Everyone is so busy these days, constantly hurrying about to accomplish the thousand things they have to accomplish each day. Busyness is so prevalent in our lives, and it leads to a serious problem: stress. Basically each person I know is likely stressed out today about one thing or another. It is almost trendy to be stressed, sleep deprived, and over-worked. If we aren’t, we are not doing enough. But what does all of this stress do for us? Absolutely nothing, other than giving health problems, family problems, problems with our horses, and overall pretty miserable lives.
Horses feel our stress. They can also absorb it. Our tense, nervous, negative energy seeps into them creating problems. I have often found that when I get on a horse feeling very tense and on edge, the horse does not respond to me well or even begins to act the same way. I am a pretty sensitive person; when people around me are tense and stressed it oftentimes affects me. I can feel their stress. Animals are far more sensitive than I am, so I can only imagine what goes on in a horse’s mind when there is a tense, anxious, stress-filled creature on his or her back telling them what to do. Some old, saint-like horses who have been around the block a time or two can simply ignore it and do their job. Most, however, cannot. They are looking to their riders for guidance and assurance. As much as we rely on them to take us over jumps and not buck us off, they are relying on us for confidence. They can absorb our confidence and calm, or they can absorb our tension, anxiety, and stress. Keeping a calm, clear head while riding is absolutely essential.
How can we do this? Yoga, meditation, adequate sleep, exercise, healthy diet, drugs, therapy, motivational books and seminars, are all ways that can help us to deal with stress. However, none of these things truly get to the root of the problem. The problem is that we are too busy. We all need to just slow down!!!! We are addicted to being “busy.” We pack our schedules ridiculously full because that is what we feel we are supposed to do. “Busyness” is glorified in American society. But being “busy” does not necessarily mean being productive. It is important to accomplish things during the day. I am not saying that we should all sit in meditation, drink herbal teas, and read spirituality books for eight hours before we go ride (although that does sound quite nice sometimes). We have to work, take care of our homes, feed ourselves and our families; but we really do not need pack far too many things in our schedules. We are not superhuman, sometimes we simply cannot do it all. There are times to rest. There are times to stop checking emails, turn our phones off, and actually be present. There are times to slow down.