Updated: Feb 3
I think it applies to all of us that we try to take care of our horses in the best possible way we know how. We carefully feed them a balanced diet, give them as much freedom of movement as possible and try to keep them in top form, both mentally and physically.
I wonder why it is so difficult for us to apply this discipline to ourselves?
Why is it so difficult for us to eat a balanced, healthy diet, to rest when we are tired or mentally or emotionally challenged, or to start exercising in order to stay physically fit to do what we love? While each of us have our own reasons, most of us find keeping ourselves healthy challenging.
According to me one of the reasons we take good care of our horses is because they are a part of ourselves, it’s easier to make sure our horses stay healthy, fit and strong than applying that same discipline to ourselves. In fact, we are probably strictest with our horses about the very things that we have the most difficulty with personally. If we look at them and see them being healthy and vitality we feel we have partially achieved our goal as well.
I can speak from experience that it is not easy to find a balance between the stress of everyday life and finding the time to work on your personal development.
In the past 2 years a lot has changed in my life. I travel to many countries to give clinics, we have moved to our new home that we are renovating, there are interns staying with us that I mentor when I am home and of course I work with my own horses.
With so much to plan and do, I found I didn’t took enough time for myself as a result becoming mentally and physically exhausted without the energy for new inspiration and ideas. Recently, I finally started to find structure in this chaos by starting my day by dedicating 2 hours on myself.
In this time for myself I do, among other things, stretching exercises.
In my opinion, these stretching exercises are of crucial importance when working with horses.
The primary way we guide our horses is by riding with our hips. If our hips are stuck and do not move smoothly, it will be harder for us to give clear signals to the horse.
For example, if our hips are blocked, we will unconsciously put more pressure on one side than the other. We cannot be surprised then that our horse will have difficulty in walking a straight line and will move to one side more easily than the other. We often tend to think that our horse has a physical problem, but in fact the problem often lies with us. By staying as supple and fit as possible, we will be able to communicate our body language to our horses as clearly as possible. In addition, by becoming more supple, we won’t have to use our reins to correct our body language faults, which will work to our horse's advantage.
Of course, it's also just feels nice and healthy to have a fit body as this is the only thing we really own in this world.