In these troubled times, many of us have felt scared, stressed and confused about what the future may hold. I believe meditation is a wonderful method to help us cope and even thrive in these uncertain times. By taking this process into the field with our horses, it can help us to connect on a deeper and spiritual level. Meditation gives us the time to reflect, re-frame and grow. Meditation lowers cortisol levels, (the stress one!), improves our immune system, boosts serotonin levels, (the happy one!), as well as lowering heart rates and blood pressure. Basically, it makes us feel good…. Science bit alert…. MRI images have shown that beta waves produced when processing information are swapped for alpha waves, allowing us to deal with the trials and tribulations of life in a more reasonable, balanced way. It slows down the influx of data, and allows the nervous system time to breath…
So, how we do we start? Just put any preconceived ideas you may have about meditation in a box and put it away. To begin, find yourself a quiet spot, turn off your phone, sit in a comfortable position, this can be on the floor or on a chair, log etc. and close your eyes. Concentrate on your breathing, which ideally will be slow and mindful. Breathe in slowly and softly through your nose, feeling the coolness of the air fill your nose and lungs. Allow your stomach to blow out, (Like a balloon), don’t pull it in. (This can be tricky at first). I breathe in for the count of four, hold for four and breathe out for four… But you will find the way that works for you. There are no hard and fast rules here and no judging! When you feel comfortable you can move into the field with your horse. Make sure you feel safe and secure with whichever horses are present. I tend to sit on a log which luckily for me is already in the field. But use what you feel happy with.
Begin your breathing routine again and ignore the urge to call your horse over! He/she will no doubt be over before long, curiosity will get the better of them. Keep your breathing relaxed, your body soft. Very often the horse will approach and hang their head close to you. their breathing mirroring yours. They may just stand closer to you, or wonder what the heck you are doing… (Let’s face it, most times you enter the field its either with a head collar or a wheelbarrow!) After a few sessions you may develop a routine where you both just hang out and meditate together. It can be a wonderful way to spend quality time with your horse, no pressure, no training, just being.
This method is an excellent way to reconnect with your horse. Increase the pair bond between you, build up trust and confidence in each other. As you become more accustomed to this practice, you may find problems and issues you had with your horse and training for example simply melt away. It may lead you to question certain areas of your horse’s lifestyle, your goals, even in other areas of your life may present themselves to scrutiny and wanting change.
“Quiet the mind, and the soul will speak.”
Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati
Good Luck and Happy meditating.