Working with Decadance has highlighted how much mindlessness most of us bring with us into the arena. We cruise around on auto-pilot, following someone else's rule book. We follow instructions dutifully, believing in the wisdom of our trainers, programmed not to question. With little thought to context or perspective, we apply yesterday's solutions to the problems of today, with very little progress. We look to others for answers and copy what works for them. We fail to recognize and appreciate what is unique about ourselves and about our horses, and dwell only on our weaknesses and not our strengths. We take very personally all of our mistakes.
Whatever you are doing, you are either doing it mindlessly, or mindfully.
Riding Decadance requires I be actively in the moment. I am not reliving the past, or worrying about the future. I am totally immersed in this minute of this day. I am attentive to my actions, engaged, dynamic. I have a loose agenda that can change at any moment. When he meets me with resistance, I may be disappointed, but I observe this feeling from a distance, impartially, without judgment. Inconvenience is merely opportunity to reinforce the lesson.
Riding mindfully requires you pay close attention to your breathing. Inhale, exhale, deep deliberate yoga breaths. Be aware of the movement of your horse, match your breathing to the rhythm of his strides. You will feel him relax beneath you.
Notice what you are sensing. Are you balanced in the saddle? Do you have equal weight in the reins? Feel the footfalls of your horse; be aware of each step in time and space. With focus, you will be able to feel his intent before he acts upon it, and redirect his energy proactively.
Recognize that whatever is happening is fleeting and does not define you. Emotions interfere with our ability to fully experience the present. Be in moment, and push all else away.
Mindful riding opens you up to intuition, to creativity, to the power of possibilities, and to a deeper partnership with your horse.