I have always said that good stuff happens when cleaning horse poop. This morning, I had an epiphany. Perhaps more of an awareness, but we will call it an epiphany. I have always been sensitive to when people (usually non-horse people) accompany me to the barn and make fun of the horses, tease the horses, or say stupid things. My least favorite (and it has always come from dudes) is when they ask me something to the effect of if I get turned on when I ride because riding is like sex. To this day, I don’t even really know how to respond to that because it is just so stupid. A friend of mine has experienced the same stupid questions and told me she just says “no, but my ability to ride a horse and stay in sync with the movement does help me accelerate in other areas of my life.” Good answer girlfriend!
So, in addition to the stupid sex innuendos, what I have realized is the shear disregard for my reverence in the barn along with disrespect to these amazing living beings. I have also come to realize that people who are not capable of having respect for non-human animals most likely don’t have any respect for me as a human being either. And probably on another level they don’t have respect for themselves but that is a whole ‘nother conversation.
Back to my epiphany … I realized today that the main reason this disrespect bothers me so much and it eats at my insides is because horses are my spiritual practice. As soon as I walk into their space, my reverence begins. It is like walking into a church, stupa, or monastery. One wouldn’t scream, yell, or ask if you were turned on my being in a church.
Spiritual teachers teach that when you are in nature you are closest to God. For me, I am closest to my higher power when I am at one with my horses. From the moment I step out the door to feed them their breakfast, I begin my spiritual practice. I breathe in the fresh, outdoor air. I take in the scenery of green grass and a grand cotton wood that provides shade in the pasture. The numerous birds greet me with friendly bird talk and as I walk towards the barn my horses stand at the fence with bright eyes and ears pricked forward. The sound of their neighs calms me and brings an overall peace to my psyche.
I proceed to feed my horses their special ‘mash.’ This mash consists of toxic-weed free hay pellets that I soak with warm water that creates a mash that I put their supplements in. Each horse has their own individualized supplement regime based on monthly muscle testing that I do specifically for each horse. Their bodies openly received the nourishment I provide them and their overall health says ‘thank you.’
By afternoon, I proceed to engage my horses in their regular exercise routine, body-work, and attention. Ya see, I have Arabian horses and Arabian horses were bred to live in the tents with their Bedouin Tribe owners. The Arabian’s ability to bond with their human and yearning for human contact is unlike no other breed that I have experienced.
I feed my horses. I clean my horse’s manure and give them the care and attention they deserve. In return, they fill my soul. I have never experienced anything else that fills my soul and gives me peace the way being with horses does. Riding takes it to a whole other realm.
My devotion to these animals and my practice out ways anything else I do in life. So much, that I would dare say that horses are indeed my spiritual practice. The barn is my church. When I talk to them, I am talking to God. And when they talk back, God is talking to me if I choose to listen.
I have unspoken rules that I live by in the presence of horses. First, I practice awareness. Being aware of my surroundings and the surroundings of my horses is pertinent to their well-being. I am aware of their current physical and mental state. In addition, I make sure they are aware of me.
Second, I make sure that I give back to my horses more than I receive from them. What I receive from my horses is endless. But first and foremost, I choose to give them peace and tranquility. Third, I take into consideration the law of cause and effect. If I cause any action that instigates a force of energy, I expect a result. If I am abusive to my horses I can expect them to not be very nice back to me. If I choose love and compassion towards my horses, I can expect them to show love and compassion towards me.
Next, I strive to maintain my goal of intention with my horses. My overall intention is for optimal physical and emotional health and well-being. After that, my intentions may vary depending on the day, time, and activity. Most of all, I allow my power of intention to influence my rides. This is a combination of what my goals are for a specific ride and making sure I am grounded and balanced so I can communicate to the best of my ability with my horse. It is important that I am clear with my intentions and desires with my horse because my horse easily picks up on my energy and knows if I am off base or not.
Last, I focus on my purpose and my horse’s purpose. For example, I have a sixteen-year-old green broke gelding. It isn’t his fault that his original owner did not start his training until he was 12. Despite the fact that he had a late start and then was sold to an abusive woman, he wants to be a good boy. As much as I would like to train him to the highest level and show him, the reality is that is not going to happen. His purpose is to be a very special companion horse and has taught me a ton of lessons in regards to horses, people, and life. And even though I believe he is living his life purpose, once in a while he reminds me that it isn’t always about being on purpose. Sometimes he just wants to be loved. And besides … isn’t that all we could ever ask or want from life?
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