s just about lacking the skill to know ourselves. And that’s saying that you know, know thyself. I think Socrates said that, but that’s like you know. We need to be able to get to a place where we know ourselves, we know our tendencies and then we can get to centre and then we can think through meeting our needs. So there’s kind of two elements to it there, I guess. So it’s sometimes it is needs and sometimes it’s just a matter of us gaining better skills, which I think you’re becoming masterful at, which is awesome.

Michelle: It’s a work in progress. Always I guess, yes, right. One thing that came up that I was, I guess hearing from inside, was for myself, I think this is kind of where I met, but I feel like it might be for other people too, not just being able to get back to center or present, grounded in your body. But also being able to trust yourself in that energy and trusting the energy, like some of the things that I’ve been playing with and just with what I’ve learned from you, and moving and using my energy with the groundwork, which I am a complete newbie at groundwork. There are times where I kind of scare myself in the energy and, just like so, to be able to trust myself, to stay there and to be able to hold that, and it’s interesting when you relate that to other great things in life, how we might think it’s too good to be true or like run from these feelings that we’re not used to being in.

Josh: Can I ask a question: when it scares you, what was that explain that to me? What was that when you, when you felt fearful by it, was that that you kind of it came out too strong or you couldn’t find it? Or what? What was that?

Michelle: Oh that it could be that easy.

Josh: Cool!

Michelle: And that is like it put, like you speak of the universal language, and when you have your definition for that, when I hear you say that, I’ll let you say what it is to you, but when I hear you say it, I was like: oh, that’s love. Like the highest eleveated feeling that you could feel. I feel like when I’m doing that, the work on-the-ground with my horses, if I can just hold that energy, they just do what I think, actually having to do it and that that feeling scares me. Whic his interesting in all aspects of life, also right like that, that elevated feeling of love, which is probably, I would say like close to God, also in the scale of consciousness, it’s way up there.

Josh: Yeah!

Michelle: So I have yet to be able to hold that for long periods of time, like long enough time to actually, you know, complete some kind of maneuver. He’ll be kind of stepping out of it.

Josh: Sure.

Michelle: You mean about the word used is like this universal language, so tell me.

Josh: So many thoughts. So the idea of the universal language is that everything can communicate through the space. So when you watch a dog and a cat walk up to each other, you know way before they’re close to each other, if they know each other, you know if they have an affection for each other, if they know each other, but they’re different if they don’t know each other. Two horses just in the clinic today. One of my horses was in the clinic and a horse that I have sold three years ago and these two horses came together and it almost brought a tear to your eye because they touched noses and nickered. They were so happy to see each other. You know it was excessive. You know everybody was like, oh my goodness, because it was so clear that the universal language to me it’s like there there was a feeling in the space of their, their enjoyment for each other, their happiness to see each other. Now the thing with the humans is that because of experience and trauma and struggles, what humans do as we close off, so we do not let our energy out of our bodies. We do not let our thoughts leave our bodies because most of the time we don’t even want. I don’t even want you to know what I’m thinking or you know, I don’t want you to know that you know what’s going on or you know there’s so many reasons we play these games, where we put these walls up energetically and we let nothing out. So the very form, the highest form of communication, which is to let energy leave our bodies with purity. And that’s when you’re going with the love piece, and I’m going to get back to that in a second. But when we let our thoughts out of our body and our energy, then our thoughts can be felt. And that’s when you said it scared you, because all of a sudden you felt like the horse was able to follow back up the stream. So this is why the relational horsemanship, or, in my mind, self mastery, necessitates us doing work, because we’ve got to get to a place where we can drop our walls, where we can get to a place where we can just be ourselves, so that when I say something I can release what I’m saying through my feelings as well and you can feel that, and so then that’s a work in and of itself. But when I can do that now the horse can feel my thoughts. So, because that’s not happening for a lot of people with their horses they’ll think a thought, they’ll move their physical body, but then they’ll just go to their pressure. And now the horse is left to have to interpret the pressure. So whether I move the flag a certain way or I move my stick a certain way, or I’m always the same with my rein, the horse can interpret the consistency of that. But that’s called interpretive training. That’s not felt. The horse is not feeling me, they just know how to deal with me. So there’s actually a divide that’s created because they actually don’t know why I’m guarded, which they don’t trust. Horses can’t trust if they can’t feel. The only things that they know. That hold intention back would be more predatorial because they’re trying to hide their thoughts and intentions. And so then the goal of being relational into space in a more universal way is to get to a place where, when I have a thought, I then can build that thought up into an intention and then I can release that into the space and when I can let that thought leave my body, then a horse can feel me and then I will use my aids in the space to kind of culture the energy more, rather than just try to make the horse do something. I’m actually using my pressure to engage the activation of that thought rather than just try to make them move. It’s like I want them to feel me more. And then what happens once a horse, and you said this, where it was like you, kind of felt like in a moment they’re reading your thoughts because it becomes like a salmon swimming upstream. When you have this beautiful downstream flow, thought energy or intention, then to energy and then to my aid. Pretty soon the horse is feeling my energy. Then they’re starting to connect my intention and it feels like sometimes they’re reading your mind. The challenge is we don’t spend a lot of time in that space in ourselves, and that’s where you know, just the personal work of being able to kind of like take stock of where you’re at and and trying to do a thing for ourselves becomes so crucial, because when it comes to universal language, the horses are way above us. They’re way above us because that’s how they communicate all the time, and for us where we spend most of our time is guarding ourselves. So this is an area actually where the horses are far above us when it comes to the leadership. They, are the ones that can teach us, so their feedback for us is truly helpful. So when you’re doing the work, man, you’ll feel like, oh my goodness, when you’re gettin it right, because it’s their language. It seems like everything’s going so easily, because you’re presenting yourself, you’re showing up. Horses generally want to communicate with us. They’re happy to do it if they understand and when they feel all of a sudden here responding, and so the beauty of it is, is when we’re there, man, it’s gorgeous, it’s beautiful, it feels so rich and that, to me, is another piece to this kind of met need relational approach. I want to live in that richness, I want to live in that kind of connection with my horses. Now. Is it that way? All the time? No chance, because I’m I’m pushing my limits all the time. I’m doing things that ask my horses to be challenged in their self-preservation so there’s times when we’re not hooked on. There’s times when I’m not because I had a bad day or I’m struggling with stuff and I don’t even want to give off even even a sense that this is like, You know, you just get there some day and you can be like me or whatever, because that’s not the case. This is a philosophical approach to life and it’s how we handle these things that come up. But the more we’re cognizant of it, the more opportunity opens up within us to succeed. One more thing: before we search topics. You mentioned love. You mentioned love, and that’s such a beautiful thing, because you associated the universal language to love, and I just want to put words to what that makes me feel. So love is such a pure thing, true, true love passes all things. So then, if love can be emitted with such intensity, then you wouldn’t be sucking back, you wouldn’t be guarding yourself, you wouldn’t be living, you would be open yourself, you would be opening yourself to vulnerability, you would just be sharing who you are and what you are. So when you say the word love, I think that’s because what that does for you is: it puts you out of frequency. When you’re not holding back, you’re totally emmitting yourself. In truth, everything you think you’re expressing, you’re not, you’re not guarding, you’re not judging, you’re not doing anythin. You’re just releasing who you are. So that’s to me why that triggers you to the universal language, because that is what it does for you, which is cool.

Michelle: I gave a pretty good demonstration of letting it all out and then getting guarded. I don’t know if you noticed that. Ok, I’m done talking, your turn. Fire hose and the Oh – that’s too much.

Michelle: So you have not said this one thing yet that I was just waiting for you to say, but it’s something that I hear you say often and I want you to elaborate on what it is, so you’ll often do you what I’m going to say.

Josh: I’m not sure.

Michelle: The horse just wants a good deal. What’s thta mean.

Josh: Horses want peace. They, they desire peace, they’re looking for it, they’re searching for it. It’s why the herd works itself out. They’re trying to find balance and equilibrium. They want to have a good deal with us and if they don’t this is their desire To have a good deal is what drives them crazy sometimes, and we can experience that too, because we have such a desire inside ourselves to be at peace and relationship and then, when we’re not, it drives us nuts. I associate this to a lot of there are certain mares that I’ve that I’ve worked with, that I’ve actually received because they were so challenging and I found that there wasn’t actually a challenge. They just were not going to go forward in this earth without having their needs met. They desired peace so much that they would buck and bite and bolt and as soon as their needs – we started to talk to them about. You know the things that they cared about, verses, the things I wanted to do. It just changes the whole picture. So horses are always seeking a good deal. They want that good deal. And when we change our perspective, and this is why I talk so much, you probably recognize in the introduction of my work, I spend so much time talking about changing your perspective on how you look at a horse. Because if your perspective on horsemanship, which is very, very common, is that the horse is being disrespectful or disobedient, then this justifies emotional pressure. Now I feel totally justified to chew on my horse for the thing I know they’re doing, but I’ve conjured all that in my head. If we look at a horse in a way that the horse is totally seeking to be okay, they want to be okay, they’re seeking it, they want their needs met and then, if their immediate needs are not being met, an they’re struggling. If I look at it different, and this is how I interpret relational horsemanship, is that the horse is seeking to have their needs met and if the needs are not met, it will show in what we look at as behavior. So that should be our sign that we then need to meet their needs. What that does is that takes all the emotion out of it, I no longer engage with pressure in disobedience or disrespectful fashion, because that’s now take it personal and turn it into like a – How can I, how can I get you a better deal? How can I set this up? So you feel good about what we’re doing, and the great juggling act of great horsemanship is to be able to understand the essence of what a horse needs and then go and perform at a really high level. And that’s the fun of it. And that’s why I felt like you know, I was really looking forward to our conversation, because I know that’s what you’re trying to do. It’s like: how do I, how do I get to a place where I can consider my horses but yet ask for everything from them? It’s beautiful.

Michelle: It often feels like a stretch, but your work has given me hope that it’s possible, combining the relational aspects and then also the biomechanics of it, like working on how a horse moves and enhancing their body. I’ve always been drawn to the in hand dressage work so it’s cool to see somebody in a cowboy hat doing what, we needed to do, for the longevity of these horses so that they actually don’t hurt themselves and what we’re trying to do. And then the point of them not being scared in doing like as a girl racer them, not being scared into doing what I want them to do, but actually on board. So I just see the two pieces it still feels like I have not bridged the gap, but I see the rainbow going over the bridge you know?

Josh: Totally.

Michelle: The possibilities like, but in some days it feels like so far, just as I’m trying to put all the pieces together, there’s the learning and then there’s the actually doing it, which can be challenging, because then I’m facing, I’m learning something new and it’s really making me draw on that growth mind set, have patience with yourself and, having patience with myself and not being able to do it right the first time.

Josh: I understand. The more we’re pulled to, the more we desire peace, the more we desire right standing relationships, the more turmoil we can live in. You know, and I feel like it’s a great wrestling match because we can get, it, can get so messy, but it’s because we’re we’re drawn, and I think everyone is unique. Every person on this planet is amazing because there’s no other, there’s nobody else like them. All of us are super unique. So that tension that comes in us is to me now becomes my motivation to continue seeking. You know, so it’s no longer something I sit and I try not to sit in the tension and focus on how the tension feels. As much as I’m trying to guide what the tension is telling me. And that just really helps. And that’s the same with my horses. It’s like they want a good deal and if they’re struggling with something, then what is that intention telling me, rather than getting getting connected to how that tension feels? Because as soon as I turn my frequency to that tension and I focus on that tension, I become tension. So I’m no longer a resolution, I’ve actually become part of the problem. So I’ve been led into that. So it makes me think of…. You may have heard me talk about this thing I call the law of intensity, and the idea is generally that you know, if you’re super happy and I’m a little bit grumpy, that if we talk for a while, if you’re more concentrated in your happiness than I am in my grumpiness and we keep talking pretty soon, I will not be able to retain my grumpiness. But if I’m grumpier than you’re happy, then then pretty soon you’re going to start losing your joy. So this idea starts to become kind of a permeating factor in this, of just getting to a place where we can, we can retain our own field and we can grow in that and as we gain that ability we can actually lose this sense that the world has to kind of control us. You know, and you become liberated, to be able to choose how you want to feel and act in that. You know it’s just, it becomes such a beautiful process when we can get to that place where we’re no longer living in the emotions or the feelings of all the things around us. But we can become liberated, and that’s really one of the centres for me is to get to a place where what’s going on in my horse is very big to them, and and I give that to them, I don’t mean it, but I recognize that me being calm in my own centre is the powerful unlock for them. But if I get caught up in what they’re doing, then now they’ve led me into that irregularity and lack of frequency. And I look at everything like frequency. So everything to me is like a vibration, and when a horse is in a certain state it can just make people….. People say I feel like I’m vibrating. You know because you are, you have given yourself to an energy and then you you’re taking it on. So I spend a lot of time in myself just trying to practice stillness, but then putting myself into the frequency of the feeling of a thought. So it’s like what do I want to do? What do I want to feel?

Josh: It’s like so, instead of just thinking about the thought, it’s like what is the feeling of that thought? So a lot of times, well thought, we’ll say the thought is barrel racing. I can’t wait to barrel race, but we don’t associate that every time we think of barrel racing, it makes us get nervous, it makes us get worried, it makes us feel judged. So we have lost a sense of connection to what our brains make real. So your brain makes real whatever you emotionalize. So if I emotionalize this thought of anxiety, excuse me, around a word and I put an emotion on it. Then every time I think of it my brain makes that reel. So then when I go there I’ve already my brain already knows how to access, it knows how to feel. It’s going to do that. So then focusing on the energy of thought means when I think of my horse, I don’t just think of them, I think of how I wanted to feel and and I’ll practice that. So practice focusing on the frequency of the feeling I want on that thought. Maybe that’s confusing. I hope not.

Michelle: So when I’m thinking of my horse, and I want to think, I’m thinking how I want the ride to feel or how I want him to feel or how I want to feel in the relationship or all of the above?

Josh: Yeah, I do two primary things. The first thing is I just think of them, I think of how I want the ride to be and I focus on how I want to feel, how I want that to feel for both of us. And the second thought is I focus on, I will watch them fall apart in my head, like totally come apart, and I want to get to a place where, even when that happens, I can still focus on the frequency and I can still be the resolution, because for most of us it’s like I can get ready and I can think of how I want my day to go and it’s like it’s going to go great and we can do all this positive self talk and then all of a sudden something comes up that’s not great and it’s like You know we’re done. Now we’re upset and it didn’t go the way I tried to manifest, and you know, and now I’m upset. So I do two things. I also want, I want, so to me. Leadership is not making stuff do things. Leadership is doing something within myself that draws others, whether it be my horse, whether it be someone else anything. So I want to be inside frequency, especially when something around me is falling apart. So it’s not necessarily about trying to fix them. There’s times when I’m not even trying to fix my horse. I’m just trying to not lose myself and just stay in a calm place. So sometimes that means you have to get off, sometimes it means stop running the pattern for a second and just you know, or whatever it is. But get to a place where you can be, bring yourself back to the frequency of what you wanted and then what happens. If you can do that just a little bit above what the horse is, the horse, will change like they will change and it becomes almost miraculous because they want the better deal. And that goes back to that statement: horses desiring a better deal and if you give it to them, they’ll seek you.

Michelle: Because they’re looking for their options and then, you look like a great option, or as if you’re falling down around them, you’re not really an option they want to hang with.

Josh: Totally, it’s the first responder effect. You know when things are going crazy and first report comes and they say – Over there you get me that you know everybody’s like they just fall in line because they want that leadership. So that’s kind of the idea that a horse, a lot of times a horse, is losing it and they’re the reason they’re losing it is because they’re looking for somebody to give them guidance and they don’t feel like they’re focusing on what they need. So I generally say: if you really want a horse to succeed, you have to meet their need and then they’re happy to do whatever you want. But if you try to take what you want before their needs are met, they will fight you the whole time on the thing you’re asking for, because they don’t care about what you want until their needs are met. So that’s kind of this beautiful balancing act of constantly trying to figure out what a horse needs. And that’s why in my work on the site we we try to diagnose the horses. You know some horses or space horses and some horses are pressure horses and some mind horses, and some are a combination. But by figuring out what kind of horse they are, then you can actually be doing work ahead of time to focus on taking care of that need and then the horse becomes calm and it’s fun. You know we’re in a clinic right now and it’s just neat. To you know, horses come in and they can be pretty bothered and then you know you kind of figure out what they need and you give it to them and it’s like they just start to dump and they let stuff go and whether it’s yawning or licking and chewing or they want to lay down, it’s funny, it’s crazy what can happen, but it because they’re just they, they’re desiring a good deal. It just comes back to that statement.

Michelle: Could you give us a couple of examples of a horse presenting an unmet need and then you fulfilling that?

Josh: Well, we’ll go through the needs. If you take pressure, pressure is a big deal. If a horse looks at something and they look at it in their nature and they’re going to see a thing and they’re going to think they need to run from it, because mostly horses believe that when they see or engage in a pressure, their nature says run first and think second. So if in that moment, if the horse hasn’t been taught anything different, then you’re going to try to just contain their body all the time. So you got this horse that’s kind of spooky, know they’re spooking and it’s like all the rock has to do is be turned half sideways, and now the rock they’ve seen a million times they’re scared of now, and so from that perspective, what we have to do is we have to, just as that would be the demonstration that the unmet need and the steps to help. That would be that first you have to teach a horse how to soften. So that means taking hold of a lead and being able to feel their tension and sense when their tension dissolves, and that becomes the definition of the lead line. So that’s you know, I don’t know if we have enough time to kind of get through all the discussions of that, but that’s like just the basic idea. Then the next step is: I then bring a pressure in and maybe I’ll use a flag or a cart, or maybe I’ll stand by that rock or something and apply pressure, and the horse tightens up. Intense. Now they’re showing their heart to pressure and then I’ll just gently connect with my line until they soften to the line and then I take the pressure away. So I’m now helping them understand how to control pressure, but by softening and interacting with me rather than by tensing and leaving. The problem with pressure is that most of the time we use their fear to get what we want. I put my legs on, they go forward and trot and they tighten and I let go because they trotted. So I wasn’t taking care of their need to understand how to control pressure in a relational way. I was using their fear based way, so I’m actually teaching a horse how to spook, if that makes sense. So it’s super important to be able to help answer that need by giving them another thoughtful response, but not by trying to desensitise or sack them out, because that’s often the thing we want. I don’t want my horses lacking sensitivity. I want them brilliantly sensitive because I have never ridden a bridle horse that lacks sensitivity. I just want them to not be fearful of pressure, as I want to show them how to control in a new way. Does it make sense?

Michelle: Yeah!

Josh: And space horses. Space horses are constantly needing to feel you and if a space horse is going to be a horse that know they’ll they’ll get nervous and they’ll run you over you now because because they’re very specially engaging. Generally, space horses can handle things because they can tolerate stuff. They will, they’ll engage and absorb space. But what a space horse is doing is the space horse is needing to feel you. So in a moment when you feel a space horse running up to you, this is their challenge. They’re like. I need to talk, but I’m really overstimulated and it meant I ran you over. You know it’s like. It’s like they’re caught in this crazy conundrum. You see it often where a horse he’ll run into somebody and then they almost feel bad about it, like they’re like gosh, sorry. So a space source has to be conversed with early and this is where we have to show up outside ourselves. The space horse has to feel you. So I will work on their hips and their shoulders and their nose, but not just by moving them, by trying to show up in the space and let them feel me, and the goal for the space horse is that you can get them to feel you at a greater distance. So it’s not that you’re trying to keep them back, because I think a lot of times what people will do is instead of showing up in their space, we’re actually feeling them push on us. So we’re yielding and then shaking our flag at them. So we’re actually still kind of submissive. But then we’re applying pressure. So it’s quite a contradiction to a horse. They don’t understand it. So once we can feel our space and show up, a space horse will totally chill-out they’ll come down so he’ll get less and less of that type of tendancy. And a mind horse needs to know who’s taking care of the world. So a mind horse would be a horse that generally can be heard bound. You know they want their buddies. They are always scanning the horizon, like watching, watching, watching, watching. You know when you’re looking for cows they’re goin to find them first. You know they are the ones that are always in the know and for a mind horse. I actually did a video on this one little paint horse that I worked up in the Yukon and was just so clear because she just was so desiring to be out of the pen. So what a mind horse needs to know is a mind horse needs to know that you are wise enough to see what they see. You are on the same page as them and you see it and you can talk to them about that thought and show them how you feel about it. So example horse looks away, I see what they see. I apply a little pressure and my pressure now has to release when their thought comes to me and feels how I feel, because that’s how the herd works. If you have a lead horse in the herd, who bit a bit crazy or a bit, you know, worried. That can make the whole herd worried, because then any time something comes up there going to look to that lead energy and the gong to start acting like it are acting like it, so that’s ready, a system that works, and I’m just trying to step into that. So from my mind perspective, I’m going to apply a little bit of pressure, and this plays on the pressure side too. That pressure can be dealt with by softening. Pressure can also be dealt with by connecting with me. It’s like when you get overwhelmed, find me, don’t run from me and then pretty soon. What happens is they start realizing that I am attentive to what’s going on in the world, because a lot of horses actually look at people compared to this. You know you’re watching a scary movie and a person walking down the street. You’re like, oh my goodness, don’t go down that street, don’t go down that street and then oh don’t go to that house, they turn, they’re walking into the driveway an they’re walking into that house and then please don’t open the door please, and then all of they’re walking up the stairs. We can’t believe they’re doing what they’re doing and I think horses kind of look at people like that. It’s like we’re just walking around and they’re seeing all this stuff and it’s real to them and we just look like we don’t have a clue. And then we have all these opinions about telling them to go in the house or to go do this. They just they can’t because we haven’t developed any street credit. So I really like the idea of street credit. It’s like you have to let them see that, you see it, you have to, and I’m not saying every little thing you got to stare at it. But I’m saying if it matters to them, it’s gotta to matter to you. So for a moment I’ll stop and, I’ll take it in and then I’ll draw their attention back to me. I’ll show them how I feel and then I’m off. I don’t linger on that. I don’t try to make them put their nose on it. I don’t I think that, especially if you’re know you’re going out, you’re doing a job. It’s like something worries them. Let them take it in, show them how you feel and then move on pretty soon they get to a place where they’re able to kind of just follow and track with you. So that’s kind of the mind side now. I unpacked that, hopefully not too quickly, but that’s kind of a general idea of being able to kind of interact with needs. And if there’s going to be times when you are able to use the work in the moment and get through it, and there’s going to be other times when your horse is going to tell you you haven’t done good enough work and now it’s a time just to be quiet and disengage, maybe try to get through it. You know, get your job done, but don’t push it, because that’s when people get bucked off or horses bolt or whatever, because now you’re trying to make something happen that you didn’t earn and you will always push the horse to a self preserving state. So if we can in that moment be calm, regulate ourselves and not over face the horse, we can start developing a better connection, meeting a need or going back to the drive board and recognizing what we didn’t have and not putting it on the horse just because I wanted to go down that trail where I wanted them to cross the creek and they didn’t want to. So anyway, that’s kind of where a lot of challenging learning lessons come from this on, we believe we should push through that, but that generally comes through more of an emotional horsemanship perspective, where I thought the horse was being disobedient or disrespectful.

Michelle: I feel like now, when I talk about how I’m trying to bridge the gap between all this, I feel like I’d go back and between old habits, knowing better then feeling kind of shameful about the approach I took. But being stuck somewhere but no necessarily having the tools refined yet.

Josh: Yeah!

Michelle: So it’s kind of in the well. I know better, but I have no idea how to do better.

Josh: I understand, so the way I look at it is that our brain is full of boxes and when you have a scenario that happens in your past, the brain to identify with that, because the brain’s security system is that they’re going to take an experience, thought and feeling, put that all together, so it knows how to deal with that in the future. Okay, so then what happens, every time, unless you can go back and rebuild that box in a calm, clear state, what happens when you go back into that experience in a nanosecond… The brain triggers that box and says here’s how we dealt with that in the past, So here’s how we’re on to feel right now. So it doesn’t even mean you made a mistake or you failed. All it means is that’s the way biology works, that’s the way the brain works. So then there’s is a bit of a process to having grace with ourselves, and when that comes up, even though it wasn’t how we want to be now, when a box comes up that shows us a past experience, what we need to do is just stop and pause and take a second and then try to reformulate the emotion over that experience. So how do we want it to feel? So here’s how it did feel last time. – I felt this way and I did this. So then I automatically go to that. The system is built that way from the primal purpose of just- just to give more clarity on that. If you walk past a tree and a cook jumped out at you or at your horse, then every time you saw a tree-like that, your brain would think death. So it doesn’t want to wait one second. It’s going to hijack, you’re thinking brain and it’s going to say death and you’re going to run and you’re not going to be like, oh man, I’m not.. I know there’s not a couger but I’m still terrified because the brain wants to keep you safe more than it wants to enjoy a tree. The thing with humans is we can create self-preservation by thought alone. We can do it by emotions, we can do it by all these ways. So our brain is more complex than a horse. So for us we can store all these boxes emotionally. You know mental thoughts and then we pour energy over it. As soon as you’ve taken a thought and an emotion and you pour energy over it, your brain identifies that as truth. So then, when these moments come up and were going down the trail, and then my horse sees a thing and then it frustrates me because of the way it happened, it’s because that’s a box. So then the beauty of it is is to have grace with yourself. And now that I’m like now, what happens to me – I’m like a man, I haven’t had that set up happen for a very long time and that’s what I have programmed. So then what I do is I’ll just pause and I’ll just try to almost lay over a new feeling over that experience with all my new information. So it’s like the box is now open for discussion. You know it’s like the boxes on the table and the feelings are out and it’s like, oh I see you, but now, with all my new understanding, man, I can put a new emotion over that. So it’s not fail. When that comes up, it’s just biology and that, to me, is the beautiful part. So it’s like, yeah, it’s just that’s just what my brain had stored and I want to change that. So then sweet, let’s do it. How do I want that to feel? The biggest challenge is is when people say how do I want it to feel. Your brain says, oh no, no, no, I know how it feels. You can try to change that, but I know it and you just have to kind of get with yourself and sit with yourself and recognize that your brain is still doing that because it meant something to you. When it happened like it really hits you hard. So the more the more it affects us, the deeper rooted the belief goes. So it takes little bit more time and that’s okay. But every time you sit with it it’s more about focusing on how you want that experience to feel and that again…. So I generally try to do this very proactively. Stillness and meditation is a big deal to me. The word kind of scrambles people sometimes, but it’s just the idea of trying to get quiet in your head and most of the time many of us are are not at all aware of what’s going on inside ourselves. So our brains just run rapid. I compare it to a wasps nest with a rock thrown through it. That’s kind of how our thoughts feel, but by the time when we can get quiet, only when you can quiet your mind is the time when you can refresh a box, because then your brains, like when you get quiet, it’s like you’re not running the system any more, you’re not running the program, and then that’s when change can come. So I hope that makes sense. But that’s what it brings to me. When you’re talking about like feeling like you’re failing, it’s like you’re not failing at all. All you did was brought up a box because that experience was somehow unique, that it was its own experience and your brain categorized it as its own box that you just hadn’t come up against in your new mind.

Michelle: But we need that pause between.

Josh: Exactly.

Michelle: See the box change what it means, an interesting experience of, I guess you would call it my aid. So I had my stick and I’m trying to use energy, and what I recognized was that my brain had meaning attached to that stick. That was different than what I was supposed to be using it for.

Josh: Right.

Michelle: And I actually had to put it down and just use my hand with intention and energy. Going to the end of my hand, because it was my intention, stopped at the end of my stick and I had kind of realized that it was, like you know, my previous way of using an aid like that would have been to chase a horse, not to draw a horse. It was really messing me up, which I was able to recognize, and I found it was kind of interesting, and it just made me think of that again when you were saying like what our mid, how it desides things are the way it is. I just need to also then set my intention to change what that means.

Josh: Good exactly. Far too often we spend too much time focusing on what we’re trying to get the horse to do rather than the intention. Almost invision just like pouring my feelings into that stick and then as I get bigger, which generally people struggle with pressure. And that’s you know, a lot of times people are surprised that you know I will use pressure because this whole relational concept makes people feel like it’s you know it’s maybe fluffy and and there is a side that’s very much based on connection and stillness. But using pressure is a way to amplify frequency of feelings. So I put the feel in like maybe my field is to draw. So I’m using my pressure to kind of be like you know, come to me, so to speak. My pressure might be move or it might be good. I have a YouTube video on the four intentions. You know different intentions that you can use, but the key is just to fill that aid with your intention. And what you’re trying to do is increase the horse’s ability to feel you, not just to make them move, because as soon as you focus on the horse we lose connection to the energy we’re putting into the space and then it becomes about the pressure the horse feels and not about the feeling they’re getting from you. So then it turns into an interpretive pressure again, like the horse has to interpret what the heck your pressure means. They’re not really feeling of you any more. And the highest form of pressure or the highest form of connection, excuse me, is when a horse can feel you. and we all have had moments, when it’s like I felt like I just started to think about doing a thing and the horse was right there under me and some of the best experiences we’ve ever had are those. So for me, in relational horsemanship and I want to be, I want to set that as my tone like, I want to set that type of conversation as the primary form of I’m trying to speak.

Michelle: Okay, so I have kind of a question. That is my own personal question and I also wanted to send some of your quotes back to you, and it’s kind of around what we’re talking about. Okay, I’m going to ask my question. This is something that I struggle with personally: having a horse feel my energy, being big enough, but not having anger attached to it, to be big.

Josh: Such a good one

Michelle: And to be able to hold that too, like I feel like I can only…. so say my horse is distracted and I’m trying to be big enough he can feel me, but then I move into, Ok…feel me….I am this big! So I’m struggling with being big without anger.

Josh: So good, such a common thing and a big deal right, and a lot of times we’re trying to. It’s easy when we don’t care if we’re getting angry. Sure you can use all the pressure you want as we’re trying to build better relationships. It’s like man. You feel like you get pretty confined. Now it’s like I’ve all these restrictions because I can only use a certain amount of pressure. So what I find happens for people that we’ve actually attached…… So do you think about pressure scale from zero to ten. We can use 1, 2 and three, but in our life, in our way we would only use four, fives and sixes if we were upset. So we’ve developed this connection to certain elements of pressure and the only time we use them are when we’re emotional. So what happens is the energy, the pressure and the emotion get all tied together. So now, if we’re going to use that pressure, it is associated to an emotion. So the box that our brain has developed is the only way we can use that energy and that pressure is were mad. And as soon as we’re pissed, ah we can use all of that and more. But then we feel bad about it because then we generally burn a bridge. We say too much, we do too much, we get after our horses, we don’t release when they actually changed because we’re upset. So the idea is, the first thing we have to do is we have to actually, in our brains, unpack those elements. You have to take pressure away from emotion and you have to take energy out of the emotional pressure association. So using pressure is its own thing. So right now I am elevating my energy on purpose. It sounds extreme, but I’m raising my frequency outside of normal conversation because I could just put more energy into my words. I could just do that because I chose to. But it has nothing to do with emotion, it has nothing to do so. I generally say that people are the clearest in the very states, very happy, very mad, very sad. They’re the clearest and the cleanest because they’re not caught in a box. This is the box showing itself. So the fun of this, and I actually try to encourage people to have fun with this. Try, if you can just say this yourself, okay, I liberate my energy from my emotions. I choose to use energy outside of an emotional state and start having fun of it, like start playing with elevating pressures on purpose just to get your horse to move and do it with. Like you know, like engage it, try it and play around it, because if it’s not attached to the emotion, the reason we struggle with it as we get to that spot where we’re like 123 and we’re clean. But we know in our brains as soon as we bridge four we’re going to be mad. So then if we’re not mad, we can’t use four because the brain has built that box. But as soon as you’re mad oh four can come, but then we wrestle with trying to be relational, it’s this like wrestling match in our head. So the key is: pull those things apart, pull emotion, be able to have your emotions. Emotions are good, feel them bein the sort them out. You bet energy is also good, but they don’t have to exist together and part of that problem comes in life when we’re like we’re supposed to play the part. We’re supposed to act a certain way, we’re supposed to be a certain thing and even if we get upset, no, don’t show that you know how you’re sposed to be. And then when do we actually get honest? When we don’t care anymore, we’re just done. I’m going to lose my junk. So then, with a horse it pushes on that box, because there’s times with horses where you need to use more. Unless you live in a box and you never leave your pasture, you’re going to experience a situation when you’re going to have to use some more and then that’s really where it challenges this box. So I think it’s beautiful. I think it’s awesome and I try to do it in as many ways as possible, areas where I might get frustrated. Having a conversation with my wife, then to turn that to pulling that emotion away and just being like okay can clarify, can be clear without being upset. Can I just ….. so I love the challenge now it’s actually become kind of a fun thing where if I screw it up, whatever try again and if I get it right, I’m getting there. But and my horse is asking of me all the time, because there’s always moments where a horse will push on my need to pass three to four. You know where I need to be a little bigger. What it also shows is it shows a horse my competency to be inside of that kind of thing with class, so they recognize I can handle it. And that’s another form of leadership. So I see challenging conversations, you know times with my wife when we’re working things out or with a horse, as a great opportunity for me to elevate my own ability to pull my energy away from my emotion and just show up with such clarity, recognizing, and that’s another affirmation, what’s going on for my horse is my horse’s deal. What’s going on for me is mine. What’s going on for my wife is her deal. What’s going on for me is mine. So I don’t have to take whatever she has in her moment. It’s not personally a reflection of me, you see, and that’s a real challenge, but it’s a beautiful release when I can just say I get to choose how I feel totally liberated, to feel how I feel, and then, by pulling those things apart, I play with the intensity of my energy just to work on clarifying myself, not attaching to emotion. Does that make sense?

Michelle: I feel like this is good parenting advice too.

Josh: Totally

Michelle: For all relationships really.

Josh: It’s about showing up clearly.

Michelle: Yeah, yeah, I’m feeling like there has to be an aspect of like self trust within this too, self trust and safety, like where your nervous system was kind of operating at right? And then trust yourself that I’m not going to (a 6)…..or I guess if there’s no emotion attached, it probably wouldn’t be a fear or worry, would it if your going to a four.

Josh: It’s so good exactly, that’s the liberation of it. As soon as you start removing, because when the emotion, excuse me, when the energy starts to attach the emotion, it starts cooking up emotions, so cooking up all these processes. But as soon as you can get to a place where, as soon as you start feeling the emotion, you can pause and you can start saying: look, I’ve attached all that energy to that emotional state and our going to start pulling it apart, and the more we practice that, it just becomes awsome. Because you’re right, then we start going through all of these layers of all these emotions that we’ve done that with and honestly, I get excited about it because it’s changed my life like a different person, because of these philosophies, and it’s funny right sometimes people think you’re like, you’re sharing all these things because you, you’ve never screwed up and you know you got all the answers. I have all I have these thoughts because that’s been my journey of failing so many times and having to start it out because I can’t settle with, you know, being stuck in my own mud. But anyways, yeah, it’s like that’s what ends up happening and we become liberated and you’ve talked about that with the horses. The horses desire a good deal, so do we. That’s what keeps driving us, that’s what that’s and I say that to everybody: that little niggle in your heart, that little niggle in your soul. That’s like something’s not right and it needs to be better. It could be better. It pulls us, it pulls us. I just think, everybody to trust that and just let that be your guide. And that doesn’t mean you’re screwing up or the world is horrible. It just means it just means there’s a light that’s pulling you to just make one decision at a time, to keep starting to be in a more relational way with yourself and with those you’re around. It’s like it’s kind of a big deal, because a lot of times when we have these conversations, and I recognized this, you have podcasts or webinars and you share this stuff and it can be overwhelming to people. You know all these things we’re talking about, it can be pretty overwhelming and it can make them feel. Oh my goodness, I don’t have anything sort, but that is not true at all. It’s just we’re just trying to give answers to that desire and just love yourself and pick one little thing at a time, because that’s all I’m doing it’s what you’re doing. You know we might be a little little way down the road in comparison to somebody else, but it’s still the same path. It’s just a philosophy to life and I just wanted to throw that in in the midst of this, because it’s like kind of matters. I don’t want anybody to feel like they’re so far behind because just a process you know, working things through.

Michelle: Take one, take that first step or the next. The one after that. if you feel the niggle Start.

Josh: There it is.

Michelle: So I had a few quotes that I’ve pulled out from the various Youtube videos or the membership or other podcasts and have listened to that you were on. I have, like a book, but I only pulled like a few of them here and then. Yeah, okay, so I think we kind of maybe or are already in this direction. So the one I have here is having a boundary, should not be an emotion, and if it does, you’re going to struggle.

Josh: That’s good. Yeah, generally an emotion. If it becomes an emotion it means that we have a past negative experience box around it. So that means that’s a work for us to do versus a boundary generally a boundary when we think of boundaries. If we just took it to our horsemanship, you know a lot of people would associate a boundary to don’t let that horse disrespect, you don’t let that person disrespect you. So you got to build a boundary to protect yourself. But now you’re just building more walls. So a boundary shouldn’t associate, then to an emotional interpretation of negativity, a boundary should be a way of you allowing others to know you. Like allowing a horse to feel you, and you’re just giving clarity on who you are and where you stand. But it doesn’t have to be an emotion because if it’s an emotion you’re actually in a protective state. So that’s not a boundary. Then that’s emotional guarding. So you’re defensive and you’re in a self preserving state. So then you will actually push things away from you, and a lot of times that comes by our interpretation we interpret that the horse is trying to be disrespectful yo me. It’s like a soul thing, like the horses disrespecting who I am. So I feel very defensive about that. So I’m going to build a boundary. You see this is this is an immense amount of emotional mud. You know, like we’re we’re throwing so many things on top of things and feel justified. But how many times have we done that? And when we’re finished building that boundary we feel a bit dirty. We feel a little bit bad because we did a little more than we should have and think we did. It just doesn’t feel right and there’s that niggle again. That niggle becomes a guide to me. So if I’ve finished something and I’ve done it in a certain way where it’s like I didn’t feel that I felt I didn’t feel right, and sometimes we’ll feel that in some of the training practices we have. It’s like we’ve been told to do this thing, but it leaves us feeling negative inside. You know, listen to that. It doesn’t matter who told us that. You know doesn’t matter how many times we’ve heard it or how common it is. If it makes you feel negative inside, seek out why, try to figure that out. Some of it is going to be our own personal stuff that we’re imposing on that, and some of it’s going to be that we have built an interpretation around the word like this. Boundaries don’t need to necessarily be an emotion, because what you’re doing with a boundary is you’re letting the horse feel your own self-awareness so I’m just letting the horse feel my energy and I’m letting them feel the intensity of my conviction, that thought, my belief about myself or whatever. But that’s just empowerments. You see, so those boundaries just allow anything to know me, not about pushing people away, it’s just about being able to connect, because that when there’s the most clarity, you know the most clarity comes when I clearly understand your boundaries and you clearly understand mine. And now we can interact, because there’s it’s like having a contract. You know you can understand each other better.

Michelle: Yeah. I think I’m going to have to transcribe this, though, This conversation because I’m going to have so many new quotables. I could probably be your social media person. If you need some quotes I’ll just send them to you.

Josh: Perfect

Michelle: Because I just hear quotes.

Josh: Yeah, good, well, I’m glad, I’m glad you’re enjoying it.

Michelle: Got another one for you. How you respond to resistance promotes resistance or creates change.

Josh: Awesome, that comes down to how you’re feeling about it. When you feel a resistance, you know we say resistance would be either something that comes against us against the thing we wanted, or a feeling that comes up in a creature when we ask a question. So either the horse, you know, we ask the horse to do a thing and they don’t do it. They brace against us, you know. And when we feel that brace it’s easy for us to be like I told you to do it. You need to do what I say, and how many emotions can that bring up? I don’t want to look silly. I want my horse to do the thing everybody’s watching, you know, versus being able to recognize that that’s it’s it’s how the horse feels in that moment. It’s where they’re at. Sometimes that’s us. It’s simple, it’s simple and you can just chill-out for a second and that’s where the pause right like the pause, the gap between the way you can increase gap between stimulus and either reaction or response. Right. If there’s no gap, it’s going to be reaction and you’re on to react the way your old box told you to, which is generally going to be an associate emotion with your pressure. But if you can pause, you can start living a whole new life because you then what happens is your brains like? Oh why are we pausing? Do we have something else here to do? You know what? What else? You got because the brain doesn’t really care. The brain’s just recorder. You know your existence is based on the way you’ve programmed by experience and character and you want to change that brains, happy to do it. It’s just a matter of pausing long enough to put a new feeling over that experience. So yeah, it’s like when the horse, when we bump up against resistance. How you interact with it is a really big deal because if you’re still …… have you seen my work on the three levels: first level, second, third level, talking about first level being when we’re stuck in our own emotions, we’re judgmental and guarded and defensive.

Michelle: I don’t think I’ve started that yet.

Josh: On the second level is where we’re at a place of stillness. We’re not really we’re not really in……Oh It would be react, reflect respond. Maybe these changed the titles, but I’m still using this. So first level is when we’re stuck in our junk. Second level, where we’re kind of able to get out of it, but we don’t have good skills yet. And third level, when we’re in our third level state, it’s like I’ve got. I’ve got good stuff going on. I can think through things. I’ve got positive affirmation is a new way of looking at life. When resistance comes up, there is a frequency of the horses need inside of that. But if all you see is what you’re not getting, your unmet need will show up in that moment. My need for affirmation, my need to look good, my need to win, my need for this and we’ll miss out on the horses need. So when resistance comes up, how we handle that, it shows a lot about where we’re at. Are we in our first level state? Are we stuck in our own junk? Are we able to get quiet? And then even more proactively? And second, second level’s way better than first, because you’re just not engaging the negativity of it. Third level is, even the best, when you are able to just like I recognize you got something going on here. How could I meet that need? And pretty soon, when your horse and starts to anticipate that you’re going to do what you can to take care of that, it doesn’t even take long. My daughter is in high school radio this year and she’s got this wonderful little palomino mare that she’s breakway, roping on and the way super super easy. I’ve never, I’ve never. I haven’t seen a horse like this to this degree. When she walks her into the box and there’s everything going on and she starts to get a little bit up, her need is to feel Taylor’s energy. So all she has to just put her hand on her neck. I’ve never seen it so obvious, like she puts her hand on that mares neck and she just stops and she puts her eyes on the star. And that’s the end of it. But if Taylor tries to pick up the rein and tries to school on her and hold her attention and get bound up, she starts to cook and then she puts here hand on her neck and it’s done. . So it’s like: how can we find that need for each horse and when their tension starts to come up or when you feel the resistance, if you can stop for a second, feel the frequency. They are trying to tell you what the need is. But most of the time we only see it through our lense, of what we’re not getting. So more, it’s like I’m just a little bit irritated that I have to deal with your need when I want to get what I want out of this. And that’s generally why the horses keep getting offensive, because they never feel like we actually really care. We’re just getting what we want. But what I found is: if you meet that need, shoot, they’ll do anything for you, they’ll do anything. It’s just a matter of figuring out what it is to me that I’ve turned that now into fun instead of like, oh my goodness, I’m not getting it. It’s like just keep playing. Screwed it up again, sure, human, then you know what it isn’t.

Michelle: Follow the clues and keep following.

Josh: Exactly exactly, and they will tell you when you get. That’s the beauty, because they will change, their energy will shift and they will start to feel calm. And that’s the beauty of it is that nobody woke up, nobody snuck out there and told your horse to. You know when I do this thing, relax, you know they don’t get that. So when you need it, they’ll tell you. When they don’t they’ll tell you as well.

Michelle: I’ve got another. This one hits me in the fields. I want to be what I want the horse to feel.

Josh: Yeah. Another way I say that is the best a horse can feel, is what is within you. So if I have this anxiety and fear and worry and worried about whateverone thinks, and you know I I run from what I’m scared of and when I get into vulnerable situations I wall up. But yet I want my horse to bravely go into the arena and I want them to. You know, do all of these things that are scary to them, but I’m but I’m not doing them. You know you’re giving off, you’re giving. See, we don’t recognize that we give off a frequency. There’s energetic frequencies that are given off our body in those states. This is science now. It’s like this is, this is tested . So when you’re in these different states you’re giving off vibes and your horse feels it. So now we become kind of hypocritical. When we’re you know we’re not even working on ourselves. We’re scared of stuff and getting guarded and defensive and shutting things down and getting angry and whatever we’re doing, and but yet we expect our horse to let that go. So this, if we’re not careful, can push people into a spot where they’re like, oh my goodness, I’m screwing everything up and I just want to soften that, because that’s not true, it’s not true, it’s just a matter of again, It’s that thin deal at the beginning, and do not downgrade yourself, because you always were doing the best, you knew how, you were always doing the best, you knew how, and that is not different in listening to this or trying to absorb new information, so then you just start, and that’s the thing. So my goal then, and this is why I so believe in what you’re doing, is, is for us to be giving the world more access and avenues to being able to grow in ourselves. How it happens as you start giving off a new energy to the things you’re around. So, as a by product, you do the work, you become a different parent, you become a different spouse, you become a different friend, you become a different horse. So now, in just doing the work, you’re giving off different frequencies, you’re changing how you handle the fears in your life. You’re being brave in areas where you would normally try to run away, and sometimes that’s emotionally. I don’t talk to that person. That’s on a hard conversation. You know what ……I want my horse to face some of the things that are hard to them. I’m going to deal with that stuff for myself. I’m going to try to have that conversation and generally what happens is we already blew all those things up in our heads to be weigh bigger than it was anyways, 90% of the time, the things that are going on in our heads weren’t even real to the world, you know. But it’s just a matter of getting, getting brave to do it. And what that does that starts to change our path, because now we start to live a different life and you know, you know everybody’s motivated by different things. Some people are motivated by religion, some people spirituality. There’s something about horse people. It’s amazing the changes horse people will make when it affects their horses, and I’ve seen I just see it over and over when they realize that that is impacting their horse. And now they’re okay. What I got to do, what I got to do, it’s like come to Jesus moment, you know, and and that’s that’s kind of it it’s like so. Then you know the best the horse can do is what’s going on within you is a testament to the horse’s ability to feel your frequency. And if you’re living in those states they feel that that’s a self preserving mechanism for them. They don’t want to hang around an energy that’s fearful all the time or scared because that doesn’t give them a place of peace, it might keep them alive, but it sure is a negative state in their life. If I’m always in an emotion that makes me unpredictable, sometimes I’m losing my junk and other times I’m okay. Well, that’s pretty anxious for them. Yeah, that’s it’s kind of the idea with that one. I like that one.

Michelle: This, this one, I feel, is super important for us performance horse people that are using our horses. They aren’t really athletically available until they feel safe.

Josh: That’s a good one. Well, that’s awesome and I think this is one of the heartbeats of relational horsemanship, because you know most of the time I’m I’m desiring my horses to show up physically so they can do the job. But the way horses have been made is that when a horse gets worried, the horse get unsure their needs aren’t met….. They tighten their back, their top-line tightens, so we see it as their head comes up and their back tightens. But the way the horse’s body is made is that they don’t have color bones. They don’t have these colar bones. They have scapula, big scapulas that attach their front legs and their spine is a floating channel held by muscles and ligaments between those scapula. So when the muscles of the top-line the big backstraps, the big muscles in the neck, they all fire, it drives that spine way down onto their front-end so now all the weights on their front-end and it doesn’t take long to be a performance or person to realize that we want our horses to light in their front and engage the hind quarters. That’s just the thing. But if every single time, and this is what it comes down to, then is if, if I pick up my reins and I pick up a question and my horse gets anxious about what’s coming, every time I pick up my reins, they’re going on their front-end because it’s a state of mind, it has nothing to do with what they’re what you’re asking them physically, because their mind will always take control of their body. If they feel self-preservation – it’s no different than you and I. How quickly can our brains shut off when we get into a place of fear? – like that’s biology? Instantly you don’t even remember what happened, because the biology says we don’t need the brain right now. All we need to do is run and then, once we’re done running, we’ll start thinking again. So this is why I spend a lot of time in my training talking about defining the aids. The definition of the aids have to first speak to feeling the horse’s mind, and that comes by the tension you feel and the softening you feel, not by where they physically go. So that’s kind of a thing in itself, like that’s a big conversation. But when a horse gets to a place where they are feeling safe, they are softening in ways where they’re releasing their tension. The top-line muscles are released. So I call the top-line the defensive muscles, the defensive muscles are released, so the horse no longer needs to protect themselves. And then the muscles in the underline, the longus colli. There’s these little muscles underneath the spine, the core muscles. They start to fire. So when the long muscles relax, the sacrum can start coming under and the hind legs can reach. But if the long muscles are tight it actually pulls the sacrum forward. So you get these short little steps behind and we’re trying to drive those hind legs under. But if the horse is in a state of self-preservation they are never stepping underneath themselves. So now there’s this contradictory element. Every time I ask them questions puts them into a state of tension which kicks them into an unathletic posture. And we’re wrestling with posture and we’re trying to get them thinking about using their body right. It’s impossible. You can wrestle all you want. What comes of that is lameness, because the body, if you just envision that sacrum, getting pulled forward. Now the hind legs are kicking back, everything in the body is trying to get back and you’re trying to get those legs under. You put so much tension on the ligaments and tendons and muscles in the body because you’re forcing the body into a position that it’s trying to stay away from. So lameness, soreness, injuries like it’s ridiculous. But if you turn that back off, the back muscles turn off just based on met needs and then we spend …so once you’ve met the needs. This is the beautiful thing where I call it relational. The body shows up when it feels safe. That’s relational. That’s just relationship. When I feel safe, I present myself. If I don’t feel safe, I will protect myself. So it’s really cool. I just love this, that the horse’s body works athletically only in relationship. The way the body was magically made is built around a relational perspective: that when they feel safe, their top-line turns off, which allows them to activate their core, engage their hind legs, elevate their spine only when they feel safe and the needs are, and then the next step is to understand how to get a horse to use their body right. But that can never happen when in a state of tension, so then this starts to get us into a conversation of equipment like how our aids supporting what we’re doing. Are they putting a horse into a state of tension? Or are they helping the top-line stay off? That’s a whole other conversation, but it does kind of blend off of this. I’m sure you and I could have many conversations because there’s a lot to discuss, but that’s kind of the idea and I just love that because I believe that the creation of the horse, like the actual way they were made it, honors relationship, because only when they feel safe and their needs are met does their body open up to being able to be used right, and that’s like spiritual. That’s yeah, that’s it’s so cool.

Michelle: It’s the ultimate right? the whole package.

Josh: Just honors the idea, the principal based idea of relationship on the globe and how things were created, yeah, pretty neat.

Michelle: I feel like there it might be important to tie in the pressure aspect of a horse being able to use themselves with us there, without feeling pressure the second we touch the rein. Could you touch on that? I don’t think it was a question but….

Josh: I know exactly what they’re going.

Josh: So I talk about the difference, kind of a couple of things to discuss. Further. Talk about the difference between lightness and softness. Softness is how a horse feels internally. Lightness is how quickly they respond. We need both the need to respond snappy, quick when we ask, but we also need them to be soft. Soft is how they feel, soft is what’s going on in the muscles. Their body doesn’t become available if they’re not soft but they don’t perform worth squat if they’re not light. You know they got to get moving and they got to go. They got to do the thing. The problem is, people look for lightness without softness. We want quickness and speed, but we don’t focus on softness. So now the horse’s body goes into an inverted state. They’re upside-down we want them off, but they’re in that state. So to find softness. This is what our hands are focused on. So for me I do not generally steer with my hands. Ten percent of the time. 90% of the time my hands are doing is feeling my horses and I steer with my seat and legs and like that’s that’s like a general focus to good horsemanship or excuse me my horsemanship style, so that’s kind of how I look at that. So now in my hands, when I pick up my rein, I want to feel….. so a horse’s thought. When a horse has thought it forms in their muscle fibers. That way we can feel it when a horse gets scared, the muscle fibers and they show that tension in their body, so you can feel their thoughts through their muscles. So the idea of connecting to the soft, feel, feeling the horse allows you to feel their thoughts through their muscles. So if I connect to the tension and I stay relaxed and I use the law of intensity in that moment and the horse’s muscles let go and I release, now they start understanding that actually letting go of that is an answer that works in this relationship and I’m paying attention to it because most of the time the horses have zero expectation that a person cares how they feel because most of the time people don’t – just do what I say. We don’t associate to the fact that they care about those things. Horses think that would be okay. So then we get to a place where, if you’ve looked at my body not being work, where I do this whole exercise based on connecting to all the different parts of a horse’s body so they don’t store tension anywhere. So you and I, you know when you stress, you probably pack your tention somewhere I pack it in my jaw, on my hip, places in my injuries. Horses will pack it somewhere in their body, and so we have to work our way through the horse’s body, trying to soften, and I do that in a whole progressive way to get them to let all that attention. Secondly, that’s when we start applying the pressure in the groundwork. I might play with my flag, you might play with at tarp, I might play with a pink coat, whatever it doesn’t matter. But you use a bit of pressure and the works tightens because they think pressure means tighten and move, and I play around there just until I feel the tension and then, when they soften, I take the pressure away. Soon that’s my leg aid and that’s the way that transition to riding. Pretty soon I pick up my rein and I bump my leg or I use my leg. I move the hip of the shoulders as the leg yield. Whatever I’m doing go forward, but I’ll keep my leg a little bit more active until they soften to my hand. But they have to have some knowledge of that before your going to get on and have that expectation. So that’s where I do the groundwork. I want to get them really clear and I’m going to use the headstall I use in the riding. Excuse me, first of all, I’ll use my halter. I’ll ask them to soften. Then apply with my pressure. Then I’ll go to the bridle. Then I’ll actually use my stirrup, you know, bump the stirrup until they soften. Then I’ll put some one on and get them to use……you can break down in a million ways, but you got you got to build a base if we want to expect them to do that there pretty soon. All of my movement work. So all of the way I build my movements, I connect with my hands, I use my seat and my legs to direct motion, but I’ll keep my leg. I’ll activate my legs until I feel them soften my hands. So my pressures now the horse controls my pressure by softening internally rather than just being light. So then I’m pushing the boundaries on that all the time. I’m going to up it. I’m going up it. I’m going to up it. How far can I go before I hit my horse’s threshold and then im going to play around just underneath threshold so I can keep up in that every day because I want to be chasing lightness without losing softness. So that’s the goal for every horse. That’s the goal right. They’re not going to be performance horse if all you’re doing is asking them to soften to little pressures but not pushing your limits. You’re not going to do anything. And people, like a lot of people, get caught in that because they prefer the feeling of softness. So the world gets smaller because they’re trying to control staying soft an they never push themselves. So you know anybody that I mentor that’s in different performance elements. It’s always a matter of yes, for a time you can back out, you can back away just to get a base on what the heck this is all about. But very quickly I’m pushing back, pushing you back, pushing you back because it’s not about failing, it’s just about starting to build boxes. You and I talked about that. Can you go into that arena and just start to renegotiate the boxes? So at the beginning it’s not even about winning or losing or anything, it’s just about showing up and building new boxes around that concept where your old boxes would have drawn you back to your old mind. And so for your horse, so you can get a horse to understand how to really soften in the arena. But if you don’t use that philosophy out on the trail or working a cow, they’re on to go back to their old box. So you got a really great arena horse, but they can’t perform outside because it was an exercise, not a philosophy.

Michelle: I can see, the perfectionists in the crowd wanting to just like, do it really good and stay there and not take these chances that it might loosen up a little bit. Then we’ve got to put it back together again. Let’s just stay safe.

Josh: Feels good, feels good because everything’s ok. You’re not getting pushed. You know you probably experience this as well. I know I do. In my world. People want to elevate me, they want to, they want to think I have everything figured out and that I never screw up and you know it’s shoot, I screw up all the time. I don’t never put, don’t I’m sure there was a time when I thought I wanted to put that hat on, but that was a long time ago. I just love walking in where I’m at. I don’t have that figured out yet. I’m working at it, you know, but I’m going to use my philosophy to attack that realm, whether it’s changing how I’m roping or, if it’s you know, my daughter’s barrel racing now. She’s competing in the barrels. I’m playin with barrel racing now. It’s fun. I’ve helped people work on barrel racing horses and I’ve never really put a lot of time. Well, I’m having fun with it now. Just playin around. Am I good? No, good because I don’t have the muscle memory for it. Do I know what I want the horses to shape their body in? Yep, have helped some people with some of that shape…. because I don’t focus on the discipline of it. I focus on how the horses move. So I’m always I’m always pulling myself out of the thing to watch how the horses use themselves and then try to infuse a little bit anyway. Great, put myself back at the beginning right, and then that’s another thing to keep growing your brain. The more often you put yourself back at the beginning of something, the more you expand your brain power and the longevity of your your brain to stay alert and alive. So we need to do that.

Michelle: The true growth, growth mindset.

Josh: You betcha

Michelle: Keep challenging yourself with that. Okay, so here’s here’s one for the barrel racers. So this was you were talking about bend, and then the statement was when the horse’s head moves past the shoulder, there’s tension going to show up elsewhere. Right. Is that right?

Josh: Yeah, it’s pretty close. Yeah, well, so the body always needs to find equilibrium. We understand this. If you start to fall left, you’re going to pitch something right. Whether you’re going to lean your head, your going to throw your arms going, try to catch yourself, your body doesn’t want to fall down. So if you feel like you’re falling, when you’re going to try to huck yourself back the other way, you don’t even think about that. It’s just physiology. So there’s all these autonomic systems running, and so part of understanding horses is to really get a grasp on how does the horses physiology work? And in my training style honouring that physiology. And if it’s not, you need dominance and submission. So the horse is like I want to fall down, but then you say don’t resist and then we try to get a bigger bit or, you know, fight them on it when they’re just trying to tell you they were to balance. So my training style is very much so about balance and actually allowing the horse to show me their adaptations and all their things. Because I need to know that if I’m going to help them become self into self carriage, so self carriage for me is like the high point where I’m training my horses to always be activating their own balance and then you put intensity to that. So when you ask them to do something challenging, they can think about that challenging thing and they’re hunting how to stay under themselves versus I’m trying to place the position. So if you fight balance, then the horse will always fight you because I dont want to fall down ever since makes sense? Okay. So then if you just take the physiology, that and you take a horse standing, if you start to bend their head to a point of the shoulder, they don’t really have to adapt anything. But Einstein said for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. So if you take the head too far, something on the side has to tighten up. They just down to fall down, so they’ll tighten, tighten somewhere and generally that will happen in the hips and you don’t even see it. They just stiffen behind you. So then the only reason for me to bend the horse’s head and neck as to momentarily get them to chill. But the bending of the head and neck actually can disconnect the pole joint from the sacrum. So horse actually now will follow their shoulder more often because we move by the neck. So the bending of the neck, and this is kind of can sometimes be a controversial point because it’s so common. But the bending of the horse’s head and neck takes away their physiology and their ability to take care of their own world. So it causes them to submit. Now they’ll do what you want, so we can do that with colts like that’s a very common practice. With the colt is like just to hang in there until they, until they stop, because now they are no, they’ve given up taking care of their own world. So now they’ll let you do things. And and if you look through the history of north american horsemanship, you know horses were primarily used in farms and then in ranches. So ranchers were you know, we just want these horses to get on the pay roll. So much of western culture was just about getting horses into payroll. It’s the reason why it’s so…. we call it western. You know, like the western culture is pretty western. You know we’re get her down and gritty and because we kind of come from that, that lineage of ranch life style and a lot of it was just about getting getting the cows moved, and horses were an avenue to get that done. So is it wrong to bend a horse and get them to chill? I don’t think so. I think it’s really overdone and the more you do it, the more you make compensations behind, so they have to tighten up. So in a moment, if a horse needs to chill, I might do that, but then I’m going to bring them right back to trying to be as straight and balanced as possible. So it’s really I look at all things as pros and cons. There’s not one exercise that I do that’s all-pro everything I can do has a con as well. Now the way people disagree about stuff is, let’s say, you wanted to bend a horse and you would say: but Josh, it gets my horse to calm down and you would focus on your pro, but you would only look at my con. So you’re correct as well. So this other thing I want to do, you’re right in the con, but I would only look at your con and I would look at my pro. So this is where it’s a circular argument, because everybody’s actually correct. We’re just not talking about the same stuff. So the best conversations are this. It’s like okay. Here’s the thing I’m doing, here’s my pro and here’s my con. So here is when I do this. But here is where I got to be careful and then you’re saying, oh yeah, I like to bend the horse because that actually gets a calmness. But boy, I got to be careful. You’re right, Josh that makes a lot of sense. I got to start being careful that I’m not overbending, because now I’m overdoing the bend point at the neck and I’m creating tension in the hind quarters. So now I’m not helping my horse stay through to their hindquarters. So this is why horses, you know they’ll take their heads and they’ll drop their shoulders. They’re running out their shoulders now or they’re stiffening behind. So anyway, I love conversations. I feel like really healthy conversations or when you can share with me your thing, you’re doing and we will always share our pro. Because why would we even do it if we didn’t like the pro? Whether it’s bitting, whether it’s saddles or whether it’s roping techniques? Everything has a pro and a con and so that becomes just a really healthy conversation. So then you recognize, yeah, there is a good thing to the thing I’ve been doing, but I didn’t realize it hadn’t that negative. And now I understand why that negative was impacting why my horse was tightening behind, dropping their heads, dropping their shoulders and throwing their head in the air because I wasn’t helping them stay through. So when I say through I mean that when I touch in and it impacts the pole of a horse, it impacts the hind quarters. So when I touch my rein they get underneath themselves instead of bending their necks, like if they over bend their neck too much. Now we’ve lost the throughness. So anyway, that’s a whole work in itself to develop throughness, and that’s where the style meets he classical world like the bullfighting classical school system. So the classical style of training was more about building bullfighting horses, which that’s why I love it, because that’s performance. It’s not like they’re just riding in circles. I think a lot of the western culture can sometimes look down on the classical system because they look at today’s dressage and they would say: shoot, I’m not riding in circles, they’re not getting anything done. Those horses spook at flowers on the fence. You know that’s not my deal, but dressage is kind of a bit of a thing, but the classical system was the root of that and the classical system was rooted in developing bull fighting horses and war horses. So it’s like that’s that’s up my ally. I like that.

Michelle: A working horse

Josh: Got it. They use themselves right, they’re brave, they they’ll handle the world, they’re not afraid to go into a fight. You know, I mean like they’ve got that brazenness and they know how to use their bodies right, which means they going to stay sound. And that’s the biggest part for me. My classical school system has given me such a deep awareness of how a horse’s body needs to work so that they can use themselves in their highest form and stay sound. How many of us, when we’re performing, it’s like shoot, that’s and you end your season real quick. You know you blow a suspensory or you, you know whatever, just because they’re not using their bodies right.

Michelle: One more and we will wrap it up. I could talk to you for hours more but I might turn into a pumpkin.

Michelle: Any time you have to force a horse to do something, you’re taking their body over their mind.

Josh: Yeah, it’s just that generally comes down to interpretation again, because we look at the horse as something that has to obey and if they’re not obeying, we need to make them, because you can’t let the horse get away with that. Like how many times we hear that. You’ve got to finish on a good deal because you can’t let the horse get away with that because theyre going to start trying to get away with it. It’s like we’re putting on them like they’re belligerent, bad kids, you know, like they’re trying to get away with stuff, they’re trying to be bad. So then it’s like it’s really important: make their body …..and then we’re going to talk about getting the body to get the mind. Like if I, if I can get the body, the mind, I’ll figure out. And maybe it has a point. You know if, if you know, you force someone to do something, maybe you can get their minds to believe they have to like, maybe, but you’re sure of losing them in the process, they’re going to like you or want even so.

Michelle: The relationship part is not there.

Josh: Totally gone. So for me it’s like if you spend time on that relationship and you start working on that, then they start showing up physically, they start bringing their body to the table and again until the horses are feeling safe, that just they, just they will not provide themselves. So if you try to take the outside, which generally comes down to a dominant based interpretation, you know we. We think in ourselves that you know we have some reason that we believe the horses being bad or disrespectful and we have to make them. That empowers a whole bunch of negative thinking In my mind. Lots of things I’ve done. It comes up in my past that it’s like that didn’t work out very well. It didn’t make me feel very good. But go ahead and meet that need and take care of the inside. And then the horse is happy to be around. Now what it comes down to is the horse says, what do you know and how can you help me Be better? And generally the limitation. I always say that generally frustration comes where education ends. So a lot of western perspective can be about kind of getting a horse to submit and kind of be here like we can get you to be calm quickly. Like you know, submission will get a horse so we can do stuff really fast. But the classical world doesn’t want that at all, like it’s like I’ll take lots of time with your mind and I’m just going to gently shake your body and if this takes six months, no problem, because I’m not sacrificing your body. I’m not taking your, your body away from you to make you do what I want in such a way that it would sacrifice your body. So the western culture kind of contradicts the high of the western culture is dang we can get stuffed up quick like we can. You know we can get it done quick, but we’re sacrificing the bodies so the horses are not developing correctly. They’re more on their forehand. Their necks are over bent and they’re short behind. In the classical world it’s going to keep that mind right going to get that back long going, get the horse up though their front-end and active though their hind quarters. And it might take the little longer if that horse is going to going to really be fit and sound and powerful. So my work is now just trying to…. I’m not trying to blend those two because because I will never take my foot off the gas pedal of the things I want to achieve in life, which keeps me right on the edge of sometimes my horse’s confidence. You know, like right there, but you know if I try to make everything perfect then then I won’t do anything. So it’s this juggling act to the best of my ability. Honor the mind. The more I honor the mind, the more the body shows up. And then there’s times when we’re struggling that we’re dancing on that edge of kind of trying to get the body trying to understand something. And sometimes you can do that and hope the mind shows up. Sometimes it does. But boy, you’re walking a rickety bridge there when when you’re trying to force the body, when you don’t have the mind, because now you’re walking on their grace, the only reason they’re doing it because they’re full of grace – horses. I’m just so thankful that horses are so gracious because I’ve gotten away with a lot of crap that I shouldn’t have.

Michelle: Yeah, this is the I guess the exciting, exciting part for me is looking at the possibilities of all this. The relationship I feel like I have with one horse in particular right now. It’s pretty good, but I feel like there’s so much more I could add to it that I’m learning and she has been awsome and helping me integrate at all, like she’s pretty forgiving and then there’s the other ones that, basically, like throw all my crap at me, are really humbling so I have a bit of a balance. But I do think, like adding competition into this and like the the wants of the ego doing this work. I feel like it’s possible when, like, when I think about it, like is this even? Could this even be done? I feel like it can be it’s just not an overnight thing.

Josh: Totally because we’ve got some restructuring to do and that’s why, when I say like what I say to people in the beginning, you got to kind of keep your hand in both worlds because you need to keep. If you pull yourself out all the way, then you start losing the experience of being in the game and the feeling of it and there’s so many there’s so much of your work. That’s about the mind frame of how to act when you’re in the game. So for me what I, what I encourage people to do, is just change the mindset of going into the game while you’re trying to do the work. So if you go in there and you’re just trying to build your horse’s confidence in you so you go in there and you don’t have to like, absolutely tear through the pattern every time, like sometimes, maybe you go into the space and all you do is you just work on helping your horse stay a little bit more calm. But you’re still going and you’re still in that environment and you’re still working on your prep game and you know not overwhelming your brain by thinking you have to win and just staying in the competitive edge or mindset. You know you’re still your brain is still playing with those, but you’re doing it from a different mindset. So then you’re not necessarily trying to, like you know, blow the doors off with your times and then sometimes maybe you do try that and you just see, test your edges. Give it a try. But if you trust your feel, you’ll have a sense of it and it doesn’t have to be perfect. Actually you’re needing it not to be perfect, because when you try, then you experiment, you learn. Then it’s like that was way better. That’s right there, boy. We’ve got to go back to the drawing board. How do you know if you don’t test? So I love to give people a little bit of a relaxed perspective on this: yes, come and dive into the work, like learn what it means. Meet your horses need, learn what it means to get your horse to use their body right and then, in the process of that, just keep dipping your toe, keep yourself in that competitive space. So you’re not stopping all the other elements of deepening your mind to be a competitor. And I find myself playing with that balance with my daughter. You know she, loves competition, she just loves it, she wants to like shoot. She’s doing almost every event that she can do. You know he just loves it, but it’s that balance of you know the mindset, taking care of the horses, trying to build. Keep that balance. Keep that balance. In some moments you got to back off. Hey, you got to. You know, like how do you go in there and do that and retain the connection with your horse? So you might not be able to push quite as hard well, but now your horse is ready. You need to go, try, try and just give her. So anyway, I just love that idea of like just seeing the pros of each of those pieces and then just having grace for yourself in the process, but boy their is alot to learn.

Michelle: I’ve recognized, through having not having as much competition with these covid times, that a lot of my drive is attached to competition.

Josh: Ah

Michelle: You know the challenge of it. I do’nt even know how to describe it. I think it’s just the, the challenge, like that’s what drives me. I mean I do love horses and I do love the connection, but I probably wouldn’t ride as much if I wasn’t entered in something. Maybe just a couple days a week hanging out, maybe doing some trails and ditch riding or whatever, but the competition is what drives me to put the hours in the saddle right? I feel kind of grateful and liberated that you’ve really almost like giving me permission and encouraged that, and I think others, that it is possible, to grow in all areas at the same time, like I don’t have to drop one to do great in the other and it can all work together.

Josh: Absolutely absolutely, and the more you become liberated in that, just to engage it for the joy of it, you know, yes, do your best to be your best and you know, hey, we’re all competing against ourselves, really, really in the end, you know, yes, on the one scope, we’re competing against others. But when we can get to a place where we can do our best with ourselves, things change, because now you’re not running against all your own sabotage. So yeah, you know, like I just encourage that right, dive in to the learning and then keep your foot in that. Because you’re right, we all need goals and if we don’t have a goal, we just start to get complacent. We start getting kind of lazy. We don’t we don’t have, we don’t want, we don’t have that reason to go to the barn today because we’re kind of like just whatever. So I think we all need a goal. We all have to have one. We have to have something we’re driving for and is there anything better then that will say there’s anything better. There’s something awesome about getting to a rodeo and the feel and the community and the energy and the fun of it all. Like. You know that community and there’s something about it all, you know, and it’s a barrel racing or something, but it’s like it’s exciting and fun and there’s something about us that like that like to go and do that stuff. Yeah, so do it and just do your best to let your soul, your souls drive, be balanced in the thing you’re doing. But this the other thing, and I’ll kind of maybe wrap-up on this. But if that is in you, if that drive is in you and the desire over here is in you, it’s meant for you. Like you see, I’m saying that drive wouldn’t be in your soul if it wasn’t meant for you to touch, and I love that. So then if we just keep focusing on cultivating that, putting all those together, like one would say, one of my still meditations, would be observing yourself running in a competitive environment with your horse operating the way we’re talking about, how would that feel? How would that feel? How would that feel? How would that? You know?And then what happens is your energy starts reaching out – to start. Try to grasp how to do that. And some people take that wooki and some people take it more logical. But it’s like if you, if you keep thinking about that all of a sudden, you’re going to start looking for somebody that can help you get your horse to move like that, your going to keep pushing yourself because you have that as your vision. So to me it’s like just attack the world, you know, but keep chasing all those details that make you feel alive. That’s what I think.

Michelle: I think that if anybody has listened to this far of our marathon, they are on board with Josh Nichol. They’re going to sign up for everything that you have. So where can they get in touch with you? We’ll link to it in the show notes too. But when I started I actually heard your name through a mutual friend that was a client of mine at the time, and then your name came round again when I was listening to the Warwick Schiller podcast and then I put in my time of the six hours of YouTube series from the Saskatoon expo and I was like this guy is speaking to my soul. I need to know more, so I joined your membership. So I guess those are some of the ways people can learn from you and then also your clinics right?

Josh: You bet you know that’s that’s kind of what I hope. I love that process that you took because I just I don’t want anybody to just jump into my membership if it’s not really what they feel they want. We have a 7 day free trial for that reason. people can check it out but really encourage thht, you know generally people here about me by word-of-mouth that’s generally how things have happened in these podcasts and this kind of stuff. Internet is really globalized things. Yeah, go to Youtube and check it out. You know you can search me up on Youtube and we’ve tried to present a pretty thorough perspective on Youtube so people can get a really real sense of me and I want people to be able to get that. So we’re still trying to put more and more content on Youtube so people can totally know what they’re etting into if they jump into the membership. And my goal is not to have piles of people. I want my people. I want the people that my work speaks to, because that’s how we build a cool community. You know people that are on this same resonance. So then, yeah, go on Youtube to check that out and then, if that speaks to you, you can go to my website. and we have different membership levels. So we have an introduction which kind of takes you general philosophy of my work and then the master course just kind of gives you everything I’ve put on there for the last four years. We’ve been adding content for four years every week, so there’s a pile of stuff and we’re still developing content. We’re slightly shifting some of our approaches in how we’re releasing it. But yeah, we’re that’s the way, man, if you want to know my stuff, that that’s know everything I’ve got is there, everything, every article we’ve written, every podcast. We do all of my content describing the progressions of my training and my school, it’s all there.

Michelle: Well, thank you very much and again, people, if you’re still listening, you’re a fan. I think I’ll actually probably link to a few of some of the other podcasts you’ve been on too, because I’ve listened to quite a few and they’re all different.

Josh: Very great, I think. Honestly, that’s one of things I love about the different podcast, because everybody you talk to, you know ends up taking on its own energy And honestly, I love this, totally feel like you know we’re on the same path, the same desire, you know, and the other I love about the community that’s being developed is that everybody’s kind of got their own thing they’re really good at, but by us all being able to connect with each other we get to glean from the awesome that others are good at. So instead of looking like like I need to have it all together, it’s like I just need to be connected to others that have it. Little example: Henry Ford said that right. It’s like you said he was the smartest man in the world and these reporters said no, you’re not, and he said yes, I am, come to my office and I’ll show you how. And they asked him a question and he picked up his phone and called the person who knew that answer, gives them the answer, put the phone down. What’s your next question? And they got all mad because, like you don’t know everything, said yes, I do, because I realize I don’t have to know everything and I just love that right. So I love connecting with people like yourself that have a deep knowledge in their area and then, as we spend time together, man, I’m blessed, you’re blessed and then the community grows and the community’s blessed right. So there’s no, I don’t look at it anyway, as you know, kind of needing to have it all together and I just need to have great-great friends and great people that I’m you know, doing work with and then we all, we all get blessed. Kind of just a side note, but I appreciate you and I’m very thankful for being here with you and I’ve had a great time tonight. Thank you.

Michelle: Thank you for blessing my community. With your knowledge, they’re going to be your people now too.

Josh: Well, I hope that they find value in it.

Michelle: Thank you.

Subscribe:   Apple Podcasts  or  Spotify