To be a person that horses feel fully comfortable and safe with,our minds need to be empty. Humans spend a lot of time in their heads, our culture focuses strongly on intellectual learning and development. We are not taught in school how to use our other two information centres, the heart and the gut. Horses on the other hand live primarily from these two places. They exist in the present moment, reacting and basing decisions on what they’re feeling, not on what they are thinking. This is very different to humans. If we want to really connect with horses, finding a place where we are operating from our feelings rather than our thoughts is a great place to start. Horses feel unsettled around our busy minds. Our non-stop thinking is like a pressure to them, it feels uncomfortable and can make them agitated. If we go to our horses in a mind-empty state, they are more relaxed and happier to be with us. The messages that come to us when we’re emotionally open and in the present moment with horses, are more likely to give us good results than those coming just from our brains. However I also think it's necessary to educate ourselves about all aspects of horse care and horsemanship. I am totally on board with this, I live in a continuous state of being a student, there is always more to learn. Then when we are with our horses, if we can dial down the brain and amplify the heart and gut, the level of communication and connection with horses reaches a whole new level. If they know we are fully present and aware of ourselves, them, and the surroundings, they will trust us more, and feel safer. This is where horses live all the time. If we go to horses while in our heads, we are not in the same world as them. This instantly sets up a wall between us. We may not be able to feel it, but the horses can. For them it’s like we have left, like we’re not there anymore. If the horse can feel we are present, they know we’re on the lookout for dangers and predators and can feel safe knowing we’ll alert them to danger, just as any other horse would. So how do we do this? One possible way is through some sort of meditation practice. I was an on/off meditator, feeling not very good at it, until I accepted that everyone’s minds wander, it’s totally normal. When we recognise our wandering, and come back to ourselves, we are meditating, that’s the whole point. The skill we learn is how to bring our minds back. This teaches us some control over these crazy busy minds of ours, and helps when with our horses, if we’ve already practiced the skill of coming back. With time it does get easier. For me, this frequently just happens when I’m with horses, I am more in my body and present than in other situations. I’ve heard other people say they experience the same thing. This is one of the huge gifts’ horses have for humans. If we’re open to it, it feels like they help us be in our bodies and not our minds. I'm not able to maintain this for as long in other situations. The determining factor is the presence of horses, I think it’s their influence. We say Horse Whisperer when we mean Horse Listener, and we say Mindfulness when we really mean Mind-emptiness, which sort of sums up just how crazy these brains of ours are! I hope you enjoy finding this peaceful state with horses, Suzy.
Suzy Maloney B.Eq.Sc.
Happy Horses Bitless
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