What is Mindfulness and How Does it Apply to My Horse?
Looking back through your life can lead to regrets, to joy, to fear, to so many feelings all over the spectrum.  This is where some people live their life.  With horses, it might be trauma they suffered, like my mare, Taika, that flipped in the starting gate and fractured her skull, or Binky, who was trapped in a barn with the roof blown off through hurricanes Irma and Maria.  It might be us living our life based on a horse accident and letting that dictate how we feel about riding horses now, even if the accident was years ago.

There are also those that are stuck in the "what if" mode.  What if I get hurt, fall off, have a horse run away with me?  For the horses, they are always looking for what might kill them.  The plastic bag, the whip, the saddle that doesn't fit right.  These feeling of what if can cause extreme tension and bracing in us and our horses.

Mindfulness is being present, in this moment, here and now.  It is letting go of the feelings that come up from things in our past and it is looking at what is going on right now instead of the what if's that might be coming.  The amazing thing about mindfulness is that it can be learned.  Mindfulness is beneficial around our horses and even just in our daily lives.

What is mindfulness in daily life?  I was making my breakfast smoothie the other day and thinking about riding that afternoon instead of being present to what I was doing with my breakfast.  I had a feeling of stop, something isn't right, but I just kept right on thinking of riding and pouring cinnamon in my drink, ignoring that feeling to stop.  When I looked down, I had the garlic powder.  I can say that garlic powder is not as yummy in my morning drink as cinnamon.  This really shook me up.  Something so simple but so powerful.  I drank my morning drink while I cringed from the strong taste, but it was a good reminder to be mindful in the moment.

I first heard about mindfulness at a silent retreat I went to, and they promoted being mindful for the 5 days we were there.  They talked about eating mindfully.  Tasting the food, feeling the texture, picturing the journey the food took to become the morsal in my mouth.  They talked about walking mindfully.  Feeling the earth beneath the feet.  They talked about smelling the morning air and all the flora that was around.  They encouraged us to feel the breeze, the sun, the weather.  

The wonderful thing about being mindful is that you can't be in a state of worry (looking into the future), and you can't be depressed (looking into your past) while you are in the present moment.  With horses, it is so much more than that.  It is about truly "BEING" with the horse, in each and every moment.  It really does help fear melt away.

If you would like to learn about mindfulness in 7 days of exercises, please click here!


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