Photo by Elodie Girard-Meehan
To the horse, all movements communicate something as everything has meaning to him. The stronger the connection between horse and human, the quieter the conversation will be. Everything we do is noticed ….this is how horses make sense of their world with us in it.
So when we think we are “just” moving him from the pasture to the barn or “just” cleaning feet or “just” throwing him a flake of hay or "just" grooming him, we need to be mindful of exactly what and how we are doing these things….. because for the horse it’s all a conversation.
One of these conversations that is most important to me is when I groom or saddle my horse. I believe if you attend to other things that call your attention away from these special times with your horse, you need to ask yourself ”Is this then mindful conversation?”
It is difficult to find anyone who can engage in a conversation with me while I am with my horse. It is very important to me to shut down my attention to everything around me other than what I am doing. I do not talk to anyone..I don’t attend to anything else…there is nothing that can take my attention away. I can then have a mindful conversation with him…and our conversation is private.
This conversation while grooming becomes intimate, as I mindfully read his eye and the tone of his skin. I become aware if he is relaxed or if there is tension in his body? I am mindful if he is connected to me. The conversation includes grooming slowly and mindfully and always keeping one hand on him while the brush is moving with the other.
I continue to be in this moment when I saddle him as the conversation continues with each loosening of a buckle, each positioning of the saddle, each time I tighten the girth, every part of this exercise is mindful as I respect the conversation that we are having.
The first step, I believe in developing an excellent relationship with your horse is to have mindful conversations with him. Everything means something to your horse and becoming aware of the importance of grooming and saddling as examples is a very good start. Make it mindful and exclusive to everything and everyone around you. Let's face it, you can always talk to your friends but this is a very special time of "speaking" with your partner and I guarantee you that it will transfer to your session with him. ~JG~