Gratitude; it is something we hear a lot about around this time of the year. Studies have shown over and over again that being mindful of the things you are grateful for has numerous benefits. Practiced gratitude develops a more resilient and positive mindset. It also has actual physical benefits; of course both of which are a huge advantage in the saddle.
I want this post to be a ‘take-action’ post… As you read through really try to focus and feel the gratitude you have for that particular situation in your life. Don’t hold yourself back with just one memory or idea on each point – let your mind run wild.
Are you ready? Super – let’s begin…
Feel gratitude for the fact that you are living in a country where you can freely go to the barn, tack up and go out for a ride.
Feel gratitude for the past year and all the experiences you had throughout it. Pluck out five highlights; five experiences that positively shaped you and your riding in a way that benefited both you and your horse.
Feel gratitude for those less than perfect experiences where you learned valuable lessons that helped you make small changes to how you do things. What did you learn?
Feel gratitude for the simple fact that you have an actual horse to go visit, whether it be your own horse or a horse you lease, ride or snuggle over a fence.
Feel gratitude for the person or people who nurtured your love of horses. Their actions led to you being an equestrian. They invested resources, whether that be time or money, into you and your passion, which has shaped the person you are today.
Feel gratitude for the people in our less than perfect world who are trying to make a difference in the lives of horses who have no-one else to help them.
Feel gratitude for those hard learned lessons. The ones that challenged you and pushed you. The ones that were not easy, but in learning them, made all the difference.
Feel gratitude that your horse actually allows you to interact and communicate with him in a positive way. Sometimes we forget how ‘unnatural’ it really is for our horses to forge tight bonds with us humans; prey and predator enjoying each other’s company and working together towards a single goal. Amazing.
Feel gratitude for the other equestrians who inspire you to continuously find ways to improve your communication with your horse. Gratitude for these people will help you to become more clear on the ‘type’ of rider you are working towards becoming.
Feel gratitude that whether you ride, groom, walk beside, stand in the stable with, spend time sitting in the field with, work in the arena – the list is endless – you are able to communicate with your horse what you want.
Couple that with the fact that your horse can then communicate back to you whether or not they agree or understand. Amazing.
Feel gratitude for the fact that, over time, those communications and interactions become so finely tuned that it feels like you are an extension of each other. You can feel when they are ‘off’ and they can feel when you are ‘off’.
How, based on those feelings, we can act accordingly and help to turn the situation around.
And even more amazing still, our horse can do the same for us.
Finally, feel a sense of gratitude for what is coming. The experiences and relationships that have yet to happen. The coming year will be filled with moments that will help make you a happier and more positive person. Give thanks today for all the adventures your future self will experience.
You are an equestrian.
I know that there is a special relationship, or three, that you feel a huge amount of gratitude for. Today I urge you to, just for a few moments, look beyond what you ‘want’ to happen and sit in the comfort and gratitude of what you already have.