I remember at one point walking around the indoor arena with Dee last week and realizing that I needed to bring the focus back to myself. Naturally, we need to pay attention to what our horses are doing, but in many instances (especially in situations where we are away from home or outside of our usual training environment) it becomes all about them- what they are reacting to, where their focus is, how they are behaving- and we forget to pay attention to how we are interacting and responding also.
In JoyRide of late, we’ve been having lots of discussions on brain mapping and how it is we can bring the body into a mode of parasympathetic dominance so that we are responding accurately to the moment, and not getting caught up in stories or labels that cause us to react reflexively (meaning that we have no option but to respond in similar ways to what we always have). I’ll be talking more on this later as I’m currently updating my program to include this work officially but having personally practiced these techniques for the last 12 months, I’ve found them to be a total game-changer.
So, as I walked around the arena with Dee at my side, I turned the spotlight back to myself. I observed the structure of my body- the position of my tongue, my shoulder blades, my tail bone- to gain more information about where my nervous system is sitting. How our bones are positioned is the most accurate indicator of whether we are in the midst of a flight/ fight response and learning to read your body in this way is enlightening and empowering.
From there, I focused on two points of awareness, giving my unconscious brain more information about the reality of my moment, and at the same time disengaging from the seduction of my emotional brain that loves to work with stories and labels.
This allowed me to feel clear, present and to ensure that my own nervous system wasn’t contributing to any dis-ease that my horse might have been experiencing.
Observing your own patterns and habits and dealing to those first is liberating in ways it’s hard to predict or describe. In doing so, we free ourselves from needing to control outside circumstances and situations and can instead channel that energy to more productive purposes- taking charge and care of ourselves.