Here are some tips on how to be more present in the moment with your horse:
1. Start with a Compassionate Mindset
Truly believe that your horse doesn’t deliberately plot to behave negatively. Have compassion for your horse, and also for yourself! Each day start with a fresh slate. Embrace a mindset of compassion, teamwork, and best intentions.
2. Have a Plan
Do you have a plan for your ride? For your goals with your horse? Having a plan for what you hope to accomplish, and a plan for when things don’t go as expected, will help you to not react emotionally, and instead react positively when you encounter obstacles.
3. Remove Distractions
If you know that you will be tempted to check your phone, don’t bring it to the barn, or at least turn the notifications off. Commit to being in the moment with your horse, and being focused and aware while you ride.
4. Practice Being Mindful
When you are with your horse, be in the moment. Pay attention to environment around you. Be aware of your thoughts and feelings. Notice how your horse feels beneath you. Observe how your horse responds. This takes practice to learn and make it a habit!
When you find yourself getting off track, stop and breathe. If you need to, get off your horse and take a break. If you are upset, anxious, frustrated, or angry, your horse probably is too. Take a deep breath (or two or ten), clear your mind, and analyze the situation without judgment. Once you (and your horse) have calmed down, start over again. If you can recognize that the situation is starting to get out of control early on, you can prevent getting into a fight or negative situation.
Try practicing these 5 simple steps to be more mindful that next time that you are with your horse. Let me know how it goes!