Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Mindful Rider: Introductions

I figured it was time for an introduction post, to give a little information about myself and the things you can expect to pop up here on www.TheMindfulRider.com

Mindfulness and the Equestrian:
When I talk about Mindful Riding, I'm referring to a whole host of things. The Merriam-Webster definition of Mindful is "inclined to be aware", while the definition of Mindfulness is "a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations." 

When applied to horseback riding, I think that being mindful implies that you are aware of your focus, emotion and (most of all) empathy for the horse beneath you. Riding with mindfulness, however, seems to be almost a state of meditation.  It becomes a sharp control of this focus, emotion and empathy, with a removal from your conscious "outside" self. 

Honestly, anyone who has ridden in a really intense dressage lesson will know that, while the beginning of the ride may be subtly affected by the baggage that you bring to the arena, by the time you're full involved in your ride you have no time to think of the outside world. Your Monday blues disappear and your concern for what's for dinner flies right out the window. 

You ride, and live, in the moment, with focus and empathy.

The Blog:
This blog is a place for daily musings as well as a collection of information relating to mindful riding. We'll be focusing primarily on dressage concepts, but also equine biomechanics, holistic equine healthcare, riding exercises and guest posts.

My name is Emily Jenkins and I am the primary writer, here at The Mindful Rider. I am a lower-level dressage trainer from southeast Michigan and I've been riding for twenty years and training horses professionally for just shy of thirteen of those years.

Since I first stumbled across the concept of  biomechanics for horse and rider, I have done nothing but soak up information about it in any way I can. I have read books, articles and published papers on various theories and practices; I have ridden with trainers who use biomechanics as the basis of their training, and ultimately I've redeveloped my own training philosophy to reflect the fact that I've never seen anything improve so many horses and riders, so quickly, as teaching with an awareness of the biomechanics involved in dressage. It's through this passion for biomechanics and holistic horsemanship that I began to find myself becoming more mindful of my riding, and in fact, all of my equine interactions.

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