Practicing Mindfulness with My Horse

The thing I’m into lately is how to change my thought patterns when interacting with horses. I’ve been listening to Warwick Shiller’s podcast where he interviews guests who have what I call “next level” horsemanship. These people have had a ton of success in the equestrian world, but they’ve done it by being kind to their horses instead of treating them like sports equipment. I’ve also just started this book called “Sacred Spaces”. Totally worth the $15 I paid for it. It teaches you how to communicate with your horse on a deeper level using thoughts and energy.

Baron and his buddy Voodoo on the beach

It sounds hokey but there is science to back it up. We know that thoughts are things. Every conscious thought has a chemical reaction in your brain to go along with it. It also has a measurable energy signal. You hear hippie types talk about vibrating at a higher level, and it’s true. Your thoughts create energy that vibrates. It’s how you can feel when someone is in a bad mood, or how one cheerful person can influence someone to lighten up and crack a smile.

I remember I worked with a girl at a chiropractic office in Raleigh who was gifted at dealing with grumps. She was irrepressibly cheerful. People would come in miserable and in pain and complaining about everything and by the time they left, she was their new best friend and they were smiling and thanking her for all her help. It really was a gift. She knew how to wield her positive energy like a weapon that disarmed people.

Most humans aren’t as sensitive to energy as animals. We are such a verbal species, but even we can tell when someone says something and means something else. We can pick up on intention, falseness, fakeness and lying, and if we can pick it up, horses can sense it a thousand times more powerfully. With that in mind, I’ve been more intentional with my thoughts around the horses and I do believe it’s having an effect.

I love horses. I’ve never met a horse I didn’t like, even the crazy ones, because it’s not their fault. When I go to the barn, I am automatically in a good mood because the horses block out whatever else I’m annoyed or sad about. I’ve been taking that to the next level with Baron by spending time sitting in his stall and thinking positive thoughts about him- what a good horse he is, how many cool things we’ve done together, how he has a home with me for the rest of his life. I’ve spent many an hour sitting with him while he eats, because he takes forever to eat, but usually I play on my phone or read a book. This is a more intentional, directed time with him. This is me taking the time to let him know that I love him using the language of energy instead of words. I tell him with words all the time, but it’s not the same.

I’ve also been consciously slowing down my thoughts at the barn. I go a mile a minute most of the time. I have a lot going on, a lot of responsibilities, and a lot of people that depend on me. Sometimes my brain feels like it’s on overdrive. I’ve been intentionally slowing down my thoughts and not allowing my mind to race.

Baron has never been a very affectionate horse. He doesn’t have a goofy personality like some horses. He is very dignified, he likes his routine and he isn’t interested in strangers. Some girls trailered in to ride in our arena the other day and they commented that he was the only horse that wasn’t interested in checking them out. He really doesn’t care about anyone but me, because I’m the one who feeds him and cares for him. I’m his security blanket in life. But even with me, he isn’t overly affectionate. He doesn’t love to be scratched and petted and he’ll take a treat, but he isn’t a treat mugger like a lot of horses. He’s very reserved.

I’ve noticed some signs that he’s responding to the energy work. A few times he has come and stood near me and rested his head in my lap. He doesn’t want to be fussed over; he just wants to be near me for a few moments and then he goes back to eating. A few times he’s asked for affection by nudging me gently when I’m in the pasture hanging out with him. The donkey is always right next to me; he’s an attention whore. He wants treats and petting non-stop. One of the other horses is the same. He seeks out human interaction and follows me around asking me to feed him something or give him some love. There have been a few times lately when those two were all over me and Baron broke in and asked to be included. It’s very unlike him, but I like it.

Just hanging out near me in his stall.

Yesterday we went for an evening ride on the beach with another girl from my barn and her horse. Baron and her horse get along great, and Baron always loves it when he has a friend along for a ride. It was one of those perfect evenings where the breeze cools you off, the water is calm and the light is fading into golden hour. It’s summertime, so the beach isn’t exactly peaceful this time of year with tourists, kids playing, dogs barking, kites flying, even helicopters flying overhead. But we had such a nice ride and the horses were so chill even with all of that going on.

When we started to head back over the dune to go back to the trailer, Baron turned around and headed back down the beach. He wasn’t done yet. He does this every now and then. He was enjoying himself and he wasn’t quite ready to quit. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me when he does that, because it means he isn’t in pain.

When we got back to the trailer, the horses were tied and my friend and I were talking about how good our horses are, how well they behaved with so many distractions and potentially scary things going on. I went over to take Baron’s bridle off and he put his head on my chest and rested on me. He wasn’t using me as a scratching post or being rude. He just rested his big ole noggin’ on my chest and stood there for maybe a minute. I just petted his neck and told him what a good horse he is.

It’s very unusual for him to show affection like that, but I appreciate it. I know that he loves me because he obviously prefers me to other people, but it’s nice to be told sometimes!

One thought on “Practicing Mindfulness with My Horse

  1. You are a true horse lover. And I do believe we give off an energy. If people can pick up on it, why wouldn’t horses – and other animals, too? Thanks for your post, and enjoy your day.

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