“In difficulty there is opportunity.” -Ray Hunt
If you love to ride as much as you love to spend time with your horse, chances are you’ve rehabbed your horse from an injury at one time or another. There are many ingredients to creating a successful journey back to health and soundness, and sharing Reiki with your horse can be very helpful to the healing program. Besides helping you navigate the difficulties of rehabbing with peacefulness, Reiki can give you the opportunity to deepen your bond with your horse!
Reiki is a meditative practice that nurtures heart-to-heart connections with your horse. Healing starts where our hearts connect, and because of its gentle approach where horses lead each session, Reiki is ideal for helping even the most sensitive horses heal from injury.
When rehabbing your horse, stall rest and a controlled exercise program may be recommended. Reiki can be extremely beneficial in helping your horse stay mentally peaceful and happy while having less exercise, and Reiki can also help balance your horse’s body, mind and spirit: ideal conditions for powerful self-healing.
If your horse is recovering from an injury, you’ve got lots of time to just “be” with him – often we spend our time with our horses just “doing” things. Since Reiki is really about “being” with your horse, rehab time is ideal Reiki time.
So how do we “do” Reiki with our horse? I like to use the term “share” instead. Through our Reiki meditation practice, all we are really “doing” is returning to peace and harmony within ourselves. Once we are in that balanced space, our horse can shift more easily back into balance himself. Thus, to really help our horse with Reiki, we first need to get in the right state of mind. We have to let go of our agenda, of our time pressure to get better, of our desires to force this and to fix that. Instead, we’ve got to practice stilling our minds, opening our hearts, and just being with our horse.
Try this Reiki exercise to help your horse:
Choose a quiet time to be with your horse. Afternoon naptime, when your horse is quietly grazing, or dinnertime (once they are settled) is an ideal time to share Reiki. Choose a place to stand nearby (but not directly touching) your horse.
Take a moment to let go. Take stock of your thoughts about your horse at this moment. Observe the things you are worried about, the things about the situation that frustrate you, or any other bothersome thoughts and emotions. Imagine these thoughts and emotions transform into clouds in the sky. Watch them float away. Just let them go without judgment.
Center yourself and set your intent. Place your hands on your lower belly and breathe deeply. Visualize roots coming down from the bottoms of your feet, anchoring your deep into the earth. Feel yourself stable and strong like a tree. Imagine your heart radiates a beautiful light. Hold an intention of perfect Health, Wellness or Well-being in your heart and mind.
Create a “Reiki Space” for healing. Expand the light of your heart throughout your whole body. Every cell is full of this beautiful and bright light. This light is full of perfect healing, harmony and balance. Imagine this wonderful healing light can radiate out of your body into the space around you. Slowly expand your hands outward from your belly as you visualize the light shining out.
Invite your horse to share this space with you. As you stand radiating this beautiful light, look deeper than the physical/emotional struggles your horse may be facing. See your horse’s heart as a beautiful perfect and bright light just like yours. Realize that at the heart, your horse is full of healing power! At the heart, in this moment, all is well physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Invite your horse to connect with your heart and share this bright space of perfect balance.
Let go of physical touch. When our horses choose to come to our hands at this point, Reiki may involve direct physical contact in the form of light touch on areas of the body that our horses are comfortable with. Your horse will guide you in this. Although Reiki is just as effective without this direct contact because it’s really about a state of heart and mind, for many horses, the power of touch is a very strong way to convey compassion and care while nurturing a heart-to-heart connection. Just follow your horse’s lead.
Relax and just “be.” Continue to stand in a relaxed way, focusing on your roots, on the light at your heart, on the intent of perfect health and wellness. Let troubling or distracting thoughts float away like clouds in the sky. Observe your horse moving closer or farther away, or standing quietly with you, without judgment. Notice signs of relaxation, happiness and connection that your horse may show.
Give thanks. After a period of time, your horse may disconnect and move away, or become more active. This is often a sign that “Reiki time” is over. Bring your hands back to your belly and feeling your grounding as you set your intent to finish. Take a moment to thank your horse for connecting with you before you leave the space. Realize that the Reiki Space is a place where separations soften, hearts unify and healing happens for all. Notice any feelings of peace, well-being and healing that you feel within yourself.
Repeat. Follow these steps every day or as often as possible while your horse recovers. Notice how much easier the rehabilitation process has become for both you and your horse!
Remember, Reiki starts with you.
The practices of the system of Reiki help us, step by step, to learn how to hold a space of balance and peacefulness within ourselves, even in the midst of a chaotic or troublesome situation.
Sharing Reiki with our horse is about being completely and utterly present in the here and now. When our horse is injured, our first instinct might be to run from difficulties, hide from suffering, or shift our focus into anger over the past causes or worrying about future outcomes. With the openness and compassionate presence that Reiki meditation brings, we can learn to see from the heart instead of focusing on all the outer things that are “wrong.” In this way we can support a return to balance. Be patient, “be Reiki” and you will not only support a beautiful healing rehab journey but also deepen your bond with your horse.
Photo © Lexie Cataldo
Originally published in Equine Wellness Magazine