One of the three main principles of The HERD Institute philosophy is Here & Now.
“Here & Now refers to the importance of being (and staying) in the present moment. As both a herd and a prey animal, horses are always aware of the present moment. It is not only their survival instinct but their way of being, as they rely on energetic presence” (V. Lac, The HERD Institute).
As a facilitator, I have to remain present during sessions in order to fully engage with my clients. If I am thinking about the laundry list of items I need to pick up from the grocery store or emails I need to respond to, I am not focused on what is happening around me, which could result in missing key “take-a-neighs” or unsafe behavior.
But, Here & Now does not just apply to EFL. It exists in our daily lives.
For example, when we make a change to move to a new barn or a new job, we can not constantly compare “old” versus “new” — it does not allow us to focus on what is happening in the present moment. This is certainly easier said than done, and takes a TON of practice (I am still figuring it out myself!).
Lately, I have had to bring myself back to the present moment during my twice-weekly riding lessons. I am not, nor will I ever be, a competitive rider. I prefer a walk or slow trot, and have no desire to increase that pace any more. While I began riding at a young age at a friend’s backyard barn, I did not have a consistent schedule or trainer, bouncing around from barn to barn every few years in between long hiatuses. In fact, it was not until I purchased my own horse last year that I rode in a consistent lesson program.
Each trainer had their own teaching style, thus at each new barn, I started back with the basics. My body is currently physically “undoing” all of my previous bad habits from the last lesson program I was a part of. There are days where it does not remember how to ride correctly, reverting back to those nasty old habits, and leading me down into a rabbit hole of comparison.
It is in these moments that I remind myself of the Here & Now, determined to focus on the task at hand, not the past that I can not change.