Being with horses is much like the practice of yoga. It is associated with wellness and inner peace. At least it is for me and it could be for you too! When you immerse yourself in an environment that is designed for you and your horse along with relaxation, then all of your senses will be treated to a whole new experience.
Many view yoga as one of two things: exercise or meditation. For me, being with horses is a form of exercise (this includes grooming, riding, hand walking, cleaning manure, pushing wheel barrels, etc.) It is also very meditative when I am fully present with my animals. However, yoga is actually considered a comprehensive philosophy on life, which means to unite the mind, body, and spirit through meditation, posture, and breathing. Sound familiar horse owner?
My equine practice has evolved over the years along with my own personal growth and discovery. And as it continues to evolve, my practice continues to provide a wealth of benefits to my mind, body, and spirit.
I recommend starting by creating your own ‘retreat like’ environment and leave your worries and anxieties at the barn door. Leave your work at your work-your cell phone in the house or car and plan to be in the barn when it is nice and quiet. And plan on going to the barn alone-just you and your horse. Some might say that morning is the quietest time, but I prefer evenings. I love listening to the horses unwind for the day by chomping on their dinner and taking deep relaxing breaths. It is the ultimate licking and chewing scenario. And a lesson in mindful eating that we could all learn from.
I also utilize this time to contemplate nature. In the background of the happy munching horses, I have three packs of coyotes that take turns talking to each other across the many miles of prairie. Some find the coyote chatter scary and mean, but all I hear is the declaration of life. They are happy to be alive and they remind me that I should also find contentment in my life at that moment in time.
For many, having horses is a means to a community of like-minded friends that one can share a common interest. And, this is great! Some of my best friends are people I have met through horses. However, sometimes it is important to be present with your horse. This means brushing and grooming your horse without talking to the person in the cross-ties next to you. When you are quiet, you can hear what your horse is saying. Sometimes he is telling you he likes something and sometimes he is telling you he doesn’t like something. If he doesn’t like something, this is an opportunity to get to know him better. Is it because he just doesn’t prefer to be curried that hard or in that place? Or, is it because he is telling you his saddle no longer fits and it is making him sore in that spot where he winced?
So many times, we look for a guru to tell us what is wrong with our horse. My horse is a little off today, I better call the vet. My horse is sore backed today, I better call the chiropractor. But the reality is that YOU know your horse better than anyone else. And if you don’t, then I challenge you to start BEING with your horse and get to know him or her better. And in the process…..you will also get to know yourself better!
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