Horses are present moment thinkers, and for all of us working with them, it means putting our internal stream of thoughts on pause to get something accomplished with them. The goal of any good horseman or woman is to tap into the horse’s nature and influence it. To teach it to become a more brilliant creature that it would’ve been on its own. On a moment to moment basis, there are times that we are more focused than others. Sometimes we tune out things we don’t want to deal with. The routine can become mundane and sometimes we can get away with coasting along and being vague with our routine.
There are also times in our lives that stand out, great rides that we’ve had under
pressure in the show arena where we rose to the occasion and responded precisely and correctly to the challenge at hand. These heightened moments of awareness (HMA’S) align us with a higher vibration. These moments that get us hooked, and the memory of these moments can serve to drive us when we‘re not quite there.
I first started experiencing these HMA’S in the reining arena. I became so keyed into my horse that my perception would change. I lost sense of time and space, becoming laser focused, and often was able to pull off great rides on horses we knew were tricky or had certain weaknesses. At first these moments of ecstasy were fleeting; I even felt myself get grumpy when reality started beaconing me back. It made me want to show even more so I could find that feeling again.
It wasn’t until I hit a plateau in my career that I was forced to dig deeper. Why did these moments of peace and clarity only happen in the show arena, and why were they so fleeting? If I was no longer able to be successful as a showman, would I ever find that feeling again? At that moment, I realized I was a slave to my sport, chasing victory that was so fleeting.
After quite a bit of soul searching, I determined that there is nothing that makes the moments in the show arena any more important than any other moment except for my perception of it. I began paying more attention to the ordinary moments and found there is always something of importance going on in the present that deserves my attention. That change in my mind was liberating; I began to experience more of the ordinary moments. I became less afraid of what might go wrong and began to let go of the desire to control things (that of course I couldn’t). My relationship with horses and people got better, and I became more at peace.
“The journey is what brings us happiness, not the destination.” - Dan Millman, Author of The Way of the Peaceful Warrior
All we have is here, now, this moment. Now I try to approach each horse and each day with this mantra in mind. It has made me more receptive and understanding of the horses, and I‘m grateful for every day that I get to spend with them, doing what I love. Another one of life’s lessons, best taught by the horse.