Blog: Lessons from the Herd



I think I’ve figured out why it’s so much easier for Randy to handle all the scary things Bon Ton does--he doesn’t BELIEVE they are scary.


He sees it all as normal, part of the process of building a relationship with a horse.  Randy has a basic belief system that keeps him grounded and even enjoying building this relationship.


For me, it produces confusion, stress, fear.


It is in those moments my survival instinct kicks in.  I don’t want to have any part of a relationship with this horse.  I don’t even want to be in the arena.  My mind tells me Bon Ton has an agenda and it is to hurt anyone near him.


Same horse, same situation.  Why such different responses?


I’ve been compiling a list of beliefs that Randy holds as foundational truths when it comes to his relationship with horses.  Over the following few weeks we will be discussing each of these and how, if embraced, they might substantially improve our human relationships.


Belief systems.  It’s amazing the amount of control they have over us.




March 11, 2016

Introducing "Bon Ton"

March 1, 2016


We just took possession of our first horse a few days ago.   Well, let me clarify something here.  “We” is Cor Lifemanship and “I”, Malinda, am the only one of “us” that can actually make this statement honestly.  This isn’t Randy’s first rodeo.  And rodeo it has been.


I have never seen a horse being trained.  Heck, I have never even seen an untrained horse – except on television.  It has been a very interesting and educational adventure.  Oh yeah, it has also been rather scary at times.  I haven’t had so much adrenaline dumped in my system since … well, if I were being honest, it hasn’t been that long.


I’m in relationship and anytime you are in relationship, and by that I mean really in, all in, living with a willingness to be vulnerable, authentic, courageous, working on connection despite the gut wrenching work that entails…there is a risk of having ample adrenaline dumps.


But back to our new horse…


Building and maintaining relationship with a horse has a direct correlation to building and maintaining our human relationships.  Who would have known?


By the way, this is probably a good time to introduce Bon Ton.




Bon Ton was purchased at an auction by Rachael Waller, owner of Fire Light South Ranch in Alpine, Texas.  Rachael was generous enough to allow us to work with Bon Ton.  It’s truly a win/win for all of us.


When Bon Ton is returned to his home, Rachael will have a trained horse, Bon Ton himself will be an educated and therefore safer member of his herd because he will be able to think rather than react (which will cause him to be hurt less if he finds himself in a pickle while roaming the pasture, bit and kicked less by other herd members, etc.) and we are getting to further develop and test our equine therapy/learning program with an untrained horse.  Untrained horses are a cleaner slate.  They are highly sensitive and provide more authentic responses to human interaction.


As you can see, Bon Ton is a sorrel horse.


What color is a Sorrel Horse?


While the term is usually used to refer to a copper-red shade of chestnut, in some places it is used generically in place of "chestnut" to refer to any reddish horse with a same-color or lighter mane and tail, ranging from reddish-gold to a deep burgundy or chocolate shade.


Don’t you love the word ‘sorrel’?  It has such a regal ring to it!  Let’s try it on for size.


What color is your horse? Gold.


What color is your horse?  Sorrel.


Yes, much more regal.  It is definitely more fitting a word to use for such a magnificent creature.


It’s the same ring that the word “relationship” has to it.  Well…it’s not necessarily the word itself that has the ring.  It’s what the word signifies.

Relationship.  My word.  My heart.  I love relationship.  Right relationship.  Healthy relationship.  Not all are right and not all are healthy.   I’ve had my share of them all--right, wrong, healthy and unhealthy.  I’m always looking for ways to help myself, those I love and those who cross my path with living free and “successful” lives– living in healthy relationship, starting with our relationship with ourselves.




Just to set the record straight, I don’t quibble about how the Lord chooses to get me loving Him. I used to.  I used to believe and say it’s all about loving God first.  However, for me, I found that through years and years of living with that as my focus, I was shown that I was really living a heartless relationship with Him.


I didn’t even have me to give Him.  I didn’t know me.  I definitely didn’t like me enough to bring my true self to Him so the “me” I was bringing to Him was a false me.  The end game was me SAYING I loved Him first but “I” wasn’t even the one loving Him.  Once He began showing me how to love me, and I began healing in that area, “I”, the real me, was able to truly love Him.


Anyway, I’m ok with however He wants to do this thing with you.  All I know is that it needs to be the real you.  Most often, if not always, the real you has some ugly.  That you is the one that needs to come to Him.  Loving with that you, that’s what He wants.


And that is THE most beautiful gift a relationship with a horse can give you.  Your SELF, the real you.  There is no way to bring a false self to this relationship.   You may walk in the arena that way, but you won’t walk out that way.  A horse has an uncanny way of unmasking us—revealing our hidden motives, our ways of protecting ourselves, areas needing healing, areas needing growth, areas of control, etc.


Now that we’ve got that out of the way…




This blog will be focused on all the amazing things we are getting to learn and experience through Bon Ton’s training.


The following entries will be my observations of our training experience with Bon Ton, my interpretation of those experiences and how we can apply what I learned to our human relationships, and then Randy will be weighing in with his interpretation as well.


THEN…I will be interpreting his interpretation.


Hum, what’s that about you might ask?  Stay tuned.  I’m sure that (and more) will bubble up during “The Great Unveiling”.

Relationships!  You’ve got to love them.  I know I DO!



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Malinda Harton, M.A.

Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor


C: 281.731.3416


Randy Simmons

Equine Professional


C: 830.377.1923