The Rider’s Mind Podcast Episode 49: Your Baggage and Your Horse

In this episode, I talk about emotional baggage and how it impacts your riding and your relationship with your horse. Whether you feel like you have emotional baggage or not, there are probably emotions you’re taking with you to the barn. 

Emotional baggage is the extra energy you’re carrying and holding on to from the past or the present. This emotional baggage has an impact on your emotional and physical body. In turn, this impacts your horse.

Everything is energy. Emotion is energy which can be stored in different parts of your body. It’s like the saying you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. Different emotions might go to different parts of your body. For example, you may feel nervousness or worry in your stomach.

Louise Hay has a book called Heal Your Body: The Mental Causes for Physical Illness and the Metaphysical Way to Overcome Them. She provides an index with hundreds of physical ailments and the corresponding emotion, along with an affirmation to overcome it. For example, she says the knee is connected to stubborn ego and pride or fear and inflexibility. She says that sciatica can be connected to being hypocritical or fear of money and of the future. She has made many interesting connections, which have led to many people healing themselves. 

I’m not sure we will ever know the exact weight of the impact your emotions have on your life, but I do believe it is big. 

It is important to feel emotions and not just “stuff” them away. Those stored emotions can later cause physical problems. The stored emotions are like a swirl of energy trapped in your body. They can affect the natural flow of energy in your body. 

The emotions you carry affect your body and how you show up. Stored emotions can restrict your movement or create pain and tension, which affect how you show up as a rider. 

Your horse’s body mimics yours. If you drop your shoulder, he’ll drop his shoulder. If your hips are tight, her hips will be tight too. I notice a lot of riders have tension in their hips. Tight hips affect how you ride and move with your horse. 

We need to consider our energy centers as well. Our chakras connect with our horse’s chakras. For example, our root chakra at the base of our spine sits on their solar plexus chakra as we ride.

Science has proven that animals can read your facial expressions, but we know it goes deeper than that. They know when you are sad, they know when you are angry. (Have you ever tried to catch a horse when you were angry?) 

If you show up angry, you’re going to have a shorter fuse and lack patience. That will impact your ride. If you are feeling fear, it might show up as a lack of boundaries; the energy of fear might cause your horse not to respect you. If you show up to the barn dealing with grief or sadness, you will come across as drained and/or distracted. All of these are lower vibe, negative energies. These emotions will impact your energy levels and your overall vibe. 

If you’ve spent time with someone going through these emotions, you know it can be exhausting. This is true for your horse as well. Are you the kind of person you would want to hang around with?

Any kind of structural or emotional imbalance you have is going to affect your horse. 

Your horse knows energy. He knows you. He is in tune to you and you’re training him to follow your lead. 

When choosing human partners, we are often successful at finding someone that “complements our crazy”. We find someone that balances us and can tolerate our baggage. The same is true for horses. You can find a horse that complements you despite your baggage.

Obviously, we want to do better and deal with the energy that we carry, but many of us have a lot we are carrying. Horses come in different levels of energetic sensitivity and can tolerate different things. Sometimes it takes us a bit to find “the one” who is our perfect match. 

The more healed you are and the better you are at handling your baggage, the easier your relationships will be.

This is about taking responsibility for how you show up both physically and energetically for your horses. It’s about recognizing that you have an influence on how the horse feels. You need to be aware of your part in the horse's behavior, even at a subtle level. 

Just because they are the most forgiving creatures out there, doesn’t mean we don’t have to be our best selves for them. 

If you’ve had many horses over the years you’ll know that they aren’t all as forgiving. Some keep you accountable and you really do have to look in the mirror. These are the teacher horses. These ones make you a better horseman if you’re open to the lesson.

Overall, I feel that the more we can work on our own insecurities, our own baggage, our own limiting stories and beliefs, the greater opportunity we will have to show up for our horses and guide them to being the greatest version of themselves as well. I would hate to hold a horse back from showing the world their potential because I wasn’t willing to work on myself to be a more effective rider and leader.

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