The Rider’s Mind Podcast Episode 136: 4 Blocks Keeping You From Connecting With Your Horse
Simply your intention to connect and create a deeper relationship with your horse is powerful. It really is. But as you go deeper down the road, you might come across a few blocks that are keeping you from going even deeper. And these are the four blocks that I want to talk about today in this episode of the Rider’s Mind Podcast.
Welcome to episode 136. A couple of weeks ago, by the time this episode releases, I had made a post on my facebook page about how a partnership or relationship with your horse is not a requirement to win, and proof in point being that jump jockeys or people that just jump on a barrel horse or any type of horse, jumping horse or reining horse, and they haven’t put in a lot of time or practice or had the time to create a relationship. They can go out there and win, and sometimes it actually even goes better for the jump jockey than it does the owner, because there is no history, there is no resistance or things that they need to work through it all at face value. There’s no anticipation on any part of what the horse might do or the horse thinking what the rider might do because it’s a clean slate. But just because you can get away with that doesn’t mean that that’s what’s right for you: a strong partnership and dialogue back and forth between you and your horse.
It’s not a requirement for winning your competition, but for a lot of us it’s what our hearts actually desire. It’s what we feel. Horsemanship and being a partner with our horse is what it’s about. And if this something, if this is something that is of value to you, then it’s something worth pursuing. It’s something working at, it’s something worth working at. It’s worth recognising what your heart desires, and I will say that I probably ignored what my heart desired for a while. While I focus on what my ego wanted, which was winning, and now, where I’m at, I’m working at being able to combine both in being able to be competitive at barrel racing, but insert whatever your event is. This is not discipline specific by any means, but also carrying out a relationship that feels good, that feels good in my heart, that my horse wants to play with me as much as I want to play with her or him. But what I’ve recognized is that there can be blocks and I’ve experiences along the way that are actually keeping you from connecting with your horse. I’m going to talk about four today. I feel there are a few more likely, but these are the ones that I feel most familiar with and that I have coached people through and have worked through myself. So the first block that I feel that keeps us from being able to connect deeply with our horses is our inability to access or hold or maintain ourselves in the present moment, horses operate for the most part in the present moment. That’s where they are.
If we are thinking about our laundry list or our laundry list, if we’re thinking about our grocery list or how we left the laundry and the washing machine, which you guys might think I do that a lot by now for the amount of time I’ve mentioned it, but it’s just an example of how we can see squirrels, I call them squirrels, where we have all of these thoughts, of how we can, you know, start thinking about riding the next horse home. We’re not even done the one, we haven’t even cooled out, the one that we’re on. We’re moving from the present moment, a lot of people who like to stay busy, who feel uncomfortable resting. That is an indicator that the present moment does not feel comfortable for you. Your nervous system may not feel safe in the present moment if it is associating calm and peace with lack of effort or feeling.
Content can feel uncomfortable for people and content, peace and contentment comes in the present moment and the reason it can feel uncomfortable is if it’s really unfamiliar to you because of stress and business and action, and you know, not letting it does land on you is your normal, then it’s going to feel uncomfortable and so different to be in that present moment when you are just feeling what is happening right now, what you’re experiencing energetically between you and your horse in that moment. And that’s where the zone is in competition really, and this is why practicing mindfulness and practicing meditation, practicing being able to be in the present moment, will help you be able to achieve that.
You want to be able to move into your ideal performance state, but specifically just creating a relationship if we’re just thinking of it in the barn, when you’re brushing your horse, to practice being there with them, instead of just going through the motions of brush, bush, bush, rush, rush, all the saddle, go go, go go to get this ride done. Just going through the motions, thinking about what the appointment that you have to get to after you get this ride done really takes you away from this inability to access and maintain this present moment where really the magic in the connection happens, where you can communicate with so much more ease with your horse, without force, with more understanding.
Now I want to go back to how I was talking about how the present moment can feel uncomfortable if your nervous system is used to being activated. We talked a fair bit about the nervous system and in the previous episode, if your nervous system is used to this activation of of being dialed into the sympathetic, with some activation of stress going on all the time and you move into relaxation and peace, one thing you might find this is what I find is when I slow down, when I actually take a moment, I feel tired, and it’s not because I’m in the present moment that I’m tired is that I’m actually tired and that I need to rest and that I’m using the stress and basically the adrenaline that I’m getting from stress to keep me going, which is which is not healthy. And you can imagine how, if that’s how we roll, if we’re always operating in this sympathetic activation, to stay energized, how we might struggle with our horses in that present moment and wonder why they won’t walk and they want to jog all the time.
Well, what are you doing all the time? Where is your energy, maybe energetically in your nervous system? You’re wired to jog. You are dialed into an energy greater than what you are asking your horse for, and that’s not fair to your horse if they’re tuning into you. So here’s a thing also, as we are working to connect at a deeper level with our horses, they are going to tune into us at a greater, greater level, which is fantastic. But it also increases the owners on us to have our ducks in a row to maintain our energetic health, that we are looking after ourselves. That is because the more we desire them to listen to us, the more we train them to listen to us, the greater responsibility. We have to be communicating clear things without the muddied water in between the interference. So the interference would be the energy that is confusing to the horse. So you want to walk, but your energy, your nervous system, is dialed into some stress of activation and it’s saying trot. So that’s the interference, that energy, your brain is saying you want to walk. Your energy is saying: trot, trot, trot, busy, busy, busy, get this done, got to go, got to get this done, and your hands are saying: walk to the horse. So you can see how this is going to be a block between this interference.
The confusion between is going to be a block keeping you from fully and truly connecting with your horse so that they can really read your energy and that your cues can become lighter and lighter. So part of this practice here is your ability to adapt, regulate your nervous system, but also to be feeling, to feel comfortable in the present moment. And this does take practice and in one of the ways is to start a mindfulness practice. There’s many different ways of doing that.
So the second block that I wanted to talk about was being blocked in your ability to trust yourself. Now this can, This can go deep. This can go back to previous traumas where you were trained basically not to trust your own instincts, because whether it was a caregiver, whether it was the school, whether it was some other authority figure, told you you were wrong for what you were feeling. So if we have gotten ourselves into a habit of listening to someone else over our own thoughts and feelings and our own gut feelings, this can block you from trusting yourself when you’re getting feedback from your horse. It’s going to block you from trusting that you know inside what the right thing to do is. It’s going to block your ability to listen to your heart because you don’t trust what it says, because at some point in your life you expressed possibly some point in your life. You expressed what your heart said, what your instinct said, your intuition, you got a feeling and you were told that you were wrong. So we start to not trust ourselves, also for fear of making a mistake, because if we listen to someone else, an authority figure for example we take a course, take a clinic, and do what they say. I’ll come back to this. How? That’s not bad, but we watch videos when we do that, even though it doesn’t feel quite right. We trust that authority figure because they said it was so and they were convinced that we followed that way, and then that was the way that it should be done.
Now. I also want to say that if you truly resonate with the person that you’re learning from and it feels right in your heart and soul and the results show that your horse is happy and your horse is satisfied, then definitely you want to listen to this authority figure and follow their lead. But as you learn to trust yourself again, as you learn to go back into your heart and be able to trust your intuition and you and your gut, you will not need necessarily know all of the wise, but let your horse communicate with you as you increase your ability to dialogue back and forth, show you whether it’s working for them.
So that was a second block, just the inability to trust yourself. I believe that is going to block you perhaps from connecting with your horse. As you work at trusting yourself, by taking chances, by taking the chance of possibly being wrong, by listening to what your heart says, you will increase your ability to trust yourself and you will receive more inner knowing of what the right step is for you, whether it’s a lining with a different coach, or whether it is trusting what you already know in your inner knowing.
The third block that I wanted to talk about is not having a strong vision of what is possible for yourself, but also being limited because of beliefs of what you have thought was possible for yourself. So sometimes we can have beliefs that are actually holding us back like a limiting belief. So say, for example, if my limiting belief was, groundwork is going to help me win. Groundwork isn’t going to help me win the barrace, if that’s what I believed. Well, that could be something that might be holding me back from increasing my connection with my horse. If groundwork was a place that I could increase connection with my horse if you have not been exposed or seen connection in action, true connection say, even whether it was through liberty or freestyle reining. You know, like bridleless reining, display of some sort of horsemanship, where the connection was clear and you could feel it. You know one of those things that brings tears to your eyes, watching where you see that connection. Well, you wouldn’t know, I guess, if that’s not something you’d ever seen.
So you wouldn’t have that vision or belief of what was possible because you hadn’t seen it. Maybe it’s part of trusting that vision that you had for yourself in a dream or just daydreaming that connection that you had with your horse, but you didn’t trust it. You didn’t trust your own vision now, if you have never seen this, if you don’t know what’s possible, it does make it difficult to cast an energy over the connection that you would like to have or imagine yourself into that experience. So it makes it difficult if there is, if there is a lack of vision or you have beliefs that are holding you back from taking action in such a way that really would support this connection that you’re looking for now.
The fourth block that I wanted to talk about: being afraid of actually connecting to someone or something at that deep-level I believe there is a connection in here to our sense of worth or deserved ness of having that close to your heart type of connection, that energetic dance in connection with another being, that fear of connection. I feel like we could have limiting beliefs around this. Like why me, why do I deserve to have an experience like this? Why me? And also that fear of the elevated energy that comes with a true connection with a horse and you know, even with a person for that matter, being able to feel a connection that is very high by high vibration. To me it feels like love, it feels like God and if we don’t feel like we are deserving of that level of connection or it feels unfamiliar or uncertain to us, we can. Then this ties into point number one about the present moment, that we can jump out of that, and I have experienced that with myself and I’m currently practicing and being able to hold that elevated energy in my groundwork with my horses, where everything just is working so smoothly and it is a true connection and it is exciting and elevated to be able to hold that presence because as soon as you get into your head, well then you’ve moved out of the present moment and turned it into something else.
So it’s being able to hold and stay out of your head and just into your heart through this. But I do feel like that. There is an aspect of worthiness and fear of being in that higher level of energy and also tie that back into being uncomfortable because it’s unfamiliar and it might feel unsafe if that is not an energy that you are used to being in and holding because it’s unfamiliar and our nervous systems don’t prefer things that are unfamiliar. So it’s like exposure therapy by continuing to put yourself into these situations of higher vibration, high, just that elevated energy, to be able to hold that for a longer time. So we had the inability to access and hold and maintain yourself in the present moment, the inability to trust yourself, giving away your power. Essentially that would be to someone else, usually an authority figure, or someone made them, made themselves out to be an authority figure and not trusting your own inner knowing. The third was having a lack of vision or having beliefs that hold you back that could help you hold your vision or have a vision that was maybe a part in part, and then the belief of being worthy of that elevated level of connection with your horse.
So there’s actually a law to unpack there, because there are traumas and identity issues, not issues, but the way we identify ourselves, as there are limiting beliefs in here there is, you know, inner child work, shadow work. It’s all worked into these blocks that really can be keeping us from connecting with your horse, and this is something that I’ve been working on personally for years now and I did teach some of this. I did a couple years ago, through riding from within clinics where we did classes and then also riding together and working on connecting from the inside out. And I do have a vision for an online course, riding from within the course that I’m working on here and will be working on many of these blocks. I mean really this has been a lot of my life’s work recently, but in the last five or six years I would say it is breaking through these blocks, gaining an awareness of them. I didn’t even know I had them, you know, and so I just wanted to mention some of those today to you, to plant the seed. To let you know, I am working on an online course for this called riding from within, where we will be able to address and heal each of these blocks that could be holding us back from connecting with our horses and it it will be a smaller group class where there’ll be alive and a video component or lesson component to it. So I just wanted to plant a seed to let you know there’s a riding from within class coming when it will be released. I’m not sure I’m currently just integrating a few more things and then we’ll be ready to dive in. This will not be discipline specific. It will be for all horse lovers who are looking to connect their horses at a deeper level. And if any of these four things resonated with you that are challenging for you, then this is definitely a class that will be helpful for that.
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