5 Benefits of Working with Horses
Horses Don’t Play Chess
Horses live moment to moment. They do not strategize and think many steps ahead. They graze, they play, they rest. Horses are 100% present and honest. If they are happy to see you, they will let you know. There is never a hidden agenda. They don’t know how to be otherwise. How much time and energy do we waste on thinking about our next move or next conversation? And how often does our idea go exactly as planned? Rarely. Whether at work or at home, we have a hard time quieting our minds and letting situations flow.
In his NY Times bestselling book The Power of Now, author Eckhart Tolle https://eckharttolle.com/ writes about the human condition of ‘thinking’ as a disease because we have let it get out of balance. We tend to think and live in the past and the future, completely dismissing the present moment, which is the one we are actually living! Being around horses and in nature can really help us practice living and enjoying the present moment.
Horses Are Un-Plugged
Working with horses gives us the opportunity to silence our cell phones and get off the computer. When I work or ride one of my horses, I try to leave my cell phone in my locker. It’s not safe or productive to have so much divided attention. We often speak about multi-tasking with pride, but is it really such a good thing? The constant barrage of information keeps us in a high stress environment. It is nice to be able to take a break from the beeping phones and enjoy the moment in nature with a living animal that often desires your attention. It is also nice not to have to worry about battery life and how many ‘bars’ you have on your phone. Golf, and other sports and outdoor activities have similar benefits as long as you intentionally leave the phone in the car!
Horses Don’t Have “To-Do” Lists
It’s understandable that ‘to-do’ lists help us stay organized and get tasks accomplished. However, many of us (I’m just as guilty!) have made making ‘to-do’ lists an artform. Scheduling software, color coded calendars, Facebook notifications, and Siri reminders are just a few of the tools we rely on to keep us on task. They are all wonderful tools but it is also nice to be able to take a break from the lists and obligations. In the past few years, I have had to catch myself from making lists of tasks I’d like to accomplish with my horse. I find that when I go to the barn with a list of expectations and goals for the day, the horses often have their own ideas. When things don’t go according to plan there is a lot of negative energy flowing. Learning to be more flexible and dropping the expectations and to-do lists have made my days with the horses much more pleasant.
Horses Act Like Mirrors
Horses have the amazing ability to put us in our place. They are 100% honest, they don’t need to sugar coat their interactions with us. In this way, we always know where we stand with them. If we think we are good at communication, horses will let us know if that is so. If we think we are good leaders, again, they will let us know. No pretense and no sparing our feelings! This is a very useful to help us grow and understand ourselves better.
We can often see our energy reflected by them. If we are nervous, angry, upset, etc, they may pick up and mimic those feelings, or be more tentative around us. However, we shouldn't pretend to have different feelings other than the ones we are actually having. Horses expect us to be honest with ourselves and with them. Otherwise, they won’t trust us. The old saying of not letting a horse know you are scared is just silly. He/she knew you were scared when you got out of your car! A horse will respond to you much better if you are open and honest.
Horses Don’t Care What You Look Like
No make-up or gym body needed. Horses don’t care if you put on a few pounds over the holidays. They do not care about where you are from or if you speak with an accent. Horses come in all different sizes and colors (as do humans) and they don't judge us by our outer shell. They do, however, care about our energy. We cannot fake our way to good energy. You can fool a human, but you cannot fool a horse. It’s joyful to work with partners that are not judging us and can enjoy us for who we are, regardless of your physical presentation.
To learn more about working with horses, visit us at www.horseandpeopleproject.com