Saturday, February 26, 2011

Mellow is the feeling that I get

On my rides this week, and afterwards, while I graze the horses, I have been contemplating "energy".  I am not sure that is the right word, but I have been thinking about whatever it is that is invisible and yet so electric that my horse feels what I am thinking almost as I think it.  If I have clean, empty thoughts, without anticipation of a spook or a jump, I get a seamless next few minutes without cessation in the evenness of the ride or a stop in the munching of grass while my horse hand-grazes. But, if I imagine an outcome - and prepare for an event, then most of the time, I am not disappointed - I get to experience that which I prepared for - usually bad.  I know that I am passing the thoughts, this "energy" to my horse.  It is easy to understand if I am riding. Surely, I am using my muscles in a certain way that "tells" my horse my thoughts. Or perhaps my hands on the reins change ever so slightly and my horse picks up on it.  The energy transfer that I can't explain, though, is the one that happens while hand-grazing. How exactly am I conveying my thoughts to my horse when I am standing a few feet away?  The energy field that is between us must be, to my horse, so big and "real" because the transfer seems to happen immediately.    

When I say "real" I mean something that is visible to my horse. Something that is visible seems easier to explain and hopefully understand (in other words, not out there in my normal metaphysical la-la-land!). Lately, I have been thinking of this energy as a color that my horse can see.  If, to a horse, I have an intense band of color around me that is so obvious, then it would make perfect sense that he only has to catch a glimpse of me and know whether to a.) keep on grazing peacefully because the color I am giving off is safe or b.) flee because the color that I am giving off is warning of danger. 

Just giving this energy the quality of being visible doesn't necessary mean I can control what "color" I am giving out.  But, it has helped me to feel more participatory in what is going on between us.  I guess that is because, as a human, I am more comfortable with our five senses than the extra senses our equine friends seem to have. When I think that I am doing something that a horse can see it isn't vague.  It is real and I am causing it.  

When I was a beginning rider, my instructor would have us graze the school horses after our lessons.  If I had a Thoroughbred on the end of the lead, I would talk with my friends, but I was extra careful to watch out for sudden jumps.  I thought myself clever to be prepared and try to anticipate a frightened reaction.  I would have been mortified to have a horse get loose from me, so I was always conscientious, ready, alert.   If I had a tired, loving, old chubby Heinz 57 on the end of the lead, I could feel myself breathe, relax, become less worried.  Of course, it is easy to understand why I had many skittish Thoroughbreds to graze and few skittish Grades.  Back then, had I thought that I was giving off a color, almost like a wildly waving flag, I might have changed my approach.   

Our farm is right beside a busy road and directly across from a bustling auto-auction.  Huge tractor trailers pull in and out all day long.  Their gears shift, their air brakes hiss, their tires squeal.  They bump and crash and clang over the culverts in the road.  

When I ride, sometimes I have to go near the road (about 60 feet away) and I might end up going down a hill with a truck coming up from behind us in the near lane.  I am not on the road or in danger of being hit, but from behind, the engine roaring can send adrenaline through me and my horse.  I have learned to lean forward and laugh and empty my brain and pat my horse's neck. It takes lots of concentration, but I am getting good at it and it is not too difficult because I am touching the horse.

Grazing safely can actually be more difficult.  Of course, all three horses know that the best, greenest, most delectable grass is on the road side of the farm.  I would never graze them too near the road, but it is close enough to cause a jump or a flee.   By thinking of my energy as a color, periwinkle blue, this week I have avoided any fuss at all by the horses.  It is amazing.  I feel deliberate.  If I hear the approach of a roaring engine I breathe out and empty my brain like I am riding.  I do not anticipate a reaction but rather feel like I am surrounded by the "color" of safe - periwinkle.   I think it is more powerful than words because talking might inflect fear accidentally.  This is just a sign.  Safe. It has worked so far with Foggy who is new to our farm and all the roaring.   

Today's ride on Pie was exceptionally periwinkly.  We had not one upset, although there were many distractions.       


  1. I like the idea of thinking of our energy as a color. That can help bring our mind and body into that color and should help send out the right energy.

    Regards, Dan

  2. Hi Dan - Yes, that is what I've been thinking too - color just seems more succinct to me than thoughts or energy.

  3. Agreed that our thoughts, positive and negative, often become realities around our horses.

    And aren't emotions and thoughts forms of energy? The concept of controlling emotions (energy) is intimidating, and often seems to be beyond my reach.

    I love your color meditation. I'm inching closer to going on a trail ride with Val again. I'll be employing your delightful color strategy when I do. Thanks for the thoughtful post :)

  4. Great post. I've never thought of the energy in terms of color but I really like the analogy - and of purposefully thinking periwinkle.

  5. Very interesting. The color idea is a great way to help you control what you 'send'. My Appaloosa is like the Thoroughbreds - he actually seems to read my mind and definitely follows my 'energy' cues. But Rogo pays no attention to my nervousness. He gets scared of the oddest things that haven't occurred to me at all(although it's rare), so I don't think he follows my moods. I'm so intrigued I may copy you and post about their differences :)
    So glad you've had the great rides and walks with the beautiful periwinkle color!

  6. My horses follow my colorful thoughts. I like the concept, Think Periwinkle!

  7. genius. I often try to form images to send to my animal friends, and even used color energy to try to make safety nets around loved ones or myself but had never thought of this!How did you come up with periwinkle? is that a known 'safe' color or one which you found resonates with you personally.....

  8. i try to remind myself that my own emotions are as visible to my horse as if i were surrounded by a glowing aura of whatever color matches the emotion i'm feeling. (although it might not be a color, it might be a pattern, both of which are nonsense, just visual aids for my understanding of an animal's perception.

    animals' perception of body language is practically a 7th sense, but it's really just one of the 6, right?: )

  9. Thanks everyone for the comments.

    Shinyfluff - I don't know if periwinkle is a "safe" color or not. I just like it as non-threatening. Periwinkle is a soft blue that is between blue and purple. It is like indigo with white added in. Some periwinkles lean gray and some lean lavender. Our bedroom is periwinkle to promote good sleep! As lytha says above in the next comment, it isn't about the color as much as it is about me trying to somehow understand the invisible thing that they are experiencing from me!

    lytha - aura is it exactly but again that has ideas of filmy, vagueness. All of it is nonsense to them - completely made up so I can somehow get around the invisible (to me) world they are living!

  10. I really like this post. I've heard it said that horses know how we are feeling from across the field. I believe that. When I walk out in the morning, I try to show them happiness and acceptance. I DO believe they are reading our colors. <3 My husband knows that I mentally see certain emotions in certain colors. I describe things in those terms sometimes. I like the color you described for calmness. There is an entire auditory spectrum on both sides of our listening that animals have access to, so why not a light spectrum as well? One more thing, this reminds me of hearing contemplation (on this subject) about how gazelles and zebras can share a watering hole with a lion and not fear. Sure it's body language also, but maybe s/he is also not in predatory colors at the moment. :-)

  11. Juliette, Oh, how wonderful - a periwinkly ride on Pie! That is such an intriguing idea, to attach certain positive moods to colors and then focus on the color! I wonder if it might work this way also: when riding, and working on something, perhaps trotting, and wanting your horse to have energy, thinking of an energetic color (perhaps red), and then when wanting the horse to calm down between exercises, thinking of a calm color (perhaps green like grazing grass). Very thought-provoking and creative....

  12. Loved this Jules~
    I am really taking in all the helpful advice and methods and thoughts from others= to achieve the me that my mare needs to flurish.

    Now that I read this(is my third time) again, I have hind sight for the last weeks time. I visited Pantz mare last was Breezy and cold and the horses had not been out all week. They have large runs..but nothing beats a field for gettin' the kicks out!

    Anywho..she was abnoxious on the line...rearing as polite as she could, but really testing me. I don't allow much, in that way, from any horse I handle... So my COLOR WAS NEON!NO GO!! I actully thought that, as I prepared to turn her out and she wanted to tear away-NEON NO- was my flashing color! She was good too!

    May you have many more Periwinkle pony daze! Love that~


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