I remember going to riding lessons as a kid. I would look at the schedule to see who I was riding that day and then eagerly get ready for a predictable lesson. Walk to warm up, trotting circles, taking turns at a canter, and then mastering the timing of smooth sailing over jumps. I went to lessons every week. I had goals. I wanted to practice. I was determined. I had an agenda. I, I, I, I, I….
The ways of being present with my horse have changed. I’m older and the big grand plans of competing have become less of a priority. I’m learning to slow down and enter a space with my horse where we can just be. It’s a gentle give and take. I don’t have an agenda for each time we meet. I have found that by opening a dialogue with my horse, it gives her the opportunity to say no thank you or yes please. Taking advantage of the opportunities that present themselves in these circumstances can be life changing.
I was attending a Horse Speak clinic, and was going to practice a dialogue with a huge Tennessee Walking Horse. I was excited. I felt a connection with him. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on him to exchange that energy. When I entered the stall to introduce myself and say hello, he obviously had different plans for our interaction. He lifted his head and pressed his huge nostrils over my nose. He took big breaths and blew his air into my face. You see, my agenda was to make an emotional and physical connection with a horse to make me feel good. This wise old horse new that it was more important for me to breath. I discovered that I had been holding my breath, and he was giving me rescue breathes. Horses prioritize and are very practical. Sometimes we overthink and make grand plans. What we really need to do is just be still and breath. When I joined him with deep breathing he lowered his head, and he began to lick and chew in contentment. Everyday there are moments that you can learn from. Learning to be still and breathe is a deliberate action for me. What might you learn from your surroundings if you were to be still and breathe?