3 exercises to start your rewilding journey

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Your Horse reader and equine-assisted personal development facilitator Emma Ross shares three ways you can deepen your bond with your horse through rewilding.

Learn to listen

One of the core values to rewilding is to truly hear our horse – not what we want to hear, but what his needs are.

This can be challenging as it asks you to face what you want from your horse versus his needs. To get started, consider how you’re listening to your horse.

Do you assume you know what he’s saying, or do you actually take the time to notice his behaviour? Is your mind busy or focused on your horse in that moment?

Think of a time when you’ve been stressed, then someone starts talking to you about something completely different.

You can hear the words, but can’t take on board what they’re saying. You may even misunderstand them. It’s easy to be distracted by our thoughts and feelings, rather than just being in the moment.

Now think of a time when you were telling someone something important and they listened and supported you. What was it like to have their full attention?

The way you handle conversations with your horse is no different and he’ll appreciate you listening.

Check yourself

This exercise helps you to acknowledge where you are emotionally before you greet your horse or ask anything of him:

  • Stop and take a couple of slow breaths in and out, giving yourself permission to be still for a couple of minutes. Become aware of your feet standing solid on the ground.

  • Ask yourself how you feel right now. Try not to think about the answer; instead let yourself feel it. Your mind ma be distracted by events from the day or your long ‘to do’ list. Do you feel stressed or relaxed, or something else? Just notice it, with no judgement on why you feel like this. By giving yourself the time to acknowledge how you feel, you allow yourself the opportunity to make an informed choice about how you want to show up to your horse.

  • You may recognise that you aren’t in a good space and this will give you the chance to take responsibility for that, rather than taking it out on your horse.

  • Once you’ve noticed how you’re feeling, take another couple of slow breaths in and out and then bring your attention down into your feet and feel the ground beneath you. Just taking half a minute to come back to yourself means you’ll feel in a better place.

Slow down

The last exercise is all about time. As modern, fast-paced humans we lead busy lives that require a lot from our minds.

We have countless things to do at work, at home and in our social lives. And, of course, we need to find time for our horses.

We work to the clock, with time limits on how long we can spend doing each thing.

Horses don’t have that same reality and when given the choice to live in a natural state they do so at a much slower pace than us. So consider where your horse is at when you turn up at the stables and walk into his space.

He might be dozing, and to suddenly have a busy human buzzing around him will feel jarring. Most horses are very tolerant of this, but by slowing down you will notice how much you’re affecting him.

Just because he has the ability to be tolerant with you doesn’t mean that he should! We have a responsibility towards our horses and these small levels of awareness can make all the difference to our relationship with them.

Find out more about Emma’s story in the full article in issue 458.

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