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Moving Mediation: A new look at riding Geometry

Updated: Jul 5

In my interview with Tracey Mitchell on - Hitting Your Stride Podcast, I discussed how working the circle on the lunge is meditative and that the purpose of the exercise was to develop balance, rhythm, relaxation and awareness - both in the horse and handler. In fact the exercise brings us together in a very special spacial awareness.

I'm going to dig a bit deeper into that concept in order to shed light that elevates the work we do with horses.

What brings us to this beautiful space with horses is bigger than the criteria for our shows. It's a deep and powerful relationship that unites our conscious experience. We are meeting another sentient being, and not only moving through space with them, but doing it in unity. We are experiencing a reality together. That is no small thing.

Is an amazing concept, that perhaps we take for granted after years of riding. Just think about it. Think about it and reflect, deeply.

What do we know about meditation?

In the past several years there has been a renewed awareness about the importance of meditation in our daily lives. We have seen the acceptance of Yoga into mainstream culture. Forest walks and other natural therapies are becoming popular ways to meditate. Recently, science and related fields - philosophy, medicine is being directed to more studies in the area of consciousness; the field of human experience. We are now in a very exciting time of realizing consciousness.

A lot of human experiences that exceeded technological studies and have been ignored by scholarly debate until now. For first time in history, due to advances in Mathematics including string theory and Quantum physics, consciousness is being taken more seriously and being academically studied and debated.

Simply put for us equestrians; We all know it feels good to work with horses. Now we are on an exciting threshold of finding out why.

As a graduate in Philosophy, I studied many texts that held dialogues of contemplating matter and consciousness. But, human experience was discredited due to lack of proof, and so theories that tried to explain experiential awareness were dismissed from robust academic inquiry. Today there is more evidence in mathematics and science to support exploring these topics regarding energy and how we perceive. We are seeing a shift.

I am trained in Yoga and Meditation. This study guided me away from analytical thinking and toward a heart-centred experience of feeling, being present and knowing. Yoga to me is a way to open the window of experience, and allow the heart to teach, while the mind is calmed.

One scientific truth that we know, is that the human heart has an electromagnetic field of about 4 feet. In this field, our emotions, intentions - which become our energy vibration is not only be felt, but it is proven to influence others, even in biological ways. This invites us to contemplate a sense of responsibility about how we show up. Horses also have a very strong electro-magnetic heart field for receiving and emitting.

Imagine now the implications and possibilities when these two fields meet.

Horse and human in lunge:

It is plain to see the importance of being aware that our work with horses is not simply a physical encounter, but emotionally and energetically charged. I believe this affects our relationship and results when working with horses.

Let's now have a look at some of the practices that we use in meditation, in order to open fields of energy awareness and even communication.

  • relaxation - stillness

  • breath - pranayama techniques

  • rhythmic vibrations (music, mantras, sounds, nature)

  • Movement - Vinyasa Yoga, Tai Chi

  • Focus - concentration, observance

  • Geometry - mandalas

We experience all this when working with horses - in riding, and under lunge. The problem exists when humans we have a closed heart, and when we do not focus on these indicators - but we focus on superficial outcomes. Our minds, Ego bend us around goals and wrestle for control. Even despite the greatest works collected from equestrian Masters, invite us to focus on exactly these fundamental indicators - we rush through them, and even discredit the importance. If our intention is to simply move the horse physically through space in order to serve our need, we limit access to this field of opportunity, and we cannot reach a higher connection. And it usually results in tension. This is increasingly obvious in Sport

"Make the horse a partner, not a slave" ~ Nuno. Oliveira

How then can we open this possibility of partnership?

The Lunge as meditation

The lunge is a perfect beginning. We take the beautiful majestic horse fully in self-experience and invite them into our space. We meet their energy. Often, with the first lunge, there is a conflict. A collision. Look at the diagram! The horse usually does not fall into a deep relaxed state the first few lunges. The human is usually overthinking and mentally driven. Everything is new. It's like the first Yoga class. Things are a bit stiff and kinda strange. But with continued slow and focused work - we achieve all the things that meditation brings: Relaxation, Rhythm, Breath, Calmness. As long as our intentions are focused on these things, and our focus is on the present moment - not on future goals or immediate results, our relationship with the horse will evolve and merge, and our communication is much easier.

This is the reason lunge is fundamental to beginning any training process.

The lunge is a circle.

I invite you to take the idea of Geometry farther.

Geometry is everywhere in nature and is the expression of the universe. This can be seen and experienced by observing simple snowflake to honey combs to sound wave frequencies and even galaxies. Geometry is perfect mathematics expressed - expressed spontaneously and naturally occurring. It's not random. Perfection is not random. I once instructed a class of grade 6 students to create a perfect hexagon - using all the mathematical instruments in the classroom: Protractor, compass, rulers etc. No one was able to get the right angles consistently. Then I showed them that it can be done and it present in nature - that bees could do this. It was very inspiring.

Riding as Meditation

All the Masters that I have studied in print and in person have emphasized to me the importance of the Geometry. There is no 'kinda' circle or ' kinda serpentine or 'kinda pattern'. It's exact. It is precision in motion and focus. Every step. We are always riding Geometry - either an arrow straight line, or a circle or parts of a circle. I can still hear some of my mentors telling me to 'Focus! Trajectory!' Absolutely arrive and step exactly where you intend to in space.

Horses out in the field are not aware of Geometry, rhythm, shape, or breath. They act sporadically. Their movement is random. When we invite them to travel Geometry with us, this focused task, it forces us in to a moving meditation that we travel together, in synchronizing our focus, breath, energy.

Imagine the implication of the two electromagnetic fields, in focused meditation together achieving a higher vibrational synergy? When we bring horses into a meditative journey with us - allow them to experience all those indicators; controlled breath, relaxation, rhythm, focus, movement and a combined focus on adherence to geometry. If we allow this time and patience to grow in our daily meditative space with our horse, we gain connection and achieve easier communication. This is lightness, physically and in vibrational energy. A truly light and supple horse can do anything in concert with its rider.

And there's the thing: Horses enjoy this synergy too! It feels great for them. What they do not enjoy is being forced, and not consulted. They do not like feeling disconnected, feeling tense, feeling pain, and not being heard.

Always seek connection. Seek to improve it. First. Establish harmony.

Once you have a very good and relaxed connection - everything is easier and abundant possibilities await to do whatever you want with your horse.

Lucy on double lunge.

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