Isn’t it amazing that, when you’re on the back of the horse, the world disappears?
I’ve been thinking about this for a while now and it’s true; concentration and deep focus do not allow your mind to wonder.
A few weeks back, a photographer was passing by our stables and he stopped and asked to take a few pics of us while we were jumping. We agreed and he mentioned to not pay attention to him and just be ourselves. I laughed as I was thinking, “you don’t want people to pose? Well let me tell you this is what natural looks like!”.
Now, I’m not saying that horse-riding can’t be a meditative sport - I feel it can be - but it is very different from a meditative run or swim.
I would state that all sports need focus when we’re talking about performance. For example, I’ve never been hanging upside down in a pole class thinking about the groceries I had to buy. Now, with horse-riding, you are collaborating, partnering, or dancing if you wish with another living creature, and this requires a deep connection. If your mind is not in it, why should your horse’s be?
For an entire session, your mind and body are dedicated to this connection and this requires a lot of brainpower. Most importantly, it teaches you to be in the moment. Do not anticipate or rush to a jump; do not ask for a downward transition before you’ve prepared for it.
Horse-riding has many benefits. For me, one of the most important is a sense of calmness. It gives me strength and patience and, more importantly, when times get tougher I smile and think, “If I can make a 500Kg ‘beast’ responds to my aids and jumps over a pole, I can do this”.
That is a kind of magic that’s priceless.
Ride and smile!