Increase connection and harmony to improve your relationship
Connecting with your horse can give you access to information that you wouldn’t normally be aware of. Some reasons for connecting with your horse include:
- to help your creative process
- to gain information about your relationship
- to help give you guidance in your life
- to increase the depth of your bond.
Note: Always keep safety in mind as you apply these ideas. It is important for you to determine which of these ideas are safe for you and your horse as well as how to apply them in your unique situation.
Begin by observing your horse
When you first approach, begin by spending some time observing your horse with an open mind. Sit outside of your horse’s space while he is doing his own thing and just notice what he does and how he does it. It can be helpful to take notes. You will be amazed at what you will learn by doing this.
A variation of this is to set an intention or ask a question at the beginning and view your observations through the lens that you created.
Next – Join your horse in his space
Sharing territory is a term coined by Carolyn Resnick, who wrote the book, Naked Liberty. She noticed that wild horses spend a lot of time just hanging out together in the same space. And she concluded that this must be part of how they bond with each other.
To me, basically, sharing territory means spending time with your horse in his environment with no expectation and no pressure. (other than safety)
I like to take a chair into my horse’s pasture and find a spot where I am able to always have the horses in front of me or to the sides of me. This is usually in a corner or in their lean-to, against a wall. I sit with a book or journal and totally ignore the horses.
If they come into my space, I decide whether it feels safe or not. Some horses will come into your space with the intention of being pushy or mugging you. Other horses will come because they just want to hang out.
For me personally, if one is coming over to just be pushy, I will ask him to move further away. But if one comes over and wants to stand by me and take a nap, then I allow and welcome this.
You can journal during this time and it is very interesting to notice when a horse sighs, or licks and chews or snorts cotentedly–what were you writing at that moment?
Here is an article with more details about sharing territory as well as some videos.
What if your horse doesn’t want to share territory with you?
If your horse is standoffish and you would like to encourage him to spend time closer to you, a hack for sharing territory is to bring a flake of hay with you and toss that nearby your chair. This will encourage your horse to come and eat in your vicinity and start to increase your connection.
Be present and connected as your horse grazes
A variation on sharing territory that I created with my own horses is something I call passenger grazing. Ideally this is done at liberty in a contained space, either your horses pasture or another area that has grass.
In a contained space, with no halter or leadrope, you just put a hand on your horses shoulder or wither. Wherever you can comfortably rest it. And just drift with your horse as they graze, with no pressure or attempts to control where they go.
While you are doing this, keep an open mind and pay attention so you can notice any thoughts or ideas that come to you. You can set an intention or ask a question at the beginning of this activity too.
Meditate with your horse
Meditating with your horse can be very interesting. Horses seem to love humans meditating and will often come and stand near and meditate with you!
Find a safe spot where you can sit with your eyes closed. Maybe you are in a distant corner or behind a feeder, or you stay outside the fence or set up a barrier. It depends on your horses and your setup.
Once you have a safe spot, sit down and begin to meditate. You can follow your breath or listen to a guided meditation or meditation music, whatever you like. Once you are done with your meditation, journal about what happened and any insights you had.
Tips to increase your results
- Do these activities when you are feeling relaxed. If you are not feeling relaxed, then it is important that you have enough time to allow the activity to relax you.
- Do your best to go into each activity with zero expectation of what is going to happen. This will help you be able to notice what does happen.
- Always listen to any feelings about what you need to do to stay safe. This might mean you need to take your horse to an area where it can be just the two of you, especially if you board and your horse is in a big herd.
Gathering information for an art project
You can use these exercises to gather information for your own art project, or to contribute to the meaning of a custom painting done by me or another artist of your choosing.
The intentions you set and information you gather could include things like:
- Colors and color combinations
- Shapes and symbols
- Words and phrases
- Animals or other images
- Feelings and emotions
This can all be put together into a painting or art journal page that is full of meaning and reflects the energy of your horse and the relationship you have with him.