A Simple Way to Prepare Your Body and Mind for Riding


Episode #19 of

Easier Movement, Happier Horses


Preparing your body and mind - letting go of stress, anxiety, muscular tension and distracting thoughts - can help you be fully present with your horse. You'll communicate with your horse more clearly and be less likely to be side-tracked by negative thoughts and underlying tension. 

In this episode, I teach you a simple, yet powerful, approach that can help prepare your body and mind for riding. And it only takes a few minutes! Whether you're feeling stressed, anxious or tired (or all three!), this simple approach can help. And it doesn't require any equipment or cost any money.
It can help you relax your mind and energize your body. So you can have a more joyful time with your horse. 

I hope you enjoy the episode and give this simple, powerful approach a try. Thanks for listening and sharing! 


💥Want to get expert coaching on putting this into practice to help your horse - and yourself - have more flexible, balanced and confident movement?💥

Click here to join the waitlist for our online group coaching program, "Move With Your Horse."🐴 💖

You'll be among the first to know when we open our doors again. And you'll get special bonuses! ✨


Questions? Email [email protected]

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xo, Mary

Important safety reminder: Riding and handling horses are potentially dangerous activities. If you feel anxiety or fear, it may be warranted! Please don't do anything that can put you in danger. Educate yourself and seek the guidance of a qualified, positive trainer or medical professional as necessary. The information in this podcast is for general education/entertainment purposes only and is never intended as professional or medical advice.      


Welcome to Easier Movement, Happier Horses. I'm Mary Debono, your movement and mindset coach. If you'd like to have flexible, balanced movement or relaxed, confident mindset, and a joyful connection with your horse, you're in the right place. I can't wait to share what I've learned over the past 30 years of helping improve the performance and partnership of horses and their humans.

Thank you so much for being here. Now. Let's dive in Hello and welcome to easier movement, happier horses. When someone joins my free Facebook group, which is happy, healthy horse women, or they sign up for my free rider masterclass, I usually reach out to them and ask, how can I best support you? Like what would you most like help with?

And I love this response that I got from Christine. She said, I'd like to learn how to soften my mind and body during interactions with my horse so I can have less of an agenda. Isn't that fabulous. I just thought that was such a wonderful response. And that really speaks to the kind of horse woman Christine is or, and, and wants to be.

So this is for Christine and for everyone else, because I think this can help all of us and what it is I'd like to take you through. It's, it's kind of why you can think of it as like a light meditation or yeah. Light meditation is probably a good way to put it. So please only do this. If you're in a safe place,

if you're not driving or doing some other activity that needs your entire focus, but let me walk you through a process that only takes a few minutes, super simple to do you do it with your eyes open, and you can have a wonderful effect with your body and your mind and help you be in a better state to work and interact with your horse.

So it's actually, it's called haka law. It's a Hawk alum meditation, which is something that the ancient Hawaiians is to do. It's from the, the practice called Huna. And this is how you do it. It's super simple, but super powerful as well. So you can do it standing or you can do it sitting. And let's say that you're in your house and you're sitting or standing,

and you just look at a spot in front of you. So maybe on the wall in front of you and the spot should be just a little bit above eye level. So like, as if you were looking through your, where the middle of your eyebrows, like that area. So just above eye level and you focus on this spot, you just look at the spot and you focus it,

focus on it and just do it very comfortably. It's not like you're trying too hard, you know, do a hard focus. Right? I think just looking at the spot. Okay. And just like, let your think about letting your gaze rest comfortably on that spot. And then as you're looking at this spot, just allow yourself to let go of any thoughts,

any emotions, anything like that, that you're feeling when you started this meditation. Okay. Just let it go. Just release any attachment you have to, to, to things, to thoughts, to feelings, and just allow yourself to deepen your focus on the spot. Again, it's not a hard thing you want to think of your eyes resting comfortably on the spot.

And as you do that, as you let go of any attachment of feelings and thoughts that you've had, you'll find that your awareness expands and that you start to see more in your periphery. So it's like you go from looking at this one spot to suddenly you can see more around you, and then you, you encourage that you, you start to allow this greater expansion to happen and you just allow your eyes to get really soft.

And for you to start seeing much more in your periphery, you could even put your hands up, you know, near your head and wiggle your fingers. And you'll probably notice that you can see them. And it's a very soft type of looking. Okay. It's very, very soft. And you want to think of just gently expanding your vision outward.

So from the single spot you expanded all around you. Okay? And it's like, you can just start to be aware of all these things simultaneously. So instead of focusing on one spot, one thing you suddenly are aware of all these things at once, all this in your periphery, and it's such a soft, lovely feeling that many people describe it as bliss,

that when they're in this state, it's, it's a very much an expanded awareness state. It just feels really, really good. And I've heard that the ancient Hawaiians believed you couldn't hold a negative thought when you're in this state. So that's kind of cool too, right? Because so often we're judging, we're judging ourselves. We're judging other people, other things,

you know, situations. And when you just have this wonderful expanded awareness, you let all that go. And what I find is so wonderful about this is that it allows you to be more open, more receptive. So you start to feel a notice, things that you would have otherwise missed. So again, you have this expanded awareness, you start to see all the stuff in your periphery,

and it's a very much like simultaneously you can see all around you. So it's a very soft thing. And then if you really want to turbocharge it, let's just say you can focus on really releasing any unnecessary tension all the way from your scalp, all the way down to your toes. Think of your shoulders, your arms, your fingers, your trunk,

your legs, just letting go. You can kind of go through your body piece by piece, if you will, and release any unnecessary tension, just let it go. And again, you'll find that this will give you an even greater sense of a relaxation and it will also recharge you. What's so interesting about this is that this, this little method,

it calms down your nervous system. It helps you go into a parasympathetic state, which is the rest and digest state. It's very calming, but it also energizes you. And that's so cool so that when you come out of it, you have more energy than when you went in. So maybe it's like you do it, maybe at three o'clock in the afternoon when you're starting to get tired and you do this instead of grabbing a cup of coffee,

and you'll find that it'll calm you, but give you this feeling of restoration. So I think of it like as a reboot or a reset to your system, kind of like you reboot your computer. You can really calm your nervous system down. And at the same time, be really open to being in a much better place to notice things about your horse,

into, to pick things up. So let me give you another way to even intensify this, to make it even more powerful. And that's adding something, we call the hob breath hall like ha and all you do, simple thing is you breathe in through your nose. You take a deep breath, you hold it a little bit, and then you exhale out your mouth and you,

you, you just like exhale like this, like, like you're saying, ha. So you do that a few times. You just maybe three hard breaths and you can, you can really stay in this meditation, this haka laws, we call it this expanded awareness. Maybe want to do it five minutes or 10 minutes or even less, or even more.

Some people stay in a lot. Some people that get really good at this, they do this whenever they're changing from like say walking from the barn to the pasture to get their horse, they make sure they go into the state. You don't want to be doing it again. You don't want to be doing while you're driving or anything where you could walk off a cliff or into,

you know, a pole or something, but it can be a really nice kind of transition thing to do. And certainly before you, you interact with your horse, it could be a very nice thing to do because it helps just like Christine asked for a way to soften your body and your mind so that you have less of an agenda because in our culture,

we just tend to be very like hard focused. We have, we have goals, we have plans. We have things that are very fixed and we tend to have our visual state be that way as well. And it puts us also into more of a high anxiety state. And this is the exact opposite. This helps you be more flexible, softer in your approach.

And actually it's so much better, more beneficial because you will notice more things. And I find that people will often tell me that they get really amazing insights. And I know this has happened to me as well. After doing this honk a law that they will get, things will just come to them. So I use this as an opportunity to, to take a moment and to think about,

so if I, if you do it before you go see your horse, you can do the meditation and then think about, okay, what is the feeling I want to have when I'm with my horse today and just see what comes up for you, see what comes up. And then if you want to use your imagination a little bit, while you're in this amazingly receptive state,

you might ask now, what would the feeling, you know, what would be the feeling my horse wants to experience with me and see what comes up, see what comes up. Because again, this is a great way to kind of reboot or reset your yourself so that you are more receptive. You are noticing more things and you'll be a more effective and happy,

quite frankly, happier horse person, right? And your horse will appreciate you being in this quieter state. So it's both, again, it's both what I love it so much because it's both calming, but you're also, you have an energy and the heart breathing even, you know, adds to that because you're, you're improving your breathing and you're bringing more oxygen and all that good stuff.

And so you'll find that you'll be a little more energetic. You'll feel better overall after doing this. So really a good thing again, what a great question from Christine. I just thought it was so great to ask, like how can I get in this state? And this is a really wonderful way to do it. And this way you'll be a little,

you know, we'll all be a little more open, a little more receptive and a lot more flexible. So I hope you found this useful. Let me know what your experience has been. Feel free to email me, [email protected]. Oh, and before you go, let me tell you one thing, we will be starting a new, it's not a new program in teaching this program for several months,

but a new we're opening the doors to it. I should put it that way. We're closing one cohort pretty soon, opening the doors to another one. So you have a chance to, to come aboard our "Move with Your Horse" program, which addresses the movement and mindset of you and teaches you hands-on work to do with your horse as well. So super excited to welcome a new group of people.

If you want to know more about that, again, you can email me: [email protected] or sign up for my free rider masterclass totally free. And then you'll get on the list and you'll be, you'll be told when we're opening the doors and all the details about that, but super excited. And we're going to keep it limited. So it's only going to be a small group because I give tons and tons of personal attention to everybody in the group.

So I can't have a big, don't want to have a big group. We're going to keep it really small and tight and intimate and awesome. So thank you so much for joining me. I hope you found this little light meditation helpful, and I can't wait to talk to you again. Bye for now.

Thank you for joining me for this episode of Easier Movement, Happier horses.

Remember to grab your free video masterclass for riders at marydebono.com/rider. You get three easy effective exercises to improve your back hips position and posture. People love these videos! It's important for riders and non-riders alike. I'm Mary Debono. Go have fun with your horses. Bye for now.