Knowing When To Step Away – Horse Training Isn’t Always About The Horse
Knowing when to step away from a situation and do some inner reflecting can be just as powerful for your horse training as time spent in active training sessions.
Our state of mind directly affects how we will react/interact (or not) with our horses. Understanding how our horses sense and react to our state of mind is an essential component of animal communication. Animals are very sensitive to body language and whether you know it or not, how you feel at any given moment is readily sensed by your horse through your posture, tone of voice and energy level.
We can’t all be 100% positive 100% of the time.
We all have bad days along with the good. Would it be great to be positive all the time? SURE! But that’s just a bit unrealistic. Even your horse will have good and bad days. Each day we have to take stock and adjust how we interact with our horses based on what side of the hay bale they wake up on. Some days your horse is sweet as pie and other days they are pushing every button they can find on you!
In horse training, you, “Adjust to fit the situation, and the situation is the horse” as Pat Parelli is so very fond of saying.
A friend and client of mine recently told me about how she had to make the choice to stay away from her horses for a few days. When I asked her why, she explained that her week had been an emotional roller coaster and because of her state of mind she would have done more harm to her relationship with her horses than good.
Better use of time:
She felt her time would be better spent stepping back and doing some things that would help her relax and refocus herself. When she told me that, I thought to myself about the times I had gone out to do something with the horses right after having an argument with my teenage daughter and then gotten really frustrated with my left-brained extrovert gelding!
Instead of channeling his energy like I had been taught. I would pick fights with him, expect obedience without first doing what he needed to become calm, connected and responsive.
Before you decide to go out to play with your horses, do a mental checklist of where you are at emotionally, mentally and physically. If your checklist falls short take some “you” time. We get so busy with work and family, just dealing with the day to day living, that we forget sometimes to take care of ourselves. Put a “Do Not Disturb” sign up on the bathroom door and draw yourself a hot soothing bath.
Add some Peace & Calming or some Lavender essential oils to the diffuser for some soothing aromatherapy. Sit down with a cup of hot chamomile tea and read a book for an hour or two. Whatever you need to do to bring some inner peace and relaxation to your day.
If you are like me and you find it hard to get quiet time while you are in the house, instead of working on the training task that you had planned why not just go spend some undemanding time with your horses. I find some of the most meditative times for me are when I’m out just grooming the horses or sitting down out in the pasture and hanging out for 10 or 20 minutes.
So whether you have horses, run a business, have kids, whatever the situation…remember that in everything you do when interacting with others your frame of mind is going to reflect back at you. Do you have a favorite place you go to de-stress and reflect? Tell us about it in the comment section below.
Lisa Carter is a Certified Equine Massage Therapist (CEMT), with multiple certifications from several different equine bodywork schools. She incorporates her knowledge and experience with Parelli Natural Horsemanship, equine bodywork and as a veterinary technician to provide her clients with the resources they need to make informed decisions for their horses. She encourages and facilitates network building between equine health care professionals, working together to find the best combination of therapies to meet the needs of the “whole horse”.
Are you ready to get better results with your horse training? Put your equine health care team to work so you and your horse can be doing what you were meant to. Click here to get started!
Lisa, this so true. I work in a very fast-paced, high stress job and am gone 13 hours a day. When I first got involved with horses, I'd come home go right to the barn and it would be a train wreck….the more I learned, the more I knew I had to slow down….not realizing I was still in that "mode". So, I learned to switch gears before I headed to the barn…but then I realized why should I switch gears … it was much better to stay in horse mode ALL the time…so I didn't have to switch gears. For several years now, I can maintain a calm, stress free attitude both in my work and with my horses. So, now when things aren't going in the same manner with my horses, I stop and look at me to see what exactly I'm giving off … they truly are mirrors and sometimes we don't like what we see … but it does give us an opportunity to change things
Not many people can switch that mindset and apply it throughout all aspects of their lives. That’s a wonderful that you have been so successful with that and that you recognized the importance of it! Congratulations and thank you so much for sharing that insight!