In a previous blog we talked about mindfulness and mindset, the benefits for both rider mental health and being calm around your hyper sensitive four-legged friend.
This time round we take mindfulness a step further and introduce your horse.
Reasons to meditate with your horse:
- Earning trust and developing a stronger connection to your horse
- You focus every passing moment you have with your horse
- Letting your horse know you are thinking about them
- Forming a calm and emotionally stable space between you and your horse
- Going off for a hack with total peace of mind
- You will understand your horse on a deeper level
One of the simplest ways of connecting with your horse is through breathing. If you can breathe correctly with your horse and be mindful (in the moment with him), eventually this process will bring you to a common understanding and a greater unity.
From Fight and Flight To Rest and Digest
When you eventually climb into the saddle, you want to be as calm and positive as possible, none of the everyday thoughts and stresses dominating your mind. A horse lives in the NOW and you want to mirror this by living every moment in the NOW with him. Shrugging off any obtrusive thoughts and focussing on the NOW will not only help your own state of mind but it will also help his.
With a few breathing methods whilst at the yard or in the stable and you can put aside any nagging thoughts - your horse will sense your inner calm and this new energy will be projected onto him.
- Place your hand onto your belly
- Take in a deep breath, pushing your diaphragm out, feeling your belly push out into your hand.
- Hold the breath for a few seconds.
- Slowly exhale as though you are pulling your belly button back into your spine.
- Repeat 4 - 5 times - by this point you should already have felt your heart rate lower.
- Go onto the 5-5-5 method.
- Slowly inhale whilst counting to 5.
- Hold in the breath counting another 5.
- Exhale for a final 5.
- Repeat until you are calm enough to start visualising climbing onto your horse.
A Step Further - Meditation
Mastering your breathing and finding inner calm is only one (major) part of meditation. Mediation can be done anywhere, although somewhere comfortable and quiet is best.
- Choose the way you sit. Either find a chair that you can sit upright in whilst being able to place your feet flat on the floor or sit on the floor and use a pillow or cushion.
- Perfect posture. Similar to riding, keep your spine upright and your head aligned over your shoulders.
- Place your hands palms down and let them rest on your knees.
- Completely relax your eyes and let your gaze rest on a spot around two feet ahead of you on the floor.
- Set a timer for 10 minutes.
- Using the methods above, breathe. Focus on your breath, inhaling and exhaling, feeling your breath fill you lungs and then slowly leave your body.
- Continue to focus on your breathing and let any unwanted thoughts drift away as your focus becomes stronger. If a stray thought finds its way back, bring your focus back to your breathing.
- Practice - when your 10 minutes is up, think about how your new calm will benefit you and all the beings you will come into contact with today.
Now in a calmer state, visualise climbing into the saddle. Picture yourself riding, your newfound calmness leaving by way of your hands and legs, transferring this energy onto your horse. Being relaxed allows our centre to drop, enabling us stay supple and to manoeuvre more deeply in the saddle. Because horses respond to our calm and entered energy, this helps us in the saddle, either from a spook or a stumble.
If you try these methods and benefit in anyway, you’ve won. We love our customers and online community and would really like to hear any positive feedback from your experiences using meditation and for either hacking out or competing.