Mindfulness Meditation with Horses

What is Equine-guided Mindfulness Meditation?

Find out here.

That day, everything changed. We were a small group, not more than six. We were sitting in a circle in the paddock closest to the lake. Belle, Bass, Aurore and Tess were with us in the paddock, grazing peacefully nearby. I lead the loving-kindness meditation, starting with the focus on each individual. I then moved the focus to a loved one. I then moved the focus to the horses. I asked the participants to send waves of loving-kindness to Belle, our boss mare. Before I had voiced the second sentence, Belle had walked over to us and was standing just outside the circle. She had never approached a circle before. It was intimidating because we were sitting flat on the ground and Belle is enormous: 1m65 at the withers. As I started the third sentence, she came over to me and made it quite clear that she intended to enter the circle.

I moved slightly to the side, out of the way of those dinner-plate-sized hooves. Unperturbed, she took her place at the centre of the circle. We all sat there staring at her with our eyes wide, not sure what was going to happen next. As I moved on to the next phrase, Belle went into equine relaxation mode. She started licking and chewing. She sighed, slowed and deepened her breathing, yawned and lowered her head. She stood like this for a few moments. As I continued with the loving-kindness meditation, moving the focus to the community, the country and eventually the world, Belle did the rounds.

She went up to each person in turn. Sometimes she just stood close, sometimes she breathed on someone’s hair, sometimes she rested her head for a moment on theirs. We were so engrossed in what was happening, that we had not noticed that the other three horses had approached too, and were now standing just behind us; Aurore and Tess together, and Bass slightly further along the circle. When she had ministered to everyone, Belle left the circle and walked off, the other three following in her wake. The group was so high after that experience that it took them three days before they came back down to earth.

It was clear that something had happened to each of them individually. I asked each one in turn, what the experience meant to her. The answers varied but they all mentioned a general inner awareness of contentedness and sometimes a deeply moving sense of connection and understanding. That day, our equine-facilitated meditation sessions became equine-guided meditation sessions.

Many great horsemen and horsewomen have mentioned this uncanny ability of horses to connect with people. Charles de Kunffy sums up the benefits of spending time with horses as follows: “Horses forge the mind, the character, the emotions and inner lives of humans. People can talk to one another about all these things and remain distanced and lonesome. In partnership with a horse, one is seldom lacking for thought, emotion and inspiration. One is always attended by a great companion.”

I first came across equine-facilitated meditation while I was looking for ways to improve my relationship with Belle, my soul mare. I found the book “Meditation for Two,” by Dominique Barbier. In “Meditation for Two” Dominique chronicles his own soul-searching journey and his subsequent spiritual growth. “The only limits I have found have been my own. Where our own egos regularly allow fear and negativity to interfere with our ability to let go and form spiritual connections, horses possess an incalculable ability to function as conduits of connection,” Dominique writes in his book. “Where we analyse, where we try to explain, where we try to re-create, where we try to simply be, horses are already there –waiting for us to walk through the open door, to follow the path of spiritual oneness, to allow healing energy to come in.”

Connection with horses, especially when during meditation, can teach us the skills we need to handle the trials and turbulence of life: Perseverance, patience, self-discipline, empathy, forgiveness, leadership and much more.

Equine-guided Mindfulness Meditation Benefits

Equine-guided mindfulness meditation offers a unique way to cultivate mindfulness, increase self-awareness, and facilitate emotional regulation.

  1. Horses are intuitive animals that can serve as powerful mirrors for our emotions. Practising mindfulness meditation in their presence allows us to connect with nature and tap into the horses’ grounding energy.
  2. Horses communicate primarily through body language, making them excellent partners for mindfulness practice. Mindfully interacting with horses encourages us to become more attuned to subtle signals and especially emotions, enhancing our ability to communicate effectively and empathetically in all areas of life.
  3. Horses have a remarkable ability to sense and respond to human emotions. Through equine-guided mindfulness meditation, individuals can learn to regulate their emotions more effectively by observing how horses react to their internal state. This can lead to greater emotional resilience and a deeper understanding of our own emotional landscape.
  4. Horses live entirely in the present moment, making them natural teachers of mindfulness. By practising mindfulness meditation with horses, we learn to cultivate a heightened sense of awareness.
  5. Interacting with horses during mindfulness meditation can spark moments of deep self-reflection and insight. Horses often reflect back to us aspects of ourselves that we may not be fully aware of, allowing for profound moments of self-discovery.

Connect and Communicate with Horses Workshops

If you would like to experience this unique method of mindfulness meditation, join us for a few days on a Connect and Communicate with Horses Mindfulness Meditation retreat here in the south of France…please e-mail us for more information at welcome2gascony[at]gmail.com.

If you would like to teach mindfulness meditation with the assistance of your horses, you have 2 options. Either an online course, or an onsite course here in the south of France. Just click on the links for more information about these diploma courses.

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