This is my Amara during a mindfulness session we had one day.

I’m a certified Life Coach, with over 2000 hours of coaching experience. One of the greatest skills my training gave me was the ability to be fully present with my clients during their sessions. To be totally with them in the moment, without judgement, making it completely about them and putting my own thoughts and agenda aside was often the most powerful gift they took from their time with me, and it led to many breakthrough moments in their lives.

This has become such a part of my life that most of the time it comes naturally. But it can be a two-edged sword at times.

An acquaintance I once knew would ambush me and then rattle on at a million miles an hour. He asked questions without waiting for the answers, didn’t listen at all or interrupted me when I attempted to answer his enquiry, and when I did finally get a word in I could tell he was busy formulating his answer rather than absorbing what I was saying. His “conversations” were like ADHD frogs with machine guns, jumping from topic to topic with rapid fire barrages of words.

His texts were the same, five or more in rapid sequence without waiting for answers or acknowledging any response.

And when he was done he would often exclaim how much he “just loved talking to me!” Yes, he loved talking TO me or AT me, but certainly not WITH me. He was an industrial vacuum, exhausting me so much that I found myself avoiding him.

Yet how often have I done this with my horses? Why did it never occur to me to be totally present with my horses, truly “listening” to them, giving them space, without judgement, agendas, or demands?

For years I rocked up to the paddock, mind whirling with all the things I had to do, what I wanted to accomplish with my horse today, the goals I wanted to achieve with them, interrupted by checking my phone or adding to my grocery list in case I forgot the item later. I would do so much TO my horses; fire instructions AT them, give them orders and demand obedience but very seldom was I WITH them. Then I would judge them as “good” or “bad” that day, and I would judge myself as either “successful”, or a “training failure”. It is a wonder they came near me. Some days they didn’t and then, of course, they were “naughty” for not wanting to be caught.

Mindfulness, Being present. Holding space. Being fully in the moment. Making it all about the horse. Making it not about you. Turning off your phone. Letting go of agendas, goals, achievements. Asking the horse how they feel, what they want, where they are at. It’s such a powerful gift to them. And, unlike the exhausting guy, they often give so much in return…when we are mindful enough to notice.

People tend to like it too.


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