Merriam-Webster defines failure as "an omission of occurrence or performance" or "a lack of success" or "falling short".
"I cannot emphasize enough the importance of the education of the rider's mind and attitude. The life of an equestrian involves one's personal inner life and values, and one's ethics and character traits. There is no question that horsemanship is a science of many branches."
-Charles de Kunffy
The Ethics and Passions of Dressage
If you think back to some of your best memories either on horseback or around horses, I would bet that the most memorable are moments that you were incredibly present - not worrying about the past or the future but simply living in the moment and connecting to your horse on an emotional and spiritual level. One of my best memories was when my mare, Jypsy Rose, was four years old. At that age she was a pretty free spirited youngster, prone to tension, nerves and spookiness. One day when it was time to ride her, the sky opened up and a torrential downpour ensued. On the roof of the covered arena, the sound was deafening. You could not even hear yourself think! (Which turned out to be a beautiful thing!) I nervously hopped on her and proceeded to have the most harmonious and beautiful ride I had ever had on her. We were so connected. At that time I had to have the white noise of the rain shower to drown out the sometimes obnoxious voices in my head telling me that I wasn't doing something right, or that I was no doubt ruining my horse. Negative self talk and never feeling like enough were always challenging obstacles for me but in that moment it all disappeared and my horse and I connected in a beautiful and intimate way.
By being in the present moment, we allow ourselves to truly experience the beauty (or sometimes the pain) in each moment. When we stay present in the saddle, we can open our minds and bodies in a way that we can connect to our equine partners. We can feel their bodies, their crookedness or tension and be open and calm enough to make corrections from moment to moment. When we align the horse, feel them moving forward and over the back, we can feel that openness in our own bodies as well. Much of riding is based on feel...what do you feel in your own body that your horse is communicating to you through his?
By entering into a meditation practice, you begin to come aware of thoughts, feelings, emotions and physical sensations that arise in the body. As a rider, we must remain present in order to be able to best communicate with our horse. Otherwise, the ego can take over and it's imperative that we do not allow the ego to control ourselves when we work around horses. When the ego takes over, harmony and empathy is lost.
This week I encourage you all to check in with yourself throughout your rides and make sure that you are staying present. Notice the thoughts and feelings that arise in your body and acknowledge them. Getting to know yourself in this deep way, focusing on your inner values, will open the doors for you to become the rider and human being that you've always wanted to be.
I send you love and light! Until next time,
Welcome to the very first Mindful Riding Blog post! For way too long now, I have wanted to start a blog and I've always been held back for one reason or another but for 2017 I have decided to just go for it! For much of 2016, ideas for my Mindful Riding program have been floating around in my head. My website has been under construction for most of that time and I can't even tell you how many notebooks and journals I have filled with ideas, stories and components that I want to include in this program. As with most perfectionists, I tend to not move forward with something until I feel that it is 100% under control... the website absolutely perfect, every word checked and double checked that it is the ideal word to convey the message I am trying to share. Again, as with most perfectionists, I can be very critical on myself if I feel that I don't meet my (sometimes unrealistic) standards. Unfortunately this is how so many good things don't come to fruition so for 2017 one of my resolutions is to make Mindful Riding a reality!
Over the last two years, I have been working to better myself while on a path of personal development and spirituality. What does that mean, you say? Probably the most important part has been starting a meditation practice which, for the most part, I keep regularly although sometimes finding even ten minutes of quiet, alone time with a very active toddler and a busy horse business can be challenging! I have begun a mindfulness practice as well and being able to bring myself back to the present moment has been a game changer in the way I see problems and stress.
I believe that in the journey to become the person we want to be...the person filled with love, warmth, compassion, empathy and kindness, the first step is to make ourselves open. We must make a conscious decision that we will make ourselves open to the process of change. The first step in mindfulness it to be conscious of our awareness. Sometimes the path of change can be scary and many people go through life on autopilot because they are so afraid of the unknown. Delving into one's own mind can be a daunting endeavor and sometimes it can bring up past pain and hurt but the goal through mindfulness practice is to be aware of what comes up, and sit with it in non judgement. This is how healing begins. Changing limiting beliefs can be very difficult but if you make the decision today for 2017 that you are going to be the best you that you can be, you will be amazed at how much your life can change for the better!
I hope with this blog that I can perhaps, open some new paths of self discovery for you and for myself as well. Publishing this blog will be a opportunity for me to face fear and vulnerability, things that, like most people I find very uncomfortable. This is how we grow - put yourself out there! Don't wait for everything to be perfect before you share your creativity with the world, otherwise it may never happen.
So, I encourage you all to think about your resolutions for 2017. I always liked the word resolution...a noun typically meaning "a firm decision to do or not do something". There is also a definition of the word as it relates to music, "resolution is the move of a note or chord from dissonance (an unstable sound) to a consonance (a more final or stable sounding one)." I like this definition so as we use our resolutions to come more into harmony and balance in our lives, we can liken it to creating beautiful music. So, let's make beautiful music in 2017!
Life is an incredible journey and I encourage you all to live it!