Some thoughts on my highs and lows of winter horse care!

The last couple of weeks have felt pretty tough here at Equenergy. This is my first year of being a horse carer, having welcomed Dax back in May last year, and Rika in October when we moved to Wales and got our own land. It has been a steep learning curve!

About a week ago, on Friday, we had the first snow of the season and, obviously, the first since our move. Suddenly I was having to feed the horses much more hay, as they were unable to access any grass. We were already running a little low, and had arranged an order for the Sunday anyway, but it quickly became clear that there probably wouldn’t be enough to get us through the remaining day, night and morning before we picked up more supplies.

I went through uncomfortable feelings of guilt at not being better prepared and getting into a situation where the horses might suffer because of my lack of foresight…

This came on top of me already feeling rather low, mostly due to exhaustion, which was the result of a combination of factors:

  • the short days which never seem to have enough daylight to get everything done
  • the relentless-seeming round of daily poo picking; often in wind, rain, mud and semi-darkness at this time of year
  • juggling appointments, working on the house, business stuff (such as updating my website, networking, etc) and caring for the animals
  • still not having any proper internet, phone or TV connection
  • the time it takes to get things done because of the above challenges.

As you might have spotted, reading the above list, another drain on my energy has been the high level of expectation that I place on myself!

At times I’ve felt rather alone and vulnerable, and it was at one of these moments that I received some comments on a post that I’d made on Facebook. From the perspective of this low point they hit a nerve and felt like criticism. I was tempted to hide away and feel sorry for myself, but instead I decided it would be more productive to take a step back and look at the situation with a more objective view.

Doing this I quickly realised that the comments were far from being critical. They were actually just someone who cared deeply about an issue, expressing their thoughts. However their message threw a spotlight on a need in me that I hadn’t been addressing (old insecurities about how people see me and being ‘good enough’), which was bringing up old hurts and leaving me experiencing emotional discomfort. I could see that this provided a great opportunity for me to work on this inner pain in order to release it, taking a further step in setting myself free from the things that hold and restrict me. I explored the sensations I was experiencing and used them to identify where I needed to change my thoughts to be more supportive.

There are a variety of ways that we can do this kind of exploration:

  • journaling
  • mindfulness
  • meditation
  • talking with a friend or a professional coach / therapist
  • I personally used EFT (emotional freedom techniques, or ‘tapping’) as this helps to reduce painful emotions, meaning that I could look at things with greater clarity

I’ve had to remind myself, too, that change is often painful, as it pushes us out of our comfort zone. This is true, even when we were the ones who decided to make the change. Even when we know in our heads what to expect, the raw reality, and the unknown duration of the discomfort, can make it hard to keep going, and to keep trusting that we’ve made the right choices. This is especially true when we’re feeling tired, alone or unsupported.

Often when we’re feeling low, our inner critic goes into overdrive. I had to remind myself that this part of me is just trying to keep me safe, but in actual fact it’s made up of thoughts and beliefs that are untrue, or at least greatly exaggerated, and viewed from a negative bias. But I am able to choose my thoughts and beliefs, which in turn impacts on my perceptions, emotions, behaviours and the outcomes I experience. If I choose to focus on more positive, uplifting, optimistic thoughts, then I will experience more supportive, hopeful feelings, leading to behaviours which are more likely to produce the outcomes that I desire.

Sometimes we can get stuck in a negative cycle, particularly when we’re feeling run down, which is why it’s so important to take care of ourselves, doing our best to get quality rest, eat healthily, spend time outdoors in the fresh air and engage in exercise that we enjoy. It’s also important to reach out for help when we need it. Things can feel too big to face alone, but with another pair of hands / eyes, suddenly they seem much more manageable. Also, we are social creatures. We need to feel connected. When this is missing from our lives, the world can feel like a very big, scary and lonely place. Even if you feel that no-one can help, it’s still worth reaching out, as even doing something as simple as meeting a friend for a cup of coffee can bring a bit of brightness to your day and make things seem much less bleak.

Taking action in this way has also helped me to remember the many ‘highs’ of our new life here in Wales, and having horses with us. It’s so lovely to be able to spend time with them, either connecting through activities, or just being in their presence and feeling their calming, grounding energy. I’ve been seeing some subtle changes in Dax, where he seems to be processing things and being less reactive. He can tend to show some fear aggression, reverting to inappropriate behaviours – such as biting and pushing – when he feels anxious, but having started some clicker play with him, I’ve seen how he’s using his brain to find other ways to approach situations. Doing this in a safe environment seems to be giving him confidence in other areas of his life as well. Occasionally he seems to take a backwards step, but Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it can take time to change habits that have been held for long periods of time so I just need to remain patient and keep remembering all the good things in him so that he can see these too and step into them more fully.

Another ‘high’ is that Rika is opening up more and more each day. When she first arrived here, everything was so new for her. She’d been taken away from her people, her herd and the environment that was familiar to her. It has taken her a while to find her feet but she now regularly approaches us to say Hello, or for a cuddle or a scratch. She’s such a gentle and graceful creature that it’s a joy to spend this time with her!

I’m also deeply grateful for this amazing space all around us. The landscape is so beautiful and the light changes almost in every moment! We are surrounded by birdsong from early morning to well into the evening and it’s magical to watch the onward march of the seasons.

If you are experiencing painful emotions that feel like they’re taking over your life, and you’d like to explore some constructive ways to address the underlying issues so that you can reconnect with your balance, joy and wellbeing, then please get in touch for a no obligation chat.

PS For those of you wondering about the horses and their hay: I rang our lovely hay man, Gwyn, on the Friday and he happily gave us a couple of bales the next day which easily got us through to Sunday when we collected our order. This reminded me again that worry is unproductive and that when I reach out, help is there, supporting me through the ‘dramas’ of my life and showing me that, in fact, all is well in the end 🙂

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‘I don’t know what the problem is, but I’m just not happy…’ (part 2)

Following on from last week, where I looked at physical ways that we can support our wellbeing and happiness, I will now turn to exploring the more emotional and ‘spiritual’ aspects.

Perhaps it would be good to start by explaining that, when I say ‘spiritual’, I don’t mean in any religious sense.  That might play a role, if it is important for you, but I believe that we all have a spiritual part of our being – whether or not we’re religious – that needs care and attention in order for us to be living a whole, balanced – and happy – life.

I believe that it is only by being in harmony with our inner nature, and the Nature all around us, that we can truly experience balance, wellbeing and flow.  For me, being in Nature feeds all the layers and aspects of our being and offers us many lessons on how to better care for our health on all levels.

One of the main attractions of the property that we recently moved to in Wales is the amazing Nature all around us.  I’ve known for some time that I wanted to move out of the city.  I’ve been finding it claustrophobic and stifling, feeling squeezed uncomfortably into a role and space that no longer felt ‘right’ for me.  I longed to find a place where I felt I could breathe; where I could see the sky above, and green, living things all around me.  We looked at a variety of places in our search, all of them more rural than the Bristol suburbs where we’d been living, but not truly ‘countryside’- until we found Rose Cottage!  Here we have woods, fields, trees, natural hedges and even a little stream.  I instantly felt the sense of peace that fills this place, and it was as if the coiled spring that I’d been carrying around inside of me began to unwind and relax.

Spending time outdoors, in Nature, has proven health benefits.  There are the obvious ones of fresh air, exercise and the fact that we need daylight for our bodies to synthesise Vitamin D.  In addition there is something calming and healing about the colours green and blue – the main colours that we see, at least in the UK, when out in nature.

Connecting in with the earth is beneficial, both in terms of a physical connection and also on an emotional / spiritual level.  It is very grounding, especially if we can take our shoes off and feel the earth beneath our feet, tuning into its energy and allowing it to bring us peace and balance.

Since moving here, we haven’t been connected to the internet (if you’ve been following this blog you’ll know that it’s been an ongoing saga with BT…) but I’ve really come to know and appreciate the truth of the saying:

There is something very special about getting away from the world of work, busy-ness and all the normal daily demands.  Sadly we are often so used to this ‘noise’ that we’ve forgotten how to be quiet, and lost touch with our own uniqueness – who we are without all the ‘domestication’ of our every day lives, and also the wonder of our being and all the amazing gifts that we alone can bring to the world.

So many people are experiencing stress and overwhelm in our society.  They might push it down, using work, food, alcohol, smoking, shopping, over-exercise or some other form of addiction in order to dull the pain.  But it doesn’t go away, and often it can fester inside us, leading to physical or mental dis-ease.  Sadly, trying to stop ourselves from feeling the pain in these ways effectively dis-connects us from ourselves, and from our internal guidance system, meaning that we can find ourselves feeling lost and/or making decisions that don’t serve us.  We can end up feeling discontent, unfocused and lonely, knowing that something is missing but not sure how to fill the hole…  This is what leads us to look outside of ourselves for the answer, the thing that will help us to feel fulfilled and ‘complete’, but in reality, nothing outside of ourselves can ever satisfy this need, if we don’t first take care of our inner selves.  This is where it is so important to spend some time in quiet, allowing ourselves the space to reflect, reconnect and tune in to what we really need.  Mindfulness and getting present are great ways to start.  Also practising gratefulness.  I often recommend keeping a gratitude diary, making a note of all the things you find in your day to feel thankful for, or that make you smile.  It can be as simple as a warm cup of delicious coffee, reading a good book or seeing the smile on a child’s face.  Focusing on these things will reset your focus away from negativity.  Where your attention goes, energy flows and will attract more of the same into your life, so feeding the positive is a great way to support your wellbeing.

Basically ‘overwhelm‘ is when we find ourselves in a situation where we feel that we have little or no control, and yet we’re having to juggle a high level of demand.  We feel overloaded; trapped with nowhere to go to escape.

When we make time to get out into Nature, it gives us space – both literally and emotionally – allowing us to take a step back and regain a degree of perspective, in order to reconnect with what is important to us.

I love this quote from Emily McDowell:

To me, this is what it’s all about, and it’s what being in Nature gives us the space to do.  It allows us to strip off the layers of conditioning, the masks we wear to survive in the worlds outside of ourselves, and to reconnect with Who We Really Are.  When we can do this, and appreciate the amazing being that we are, ‘warts and all’, then we can start to explore what it means to be that person, more fully.  How can we tap in to our gifts and begin to truly share them with those around us…?  This will both benefit others, and help us to grow and to feel more fulfilled – more ‘in tune’ with ourselves – that is, more comfortable in our own skin.  The feelings of stress and overwhelm begin to melt away as we step into the niche that was always there for us, waiting for the time that we would stop trying to please others, and instead allow ourselves to be all that we can be.

It’s like Marianne Williamson says:

We are ‘powerful beyond measure’ when we connect with our authentic selves.  The Universe has created you with great care, bringing many elements together over aeons of time, to result in the person that you are.

Stop and think about this for a moment…

Let the miracle of your being really settle into your consciousness…

This doesn’t just apply to others – those who are rich, or famous, or have won the Nobel Prize for something…  it applies to each and every one of us.  Being ‘small’ doesn’t serve ourselves, and it doesn’t serve those around us.  As Marianne says:

“… as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

So don’t think of it as selfish to take time for yourself and to listen to your heart and follow where it leads you.  That is what you are here to do.  That is how you fulfil your potential.  That is how you be your best self and give permission to others to be their best selves.

This magical place is supporting me along my journey, and if it resonates for you, I’d love to offer you the opportunity to experience this healing space for yourself.  Together we can create a bespoke package for you to explore Who You Really Are, within this safe and supportive environment.  I work with energy, using techniques such as Reiki and EFT (‘tapping’), and also offer workshops and retreats.  If you would like to know more, please get in touch:

You can also see more on my website: equenergy.com