How meditation makes you a better rider

Meditation helps you quiet your mind and find mental focus. That’s a great state to be in when riding or being with your horse.

We humans are constantly thinking. There is nothing wrong with thinking, the problem is that most of our thoughts are just “happening” subconsciously, and they keep us from being fully present with our horses. Often you will find yourself doing something, but your mind is somewhere else – for instance, thinking about what you need at the grocery store, or a conversation you had with someone yesterday. Meditation can help rid our brain of those thoughts so that we can be more present.

The problem with unconscious thought

Most of the thoughts that run through our minds are repetitive. Most thoughts also illicit an emotion, like anxiety or self-doubt. They are creating an internal agitation that you’re probably not aware of. More often than not, your horse will sense this and will have a harder time connecting with you. It’s almost as if these thoughts create a layer of fog around you that’s difficult for your horse to penetrate. He might try to listen to you, but gets so many messages that it’s hard for him to understand what you are trying to communicate.

You have probably experienced that when riding. You felt you were doing things technically correctly, but your horse didn’t listen; it just didn’t work because you couldn’t connect.

Learning from our horses

Horses don’t experience repetitive thoughts like humans do, so they are naturally much more present in the moment. That’s why horses enjoy being around people who are able to silence their minds. It creates a quiet, safe space for them. As humans, we can learn from horses how to be more present.

Here is a simple meditation exercise that can give you a taste of what meditation can do for you:

  1. Sit upright on a chair and close your eyes. Place your hands on your abdomen. Take a few long exhalations with the intent of letting go.
  2. Focus on the rise and fall of your abdomen as you breathe. If there are thoughts and emotions, just let them come and go, then gently bring your attention back to your breathing.
  3. Do this for a few minutes. Feel the effect. You might feel calmer, more grounded, more internalized.

Meditation requires practice. You will get the full benefit if you do a few minutes of this every morning.

Meditate with your horse

You can do a similar exercise with your equine companion.

Stand next to your horse with your eyes half closed. Focus on your belly breathing as in the exercise above. Feel into the effect. You will probably start feeling calmer, more grounded, internalized, but also more ready to connect to your horse from this no-mind state. This is a great exercise to do after a stressful day.

From this quiet standpoint, feel your horse, feel his grounded energy and his breathing. Quietly enjoy this connection with your horse.

This can be a very rewarding exercise that creates a deep connection between you and your horse.

To make this even easier, click here to download a free meditation audio that you can follow to meditate with your horse.