Mindfulness and Horses
The Importance of Being Mindful Around Horses
Because we do not fully understand the behaviours and natural instinct of our horses, we frequently consider them unpredictable. The main factor is that horses’ minds live in the present – in the right here, right now. They are constantly on alert and can react in a split second to what they perceive as a threat.
We, on the other hand, have a tendency to live in the past and the future, our minds cluttered with work, money worries, health problems, holidays, shopping lists; our minds are little more than litter bins. Most of us are never quite able to connect the missing link because we are not aware of it.
Some humans are able to empty the litter bin during the time they spend with their horses; as they pay full attention to each task, they are conscious of where the horse is, how he feels, the condition of his coat, and the heat in his leg that was absent yesterday. They are prepared for the unexpected.
They are totally in the present. The horse appears generally relaxed and happy to be in their company. Riding is usually uneventful and peaceful.
The moment they turn their back on the horse, the litter bin refills and the human reverts into the past or the future depending on which one is the most important to dwell on.
There are those who drag all of the litter through the gate with them. Their mind is anywhere other than in the same space as the horse. As they glance at the horse he may appear unsettled, but that is normal for him. Too busy worrying about a future event, they miss important clues that can potentially be dangerous.
Riding the horse may be a bit of a chore for the rider as they become merely a passenger in the saddle, leaving the horse to find his own way because all communication is lost.
These riders do not have the foresight to prevent stress and the wrong approach.
Then there are those who have learned to live almost permanently in the present. In full control of their emotions, they are easily attentive with a constant awareness of their immediate surroundings and inner feelings – feelings of contentment, and peace. Their heightened awareness proves invaluable in their daily lives and when around horses.
When in the saddle, they are an active participant, riding every step of the way with the horse, forever supporting him in the present.
Problems are pre-empted and easily resolved.
Out of the saddle is a time to simply ‘be’, as they build a bond they could never have imagined until now!
Which type are you?
Being Mindful is to be in the Present Moment
‘Mindfulness’ is now a recognised and accepted term in the Western World; its phenomenal healing powers are promoted in the workplace and schools. Its origin lies in Buddhism and it has been around for thousands of years.
I prefer to call it ‘being in the present’ – a place of no past and no future; that place to simply ‘be’.
Your mind is quiet, and calm. Your breath is a gentle, yet powerful whisper that comes from deep within.
It is where the minds of all animals live.
Unlike us, animals are not conditioned by the past that causes them to anticipate a negative future.
They have no agenda.
If we are to truly understand our horses and family pets, we must learn to let go of our conditioning so that we are able to live in the present with them. We owe it to them to work on ourselves so that we are worthy of them.
Being in the present is your doorway to emotional freedom and it is simple to learn; you probably go there quite often, but you do not yet have an awareness of it. Think of a hobby you are passionate about. Do you get lost in the moment as you imagine the smallest detail? Yes, of course you do!
Knowing how to be in the present brings an awareness and acceptance and puts you in touch with the true awesome you.
Our conditioning from childhood, past trauma, and the emotional stuff we take on board throughout our lives can cause immense struggle, leading to mental health problems.
We now know that if a person’s emotional state is not addressed, and it is left to fester, a physical ailment may manifest.
The animals in that person’s care will also suffer. Their emotional state may deteriorate to the point of overflow, resulting in a physical ailment also, such as lameness, or a skin condition.
Before we can enter the peace and quiet of the ‘present’, we must learn to quiet our own minds by ridding ourselves of all the noisy clutter we have absorbed through the years.