On a warm day in late September I joined the Mindfulness the Equine Way event at Paintedhorse. The event was jointly run by Carole and Livvy from Paintedhorse and was seamlessly presented throughout.
During the morning Carole introduced us to the practice and benefits of mindfulness itself. We were taught several exercises which could easily be practised at home and even learnt a little (and I mean a little!) Tai Chi. After this came the mindful walk around the beautiful fields at Homeway Farm, learning to properly feel the earth beneath our feet, to sense the air around us and to appreciate the beauty in each plant, tree and cloud.
After lunch Livvy presented a talk on the Paintedhorse herd and the amazing work she does with those who are in need of emotional support – Livvy carries out equine therapy and works with prisons, young offenders and those with mental health issues. We were introduced to the herd and encouraged to spend a substantial amount of time connecting with the horses. It sounds a bit odd at first but it is actually a really relaxing and simultaneously uplifting experience!
Once our time with the horses was over, Livvy set us the task of making a wild mandala from anything we could find around the field. We collected twigs, flowers and feathers and though it looked rather strange for a mandala, we were proud of ourselves for putting it together.
I absolutely loved the day – as, I think, did everyone else – and would encourage anyone reading this to give it a go. It may be a very different approach to mainstream mindfulness and wellbeing but it is educational, hands on and delivered by two very dedicated and approachable ladies and several gorgeous horses!