Thursday, January 29, 2015

Yoga practice for you and your horse.

A yoga practice is good for you and good for your horse.  Just as we experience the emotional and physical benefits of a yoga practice so does our equine friend benefit from the slow deep stretches and focussed movements.  Add to this the sharing of energy which occurs between rider and horse and you have a winning combination.
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Horses respond to gentle stretches like we do; they enjoy the sensations provoked by the stretch and correspondingly they mentally and physically become more relaxed.  
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The self awareness, relaxation, and heightened sensitivity you experience through your own yoga practice can be shared  and reciprocated with your equine partner.    This sharing of energy, or prana, is a unique gift horses generously give to us. There are numerous testimonials and videos of this wondrous interchange between riders and horses on the internet.  I would like to share my personal experience with you and delve deeper into the yogic connection we can all share with our equine friends.IMG_1407.JPG

As responsible riders we strive to be sensitive to the physical and emotional signals our horses are continuously communicating to us.  For example, this morning my daughter was riding our 5 year old gelding , bareback except for the vaulting surcingle and cinch.  Half-Pint ( our gelding) near the end of the training session started to swing his head back to his  left and right shoulder in an agitated fashion.  My daughter, after experiencing this a few times came to a halt and asked if something was pinching or hurting Half-Pint.  This was a great example of the rider, being present and aware and, just as importantly sensitive, to the horse’s signals.  Half-Pint was not being naughty or obstinate, he was telling his rider he was in pain.  Sure enough the cinch was rubbing him raw in two spots.

This was an wonderful demonstration of the rider expanding her own awareness to encompass her horse and interpret correctly the non-verbal cues her mount was giving to her.  My daughter’s mind and spirit was focussed solely on Half-Pint and  she was able to divine very quickly what Half-Pint was signaling.  

A yoga practice helps us to quiet our minds so that we can better practice one-pointed focus and concentration.  As we learn to silence the chaos in our minds we are able to better ground ourselves emotionally and this translates to better communication with our horse.  IMG_1410.JPG

Horses respond like to like; that is when we are calm, they are calm, conversely when we are nervous they are nervous.  Further, when we have quieted the chaos of our thoughts and emotions we can better access our intuitive senses and reach out to our horses.
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So, take your yoga practice from the mat to the arena and have fun with your horse.
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