Being with horses helps me feel calm, fulfilled, 'seen' for who I am... all the things that a busy modern life can take away. Partly, that's because with horses, there's no faking it.
Horses have no pretenses, and they see straight through ours.
Horses can hear our heartbeat from 4 feet away… I’m sure they can feel our heart’s magnetic field (which has a 3 foot radius) too. In the photo below photo our heart fields overlap and Juno feels exactly what my emotional state is… no wonder I feel safe.
Everything horses do is authentic, and I always work to be authentic around them - even when that means saying "Sorry, I am an emotional mess today, please bear with me".
Juno has taught me to pause and breathe before approaching her - I don’t have to be perfectly zen, I just have to be self aware.
In the past I often rushed to the field straight from my desk with a busy mind and not enough time; and she turned away, sometimes even pinning her ears back slightly. I realised that a drawing of my inner state would be a big black scribble - fair enough that she didn’t want to be close to that!
Sometimes I am so excited the drawing would be yellow sparks - she doesn’t mind that but still looks at me sideways like ‘everything alright there woman?’
Sometimes the drawing would be cool blue water, and she turns to me with calm eyes and touches me with soft nostrils.
Don’t you think that if we pay attention, our horses can help us be better humans, better versions of ourselves, through self awareness and a will to do better?
To know that your horse sees you without distortion, and accept you, is liberating and empowering. That isn't to say we shouldn't try to bring our best selves to be with them - we always should strive to be calm, well meaning and full of positive energy - it just means that when we can't, we need to be honest about it.
Sometimes, that means walking away. Or choosing something less demanding to do on days you are fragile. Just like they say 'work with the horse you have on the day', we should work with the 'us' we have on the day too!
Its ok to show your fear too, a horse will be much calmer if you say hey, sorry, I have some fear about what we are about to do, but I trust you and know you will do an amazing job, than if you try to hide it and "kick on".
Riding horses gives us access to an entirely new level of power and beauty. From soaring over a jump to galloping along the beach with salt spray in your face, they allow us to share in their incredible existence.
In return, I enjoy providing for my horses so much, from trimming hooves and feeding out, to ensuring they have the right saddle and are comfortable in their tack.
It is so fulfilling just watching them eat their hay each morning with their eyes closed in bliss and the occasional soft touch of their nose against my leg. I love seeing them thrive and shine and play in the field.
... and being cared for.
After a few years focusing on calming my inner state for Juno, Juno began taking care of me. We'd arrive at a show and with my mind on the clock I would step into the trailer to unload her quickly... She consistently placed her head gently into my chest (heart) area and stood very still, eyes closed. I felt her saying - just hold up lady, lets calm the farm before we do this. I'd wrap my arms around her and we'd stand still, holding space for each other.
Now she often turns to me in the field or when I am picking her hooves or grooming, bathing or feeding her and does the same. Stop a minute, let's breathe.
I told my coach and she laughed - "it's about time she started calming you down, you've been doing it for her for years!" How lovely to think that my horse chooses to take time with me, in the midst of free time, and show time!
Be true to who you are, and enjoy your horses!
I try to remember to stay in the curious, trusting, adventurous mindset that I had as a teenager learning to ride, and I honestly think that this, along with striving to improve, gives my horses a good partner in everything we attempt.
I take great joy seeing my horses overcome their fears through trust in me, and bravely explore new things. And I remind myself to place my trust in them, and bravely explore new things myself - like jumping higher, or taking the bridle off, or entering a competition!
The point is to enjoy your time with horses ... all the other goals are secondary 💕
All photos by the beautiful and clever Violet Creations.