If you’ve read any of my posts or grabbed a free copy of my 10-Minute Toolkit, you know I’m all about awareness. (And if you haven’t gotten your 10-Minute Toolkit yet, you can do so HERE.)
Awareness means experiencing life as it happens. Too often we get caught up in our to-do list, the news, pressures at work, and now, stressing over the changes the coronavirus has wreaked in our lives. I don’t know about you, but I find it all too easy to go and feed my horses, do a brief health check, do fly spray, do fly masks, do their water and be on my way. The only trouble with all of this doing is that I’m often on autopilot.
Ever had one of those moments where you can’t remember if you shut off the stove before you left the house? That’s a classic example of “unawareness”. And to be honest, being “unaware” is like putting blinders on. We miss experiencing our life right now because we’re caught up in what we did, what we have to do, and when, where, and how we’re going to do it.
On the flip side, awareness can mean you notice birds singing when you wake up, how good food tastes, and just how much your horse loves having his belly scratched. Awareness at the barn translates into a more enjoyable time for you and your horse.
Awareness can take some practice, but the rewards you reap will add up exponentially, both in the barn and beyond. There are apps and alarms and reminders we can use (more on that in a later post), but there are plenty of low-tech/no-tech ways for you to become more aware of what’s going on in your Horsey Life.
Yup. I said it. Before you close your browser and carry on with your (unaware) day, hear me out. Meditation can be as simple as stopping and breathing in and out 2 or 3 times while paying attention to your breath. You don’t have to go to an ashram, sit in lotus position, or even do some fancy breathing exercise – just breathe normally and focus on where you feel your breath. In your nose, as you inhale? Does your chest rise and fall? Notice that and you’ve taken your first step toward becoming more aware.
To carry that exercise directly to your Horsey Life, stand next to your horse and watch him breathe. (If you’re in the habit of tracking his Temperature, Pulse, and Respiration (TPR), you’ll be able to do this easily. If not, there are a few ways to watch his breath, just as there are for watching your own breath. You can watch his nostrils, or you can watch his rib cage rise and fall. You don’t have to count anything (so no need to use your high-tech watch’s timer feature).
Once you’ve got this down, go a little deeper with your observation. Instead of just noticing when he breathes in and out, notice his expression, his ears, how he’s standing. Take in the whole picture. I find it helpful to look at my horses like I need to describe them to someone – size and color, sure, but also general temperament, favorite spot(s) to be scratched, and any goofy habits – like being a water hog, (more on that in another post).
So take a few breaths, head out to the barn, and pay special attention to your horse. You’ll both enjoy it.