July 24, 2022 Written by Rachel Ory
Horses are present-moment thinkers, and for anyone working with them, it’s going to mean putting irrelevant thoughts on pause to get something accomplished. The goal of any good horse(wo)man is to tap into the horse’s nature and be able to influence it, but in order to be successful, we have to think like a horse. Horses don't spend time in absent thought about the past or future, they are aware of the present moment and ready to take any action necessary for survival. If we're busy thinking about drama from the workday or other decisions that we have to make, it means we aren't on the same vibration as our horse. We aren't going to communicate effectively, and the potential to get hurt is greater. At first glance, the ability to get in the present moment at any time seems like wishful thinking; read on for my experience with developing these skills.
If we're honest, there are times that we are more focused than others. There are also times when we are "in the zone" and may experience moments of heightened awareness where we feel totally aligned and on a higher vibration. I experienced shifts in perception between the "ordinary moments" and ones that I placed more value on. These heightened moments of awareness were the ones that got me hooked on training horses, and they also drove me crazy when I failed to get there.
I first started experiencing these heightened moments of awareness in the reining arena. I felt so keyed into my horse that my perception would change. I would
loose sense of time and space (surroundings) and often came up with rides that seemed genius on horses we knew were tricky or had a weakness. At first these moments were fleeting, and they 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? The realization: There is nothing that makes a moment 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 going on in the present that deserves my attention. We may not have control over the thoughts that enter our mind, but we can choose what to focus on and what to let pass. When we apply this theory to the ordinary moments of life, perspective begins to shift.
It was liberating; I began to experience more of the ordinary moments with presence and clarity, and found that there is never nothing going on. I became less afraid of what might go wrong and let go of a desire to control things that I couldn’t. My relationships with people and horses got better, and I became more at peace. All we have is here, now, this moment. Are we paying attention to it? At a time when we're all looking to reach our highest potential, looking inward is going to be the key to making a positive shift. Yet another one of life’s lessons best learned from the horse.