Can you hear me now? Quality time with your horse

“Can you hear me now?” was a phrase in a popular advertisement for cell phones years ago. I recall being at a ride where I had to climb to the top of a big  hill to get any connection. The beauty of that was everybody there made one phone call at the end of the day and the rest of the time no one could reach us and we didn’t bother to reach them. Our horses and our friends who were present got all our attention.


When I first started with the Waterhole Rituals, I would suggest people do things on their smartphones while entering the first step with their horses, or meditate or read – but mostly be sitting in one place or maybe walking a little.

I’ve begun to rethink that. Although getting to play games on your smartphone or answering text messages might be appealing, I’ve noticed horses drawing away from me when I get involved in texting. Sometimes my horses like the voice of a particular friend that they know on the phone, but they move away if I get too engaged in my phone. They like it best if I am in a more meditative frame, available to them in my whole being when they come over to me.

This is kind of in keeping with what we are learning about technology use in other areas of life, where we are not as focused, too busy multi-tasking, losing our in-the-moment presence which is so vital to horse work – and extends into our every day interaction with everybody. I don’t know if cell phones are affecting our brain cells, but there is an electromagnetic field emanating from cell phones that has been scientifically linked to brain activity. Our cell phones are interrupting all kinds of conversations we’re having on a daily basis, and that includes those we’re having with our horses, or could have!Patches_cellphone2

I’ve talked before about how important it is to always say positive things and be positive around our horses (The most beautiful horse in the world), rather than listing their faults or behavioral or health issues. I think the phone opens up a whole rats nest of things we expose horses to that they don’t need to hear about. There is also that same kind of noise pollution that we subject children to, beyond the scheduling of play dates and such, when we’re driving around in the car. They take our lead and unplug from us and plug right into a device instead.

With horses, we have the opportunity to be congruent and connect invthe moment. It is why being around horses is so very healing for some. But we can’t just “be” around them without it being reciprocal. They have to gain something from the relationship or they don’t want to be around. They will tune us out. There has to be something in it for them.

So, if I don’t answer the phone, don’t get offended. I might be out with my horse or someone else’s horse, or a person, and I don’t want to interrupt the moment with them. It’s their time with me.

To help your horse with body soreness and/or winter conditions, consider signing up for EPR Study Groups will be held in Santa Fe, NM. Look at or for calendar announcements for classes.

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4 thoughts on “Can you hear me now? Quality time with your horse

  1. This post is very meaningful to me, because I too advise my students to leave their cell phones in the house or car when they go to their horses. Horses do seem to disconnect from you when you are present in your body, but on the phone. This is an increasing problem for families, too, I think. The horses are correct; you really aren’t with them when you are texting or gaming.

  2. Good story Susan – I don’t carry my cell phone with me if it isn’t REALLY necessary – so if people have put a message on my answering machine then they REALLY do want to connect with me 🙂

    1. Thanks, Geerteke. I must say I’m not as good as you about not carrying my cell phone at all. Someone might need me, and I can take photos with it, so it goes to the barn with me. I just began to find myself so distracted by it while there that I realized I had allowed it to creep into my time with the horses. I needed to shut it off or not answer while working with them!

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