Today's world is one of social media, instant connectivity, fast food, drive-thrus, super-marts, instant drink mix, shake and bake, now, Now, NOW! We are programmed to seek instant gratification at every turn. We know where we are and what we're doing ten steps before we're done with what we haven't finished doing so that we can do what we're doing now. Make sense? No. Of course not. Now imagine how our poor horse feels!
We speed into the barn and zip through grooming and tacking up so that we can spend a little time with them in between work and errands and dinner. No sooner do we get on our horse, than we start asking them for something they may or may not be ready for. In their daze from speed grooming, they maybe haven't caught up with the program, or worse yet they resent the rushing around.
Our horse is a little slow to respond, or maybe a little resistant. We just want a little relaxation and cooperation! We push a little harder. The horse resists a little more. We get cranky. They get cranky. We get frustrated. It just builds from there. We've all had these days.
Lets rewind part way through this scenario. 'We just want a little relaxation and cooperation.' It's important to realize that while we're going a million miles a minute to cram every item on our to do list into our day, our horse has been spending the day at the pace of nature, and the sun, and the rain, and clouds. There is no agenda, to do list, or next big project on their schedule until we get there and ask them to take on ours. So while we're rushing to spend time with them, they are wondering what the rush is. They are there. You are there. What more is there?
We can learn a lot from our horses. Way more than they can ever learn from us. Horses live in the now. They experience each moment, be it good or bad at 100% capacity. It's only when they interact with humans that they start to project and anticipate what is to come. It's through our dealings with them that they learn what rushing, and stress, and anxiety are. If we could just learn that when we are with them, every moment is what it is. That moment is perfect for the fact that we are in it with our horse, be it a moment of good or bad. We can use it to enhance each following moment if we are present to experience and learn what it has to brings us. If it is a good moment, we can seek to replicate it in future moments. If it is a bad moment, we can learn what made it so and avoid replicating it. The important thing is, that each moment is just that, a moment. It is not eternity, and it does not define the next moment or the one after that.
When we stop anticipating what's next, when we stop regretting what was, we can be and accept. With acceptance, our horses become more relaxed. They become more willing, and able to work with us. When they feel that we have slowed down to let them catch up, the greet us as a long lost friend. We can both relax and we both feel cooperative.
So what can we do to be with our horse in each moment?
Sit in the car for a few moments when you first arrive at the barn. Take a few deep breaths. Wait for a moment out side your horse's stall before getting them out to groom and tack up. Breath. Experience each smell, sound, sensation. Feel each brush stroke, visualize each cue, feel your horse's breath and movement. Smile.
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Pangaea Equestrian Services provides tips, tricks, and thoughts on care, training, and discussion topics for our friends in the horse world.
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