You know that wonderful feeling you get when you spend time with your horse? That feeling isn’t a coincidence! Your horse is naturally gifted at being aware. It’s this awareness that allows your horse to be such an amazing partner when you’re in the saddle. By using horses for therapeutic purposes you can discover that this gift translates beyond the arena if you take the time to access it. This leads to greater mental health as well as personal growth, self-awareness, and emotional health.
One of the basic premises of Equine Gestalt Coaching is that mental health and personal health. Even physical health is keyed by how much self-awareness you have and how much understanding you have of who you are and how you move through the world—what’s happened to you and what parts of it are finished versus unfinished. So, if you understand your personality, then you gain control. You begin to control your body and mind in a different way, which leads to growth.
Here are three ways to improve personal development with your horse.
Stop and check yourself before you step into the barn.
As you walk into the barn for an afternoon ride, stop and breathe to check yourself mentally. Speak to yourself either out loud or in your mind, “I’m about to enter a sacred place. I’m about to enter a space where horses are living in serenity.” By stopping and being mindful before working with your horse, you’re taking a step toward awareness and personal development as you can take this process beyond the barn and into your personal and professional life.
Be honest with where you are.
If you check yourself before you go into the barn and find that you’re not 100%, be honest with yourself and your horse about your feelings before you walk through the doors. If you had a rough day at work and are feeling a bit down, still show up and take care of your responsibilities as a horse owner, but say out loud, “I’m not feeling 100% like the person you’re used to being around, so bear with me.” By speaking those words into the barn, you’re able to relieve yourself of the heaviness that might be carried with you. Your horse will see that you are experiencing your emotions and will be with you through it. When you allow yourself to be honest with your emotions, you allow yourself to gain control over your life and continue to grow.
Listen to your horse when he isn’t listening.
If you’re riding your horse that generally performs everything you request of him and you find yourself asking, “Why isn’t he listening to me today?” Or your vet is on the way out and your horse that normally is easy to catch is running away from you in the pasture. It’s because your horse took note of your emotions and is listening to you.
Somewhere along the way you encountered an emotion that led to frustration and your horse is now telling you that he hears that you’re frustrated. When you begin to feel as though your horse has stopped listening to you, take a moment to pause and think about where you are mentally. Feel your emotions and determine what actions you need to take to end your barn session on a good note. When you listen to your horse, you will begin to listen to how humans respond around you as well. This creates a sense of self-awareness and mindfulness.
As you continue to work through these three tasks, you will begin to see improvements in your personal growth because you’ve developed mindfulness and self-awareness.
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