The topic of energy is a vast one and how it is we define energy means and our understanding of it is going to mean different things for different people. In the horse world, we also use the word “energy” freely in a variety of different contexts. We are often actively considering our energy when it comes to responding to our horses. We consider the use of energy to be an important part of making requests of our horses and the application of the aids. And we understand that the energy that we bring to each, and every interaction has implications on both what we experience and the outcomes that we create.
… and yet for many of us, exactly what that looks like when it comes to working with our horses remains ambiguous.
When we are asked what it means to both raise or lower energy, most people alter their posture and their outward presentation. But this is really very little to do with true energy flow and adaptation, and much more about our association we what we *think* it should mean. Another form of control dressed in costume.
An important start point when considering energy and its application to action is first to define what it is we’re talking about. We might not be able to reach out and physically catch it, but we can witness its physical manifestation. In my understanding, available energy is when the body, horse or human, is able to pulse, vibrate and pump. Where there is fascial vibration, body pulsation and neural innervation that allows information in its every manifestation to be transported and transformed.
Where we come unstuck is through thinking energy creation and manipulation is a conscious process. But it’s not. Energy is a function of the unconscious. It just, well, is. Responding with appropriate energy lies in coordination with our bodies ability to accurately respond to the environment and situation we are in. Which all traces back to nervous system adaptability.
What’s more, the cultivation of energy is a sensory process, not a cognitive one. If I am trying to control my energy consciously, I am using my frontal lobe to do so. It takes a lot of, errmm, energy for my frontal lobe to relate me to my environment, when this would normally be a function of my sensory motor cortex.
Why it’s confusing is, paradoxically, exactly because we aren’t supposed to be thinking about it.
When I consider energy and intention, the only thing I can control is my thought and the action that supports it. For my energy to match the needs of me / my horse / my life, I need to make sure that I have my nervous system in a good place, so it’s taking care of business for me.
Energy change happens faster than the speed of thought. Our senses can keep up but our thoughts can’t. And they’re not supposed to.
Practice gaining awareness, taking appropriate and consistent action, and developing the clarity of thought that supports them. Then take care of your sensory system, so the unconscious wisdom of your body has what it needs to take care of the energy for you (a bigger conversation we can have another day).
This is the sort of thing we explore directly in JoyRide. If you have questions, please feel free to shout out!