Be Present or Be Frustrated. You Choose.
I’m reflecting on a 3 day clinic I taught a few weeks ago and thinking of one of the participants and how hard she was on herself. She wanted to be better for her horse and had high goals. I related to her as I have also felt similarly when I wanted to do well and wanted to get something with all my heart. After sharing a few thoughts with her, the one that stuck was; what feeling do you have when you are with your horse? What are you thinking (your inner voice) - especially when things aren’t working the way you pictured them to?
Do you think your horse can make sense of what you are communicating to them when you’ve tied your brain up about how you’d like it to be, but it is not?
The answer was clear. She was not in the present moment with her horse. She was a mile away.
That incongruence, that disconnection, was felt by her horse. By doing this, she was not serving her horse or her goals by allowing her mind to get tied up, to be frustrated. Once she slowed down and took a few deep breaths, the change was amazing in both. She could follow the exercises in the clinic at her ability, not compare herself to others or be frustrated with herself or her horse. She could be with her horse along the journey. The change she made after this point and the success she had over the next 2 days was amazing.
Many of the old Horsemen that I studied with always asked me to do simple things. Like feeling which hoof is about to leave the ground. Right front, left front, right hind… At the time I just thought it was a timing thing to be a better rider, but it was much more. It caused me to feel the whole horse, get in time and slow my mind.
If you find yourself spooling up – pause. Don’t run through the unconscious repetitive statements that your mind will take you on and that your body will follow. Our horses don’t deserve the mess of a busy human’s mind and ego. Pause to observe your horse's eye and think of what he or she deserves. They never choose to get caught or saddled and they don’t choose to perform well at a show or clinic. They aren’t intending to let you down.
Once you step past the emotions of a session you will find the frustrating journey turns into one of fascination. It’s way more fun and it will get you further than you ever thought you could go.
One last note: When with horses, kindness can’t come because of guilt and firmness should never be accompanied with anger. If you stay in a state of being present and understanding, you will communicate differently. You will apply the lessons with feel and tact. You and your horse will notice the difference. Give it a try.
Good luck my friends!
Stay Inspired by Horses!
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