Notice anything odd about this photo of the New York City skyline? If you’re familiar with the shape of the iconic Empire State Building (just left of center) you may notice it looks slightly bloated in this photo. Why? From this perspective, the shorter, fatter New York Times Building is positioned directly in front of it – obstructing all but the top floors and the spire.

I shot this photo during the Christmas holiday with my family – which was a great time to be inspired by a healthy dose of perspective. After all, when we’re with family, the usual patterns of behavior emerge and we’re often challenged either to remain rigid or to shift our perspectives a bit to ensure “peace on Earth”.

The metaphor was not lost – and lo and behold, it’s no different with horses. In fact, shifting your perspective becomes intuitive when you work with horses – and can mean the difference between a collaborative effort and a power struggle with a 1,200 lb animal. The trick? Get curious.

For example, when you’re working with a “difficult” horse, instead of getting irritated put yourself in his shoes – excuse the pun – and you’ll see his perspective which is often “What the heck does this human want”? You’ll quickly see where you’re being rigid, unclear, or attached to a specific outcome. 

Curiosity is a great tool for perspective shifting across the board – it works with horses, humans, and situations.

In the case of this photo, my favorite classic building was blocked – a little annoying! But then I got curious about my orientation to the skyline: The Empire State Building is on 33rd St. in Manhattan, the NY Times Building is on 41st Street, and I was across the Hudson River in New Jersey, at about 60th street. To get the perfect shot of the Empire State Building I could brave the freezing cold and walk 27 blocks south… but that perspective wouldn’t capture downtown Manhattan and the Verrazano Bridge.

The choice was clear: lament the inconvenient obstruction or appreciate the beauty of what a new perspective reveals? … from the warmth of a cozy apartment. 

Ah, peace on Earth!

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