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Top Equine Reiki Tips for Letting Animals Lead®

Animal Reiki Source owner Kathleen Prasad shares Equine Reiki with a Horse on a Ranch

Our Equine Reiki Tips can help you connect with Horses, some of the best animal teachers, on a deeper level. Horses have a knack for showing us what they need and how—they are so physically expressive with their responses during an Animal Reiki session. 

They also have a way of naturally mirroring our energy and teaching us what we need to learn in each moment. I recommend all Animal Reiki practitioners take time to share with horses. Even if they aren’t “known” to you, you will learn so much, and being in their presence is such a gift!

Keep reading to discover tips for creating a peaceful Animal Reiki session with horses. 

What’s the Best Time and Place to Offer an Equine Reiki Session?

Anytime is a good time for a horse reiki session. However, you probably won’t get the same amount of relaxation during feeding time as you would other times of the day. So if possible, find a quiet time of day when they’re feeling more laidback. This will make it much easier to gauge how the horses are responding to your offering. 

It can be helpful to make the session a part of their normal routine. In other words: Don’t move them to a different place or take them away from their food in order to share Animal Reiki. Wherever they are, or whatever they are doing, you can always approach and offer to share this beautiful peace with them. 

A horse displays calm body language during an Equine Reiki session

Set Your Intention Before the Horse Reiki Session Begins

Your intention has an impact on your energy and the way you show up to share Animal Reiki during your session. I recommend saying hello to the horse first and greeting them before you begin. Keep a soft voice and body language. Let them know you are there to share space with them in an Animal Reiki meditation. 

You can set an open intention in one of two ways, either:

Simply ask permission (verbally or in your mind): “Would you like to share Animal Reiki with me today?” or set your intention to invite the horse(s) in to share the meditation space with you. 

I like to add: “without expectation, and it’s completely up to them whether they want to step into this space with me.” 

Then, the next step is to find a safe space to share the session. If you initially approached the horse physically, back away 5-10 feet at least before you set your intention. 

Then it’s as simple as beginning your meditation. Remember to keep your eyes open all or part of the time (depending on whether you’re working from inside or outside the enclosure), to stay attuned to the horse’s preference. Even if a horse says, “yes,” initially, they are always allowed to change their mind. 

If you want to take an in-depth look at the importance of our intention as Animal Reiki practitioners, 4 Aspects of Intention in Animal Reiki explores this topic further.

Which Animal Reiki Meditation should you choose?  

I always say, whatever meditation is appealing to you the most in that moment is the best one to choose, because that is the one you’re most likely to be easily able to focus on! However, I also will say that the Healing Pond meditation is one of my favorites. I’ve written about this meditation in my Heart to Heart with Horses: An Equine Lover’s Guide to Reiki and you can also find it as our guided meditation this month in our online Let Animals Lead® community!

Two women share Horse Reiki with a small pony through a fence outside

Working Inside Vs. Outside the Enclosure during Horse Reiki

Safety is important to keep in mind when working with horses in Animal Reiki sessions. First, if you are not familiar with horses, or even if you are just not familiar with the individual horse you are sharing with, it’s best to stay outside the horse’s enclosure when offering each session. 

Physical touch is not needed for the horse to connect with you and benefit from the healing space you are offering. If they do want physical touch, they can come up to the fence and you can touch them from there. For some horses, hands are not associated with good things with the people in their lives, so keeping your hands in your pockets might be a good choice. 

Remember, the Animal Reiki session is about touching hearts, not hands. The key here is to try to see the energy through their eyes, and as we know, horses are much more sensitive to energy than we as humans are!

Some signs that a horse is uncomfortable with your presence are:

  • Ears laid flat against neck

  • Sharp swishes of the tail

  • Mouth open and baring of teeth

  • Raised head

  • The whites of eyes showing

They may even lunge at you, while biting or kicking. If a horse begins to slightly show any of these signs (they usually warn you before they actually lunge), back off and leave the area or the enclosure.

Two horses lunging and biting to show discomfort during a Horse Reiki session with an Animal Reiki Practitioner

Sometimes, keeping a slight distance or staying outside the horse’s paddock can build trust more quickly because they realize they have a safe space when you are not physically approaching them. If they walk away and see that you don’t follow them, this can encourage even shy horses to try approaching you! 

The key is giving them agency (freedom to express their preference) in if, when, and how to connect.

For so many reasons, it’s so important that we don’t force physical touch on horses. Scoobie’s story is a great example of this, so read about his experience with Horse Reiki if you’re interested in learning more. 

Besides the benefits to the horse of staying outside their enclosure, this also ensures your own safety. Horses can spook unexpectedly and move quickly, stepping on a toe or pushing you into a fence. 

If you’re in a herd of horses, getting stuck between two horses who are arguing can also be unsafe, as they may unexpectedly bite or kick one another. Experienced horse people can assess these kinds of situations more easily, but even we can find ourselves unexpectedly stepped on every once in a while! 

Woman stands outside and shares Horse Reiki with a white horse to support animal energy healing

Consider Your Emotional Energy When Sharing Reiki with Horses

In addition to physical safety issues, there is also the emotional energy you are bringing into the session. People who are unfamiliar with horses may feel nervous or uncomfortable at first when standing close to them. A big shake, cough or snort can startle someone not used to it! You may not be able to fully focus on the meditation if you’re feeling a bit out of your comfort zone by being inside an enclosure. So why not take the pressure off yourself, step outside and relax?

What if you are familiar with horses, the particular horse you are working with, or you are comfortable being inside the pasture or enclosure? Even in these cases there are a few things to remember to keep things safe:

  • Pay attention to the alpha if you are in a herd situation and always follow their lead. If they insist on being closest to you and hogging all the attention, honor that. They will step back and allow the rest of the herd to approach if/when they feel it’s the right time. Since we are visitors on their home turf, it’s important we honor the way they lead their herd as well as their status as alpha. 

  • Don’t get yourself in between two horses or up against a fence. Even if they are relaxing at the moment, things can change quickly, and it’s good to always have a place to step back to ensure you don’t get pinned.

  • Don’t stand directly in front of or behind the horse—always stand to the side. Horses can see almost 360 degrees around them, except for a small sliver of a blind spot, directly in front and behind them. By staying to the side, you can ensure that they always see you and won’t be suddenly startled by your presence. 

Keep respectful boundaries with horses, even when you’re in “Zen” mode. Just because you have an open heart and are offering a space of compassion doesn’t mean it’s okay for a horse to push you around. 

Most horses respect a person’s boundaries when we set them up firmly. If you find a horse pushing you or biting your clothing, stand up straight and put your hand out and firmly say, “no.” If a horse isn’t listening to you and you begin to feel uncomfortable or unable to sink into your meditation, simply move outside of the enclosure. 

Feel the peace of the Animal Reiki meditation space in this relaxing video of sharing Animal Reiki with a herd of horses at Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary

Physical and Mental Proximity and Focus While Sharing Equine Reiki

One of the fun things about working with horses is that we get to be out in nature, in a barn or pasture, or perhaps under the sky or trees with birds and other wild creatures nearby. I’ve seen all kinds of wild animals visit while sharing an Animal Reiki space with my horses, such as squirrels, frogs, snakes, birds, turkeys, foxes, and coyotes. 

The space radiates peace and compassion outwards and is big enough for any visitors who choose to take part. 

Remember, we can offer our Animal Reiki meditation while we are sitting, standing, or walking, and with our eyes open or closed, so this gives us a lot of options for how to offer a session, such as:

  • Sitting on a bench outside the enclosure with our eyes mostly closed (but opening our eyes now and then to check in with how the horse is responding). 

  • Standing inside or outside the horse’s enclosure with our eyes open. To help relax into our meditation when we have our eyes open, keep a soft focus with your eyes, and gaze 45 degrees downward. By keeping the horse in the side of your vision and in a soft gaze, it’s much easier to focus on creating and holding space.

  • Hand-walking with our horse(s) in their pasture, or taking them around the ranch or on a trail. In this case, although we may be connected by the lead rope, imagine you are walking while being connected heart to heart. 

Whenever we are with our horses during Animal Reiki sessions, we should strive to keep our physical movements (and verbal communications) quiet, calm and easy. If a horse initiates physical touch, then we can gently rest our hands on the part(s) of their body they offered to us. 

There is no need to change hand positions. If the horse wants you to touch them somewhere else, let them be the one to move their body. 

Also, be patient, and allow horses to test you to see if you are “really” letting them lead. Sometimes as you begin a session, they’ll completely leave the area where you are. This is usually a test to see what you will do. Will you chase after them? 

In that case, were you really honoring their choice? But often when they see that you don’t chase after them, but simply continue to hold a quiet space of meditation, not worrying about the fact that they just walked away, they will come back within a few minutes and then choose their physical distance and open to the healing space.  

Besides our physical presence, the key to creating a peaceful space through our Animal Reiki meditation is keeping a calm state of mind and emotions. By focusing on the meditation, we’re able to settle our distracted, busy thoughts and chaotic emotions.

It’s important to be aware of the feelings we bring into sessions because horses are very in tune to our inner emotional state and the level of our stress. 

Women who are learning Animal Reiki practice Horse Reiki on a ranch through a fence

Horses are like mirrors: If we are stressed, they too can quickly become stressed. If we are angry or worried, they can quickly become disturbed and startled. Perhaps more than any other animal, they show us exactly where we are emotionally in any given moment. So if you notice the horse you are with seems a bit out of sorts, be sure to check in and evaluate your own emotional state! 

However, horses are also very forgiving, so they will also respond very well when we self-correct and regain our calm after being stressed. There have been many times when I’ve been working with horses that I’m very close to, who are very ill, and I find myself coming into and out of a calm space. 

These horses will often walk away when my mind wanders to what is “wrong” (which of course, stresses me out), but then come back to stand with me when I realize my stress and focus again on the calm space of the meditation and “All is Well.” 

Here are some signs that the horse is connecting to you and relaxing into the meditation:

  • A lowered head and relaxed neck; as a horse falls asleep, their neck may get lower and lower.

  • A relaxed muzzle and droopy lips

  • Licking and chewing

  • Ears pointed forward or to the sides

  • A low and relaxed tail

  • Sighing, deep and rhythmic breathing

  • Yawning

  • Soft eyes and lowered lids

  • Cocking a hind leg to rest

  • Pooping or “dropping” (the penis relaxing and dropping towards the ground)

Horses may show their connection by standing close to you, placing a hip or shoulder into your hands, or even walking away and turning their back to take a nap. It’s not so important how physically close they are to you; pay attention instead to the amount of relaxation they are showing, as that is the real gauge of Animal Reiki acceptance and participation. 

How Long Should a Horse Reiki Session Last?

Wondering how long your Animal Reiki session with a horse should last? Try to aim for 30-60 minutes per session. This allows the horse enough time to relax into the session. It also allows you, as the practitioner, enough time to settle your mind and emotions to be able to really sink into your practice. 

The sun goes down behind a silhouetted horse as their Equine Reiki session comes to a close

How to End Each Equine Reiki Session

A wonderful way to finish each Animal Reiki session you do is with gratitude. Take a moment to thank the horse for however they connected to you in that moment. Even if they said no to a session, I still say thank you because the whole foundation of this practice is laid upon the idea of the horse’s agency—and that means even when they say no, they’re expressing their preference, so it’s a win!

Pay attention to the lessons the horse taught you during the session too. Remember: We are only one half of the healing partnership. Creating a healing space can be so comforting and helpful to horses, but when they choose to step in and share their energy with us, they have so much to teach us about the healing journey!

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