Wednesday, July 30, 2014

EQUINE GUIDED MEDITATION: When Your Horse Whispers to You...

When Your Horse Whispers To You..     
Originally published in Horse Directory, August 2014

By Tom Gumbrecht

Bella is affectionate, but on her terms. She
teaches us to create and respect boundaries
to keep our space safe to be ourselves

I have been known to elicit an uneasy, forced smile or two when describing my horses as meditation facilitators.  I understand, as meditation was once, to me, part of a hocus-pocus world of learned men with a hyper-developed spirituality that I didn’t see myself fitting into.  I have since revised that opinion.

It is often said to fledgling students of spirituality that where prayer is asking a question of, or petitioning a higher power, meditation is listening for the answer.  The rub, many of us find, is creating the space in which our minds can become quiet enough to hear those answers when they are proffered.

I have been fortunate to have had my eyes opened wide enough to discover that environment, forty steps from the back door of our home.  In the barn, often after the evening feeding, I will
Lola helps to create a space where we feel safe, loved
and trusted.
unfold a chair and sit under the ceiling fan and perhaps read a paragraph or two from a book of daily readings that always help to stimulate reflection.  The soft summer sounds of stall fans, crickets, and the methodical munching of hay waft through the gentle breeze and pull me into a simpler time and a comfort that I knew more intimately in my youth.

With my horses surrounding me, I feel needed, trusted, loved and appreciated.  We never have misunderstandings because we don’t use words to communicate.  It is the safest place I know, and it always seems that my mind can open up there because it not busy defending itself from anything.
It has made itself ready to accept direction from the universe and no matter the size of the perplexing problem of the day, the answers, it seems, always come.

Have I slipped over the edge and now taken to deifying my horses?  I don’t think so, but I do believe that a force in the universe, by whatever name we individually like to call such a power, provided me with horses as a way to open a path of communication with that force.  This is just another of the many unexpected gifts I have received since making a commitment fifteen years ago to take three riding lessons which I thought at the time was a reasonable investment to become a horse riding expert!

My ignorance at the time was a gift, because had I been even minutely aware of the degree to which horses would ultimately take over my life, I would have been afraid to pursue it. I would not
Our horses work to keep their space safe for each
other as well as for us. Bella comforts Lola after a  mild injury.
have been able to commit to something that I had known would ultimately change the whole fiber of my being, even though it was for the better.  What I could commit to was three riding lessons.

Lessons went from frustrating to rewarding, which led to more lessons, which led to discovering different disciplines and even more lessons.  Rather than “graduating” from riding lessons, I found that the more knowledge and experience I acquired, it served more to highlight the scope of what I still didn’t know.  My own experiences mirrored what I was to later read in this popular quote:

“Riding horses is not a gentle hobby to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire.  It is a grand passion.  It seizes a person whole, and once it has done so he/she will have to accept that his life will be radically changed.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

It took time to accept of the role of my horses in developing my spiritual self as even more important than their role in transportation, recreation or competition.  The time was well spent.  In my barn, I have a peaceful mind.  I believe that what is meant for me, I will find. My horses have created the environment where that is possible.
DannyBoy, a physical giant if not a spiritual one, provides needed comic relief lest things get too serious...


  1. Another elegant and astute expression of this thing we do. Thank you, sir, for your willingness to put it into words and share it with us all.