Incorporating energy work into your horse’s training sessions

Learn how the art of equine energy exchange can enhance the development of your horse’s skills and improve his well-being.

Many people look for a catch-all approach when it comes to training horses. They want a quick and easy fix that will work for all horses. Unfortunately, despite what you might have heard, an easy fix doesn’t exist. But there is one commonly overlooked and simple step we can take as we work with our horses — simply to share space with them. Finding time to “be” with your horse works wonders and pays dividends. It’s the pause between activities that brings us understanding, trust, and ultimately clarity for the way forward. Dropping from your head into your heart allows you to feel instead of formulate, and uses energy to shape the horse’s behavior and mental state.

Taking the time to connect

We often come to our horses with little time to spare. The majority of us are under some kind of time pressure from a busy schedule or a full calendar of horse performance commitments. We are a nation of agenda-driven individuals, hard pressed to justify taking time for ourselves let alone our horses.

But without this attention and time wisely spent with our equine companions, they become yet another neglected obligation – a burden to be carried instead of the joy and gift they were meant to be. And in turn, their own lives become void of the very things we admire about them in the first place.

So how can you maximize on the time you share with your horse? “Love lessons” refers to a language based on energy and communication, and is a great way to connect with your horse at any time. It will change the way you approach your training sessions, making you feel less goal-driven, and more able to bond on a deeper level. To get started, try moving through the following steps with your horse. As you proceed, take note of how his mood – and your own – starts to shift.

1. Breathe

In the presence of your horse, take some deep belly breaths. Allow all of your thoughts to dissolve. Put the past behind you and let your worries drift away. Center yourself by connecting to the earth, releasing tension, and encouraging both your your body and mind to feel more relaxed. Bring yourself into the present moment by aligning your body, mind and spirit, and focusing on your surroundings. Remember that only when your mind is quiet can you meet your horse and access his silent language.

Making sure your horse can see your eyes will help him understand and connect with your thought process. He will gain insights and comfort as he sees beyond your physical presence. To deepen this connection, remove your gloves so you can feel one another’s skin. This, combined with eye contact, will help him realize your intentions. As the old adage goes – your eyes are the windows to the soul.

As you continue to connect through your breath, make an effort to drop into your heart. You can do this by focusing your attention on your heart or placing your hands over your heart. At this point, you can use color visualizations (close your eyes and imagine colors in your mind’s eye) and imagine positive energy running through both you and your horse. Throughout this exercise, come from a place of love and be prepared to share this love with your equine companion.

2. Establish a heart-to-heart connection

Ask to step into your horse’s nearside (left) shoulder before placing your right hand, palm open, at the base of the withers. This is known as the horse’s heart chakra. When riding, you find yourself seated on this area and thus horses can feel not only every nuance of your body movement, but also the flow of your energy. Allow your hand to rest there as you bring yourself back into the present moment. Stand so that your own heart chakra (the middle of your chest) is facing his, and bask in the heart-to-heart connection that’s created between you.

You may choose to:

  • Visualize light going through your crown (the top of your head) and through the palm of your hands to your horse
  • Say a mantra or prayer in your mind
  • Simply “be”.

3. Connect with his second heart chakra

Place your second hand on your horse’s Brachial Chakra, which is located on his scapula (shoulder blade — see chart below).  Take your time to feel the energy flow, and allow a minute for both of you to adjust to each other’s unique energies.

Watch as he softens and shows you signs of relaxation such as:

  • Blinking and closing eyes
  • Floppy ears
  • Licking and chewing
  • Yawning
  • Drooling
  • Snorting
  • Head dropping and relaxation
  • Skin softening
  • Relaxed hind foot
  • Tummy gurgling
  • Passing gas
  • Falling asleep
  • Rocking
  • Stretching

When the time feels “right”, gently and slowly move your hand towards the second heart chakra located between your horse’s shoulder blades. You will find a divot there for your hand to rest on. By moving your hand toward this area at a relaxed pace, you naturally ask for your horse’s permission. If he declines, simply return to the brachial chakra. Wherever your hand lands, stand in silence and strive to connect with him on a deeper level.

Ultimately, this silent language of love sets the stage for a genuine partnership between you and your horse. It will help you both be more receptive to training, and deepen the connection you share. Try using energy work in your next session and see how he responds!