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Take a moment and remember one of the best rides you have ever had. Maybe it wasn't even a ride, it was just being with your horse…

A time where you were completely lost in the moment.

Time itself seemed to be standing still and all the noise in your mind of day to day life went away.

There is a name for this state, and it's not an accident how we get there.

It is, I believe, what keeps us coming back to riding even when we may go days or weeks without finding that feeling. Being in flow, whatever activity takes us there, is one of the most positive states of life.

In a way, finding this state is a form of self-expression, where we are challenged, yet competent. I'll explain more in today's video!

Click play below and learn what it means to be in a state of flow and how we can engineer finding this state.

Want to learn more about flow? Here is an article to go deeper.

Leave a comment and share a story about the time you were with your horse or a ride where you were in a state of flow!

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Comments

44 Responses

  1. Love your little messages. We all need them to help us keep going, especially in times like these. I had that flow feeling the other day. We have had a lot of rain here and wasn’t able to ride in my arena, so I had been doing a lot of ground work. When I did finally ride it was wonderful as it felt like my horse was really with me and listening. Not every minute, but a lot of the time. It was one of those that you came away going, “That is what it should be like all the time.” Wonderful stuff.

  2. Practicing lateral work today and direct transitions to canter. A few weeks ago I was definitely not equipped enough to be able to have a go at these in my own but today we had a go in the field with some great results. I was definitely in the flow and completely lost in me and my horse!

  3. Thank you so much for your sharing on the state of “flow” I look at it as a state of “harmony” when everything comes together without thinking and you’re just in the moment presently. I’ve had been bucked off a lesson horse and broke my humorous bone and had not been riding for four months. I decided my best option was to buy a horse . My first time back on the horse was when I was looking to buy. It was incredible on my first ride there was that moment of “flow” that was so perfect even though my saddle was a little bit too small but I’ve never been on this horse before.
    I posted and cantered with such ease … everything just lined up without anxiety after being bucked off a lesson horse (leasing for 4 months) that had big anxiety issues. Riding a well trained Horse and being relaxed was an Epiphany moment!
    I love how you put the practical skill level /anxiety with that moment; of “flow” when everything is lined up working in conjunction. Skill/Ability/Bored – Anxiety/Worried.
    Riding a horse is worth every moment on good days and bad days because it really brings you to a place of peace within yourself when you hit those moments! …when it Flows!
    Thank you again for sharing so clearly!

    1. Hi Kerry, I love the point you brought up about being in harmony because I believe that horses can go into a state of flow. I think that is how many upper-level competitive horses operate!

      -Julia, CRK Training Community Manager

  4. My best ride was my last ride on a mare I’d had a partnership with for 18 years. It was a night of a full moon when I took her out just to spend more time with her before the vet came in the morning. Even though her kidneys were failing, she was still strong and I was delighted when she broke into a canter on her own accord. It felt as if I was floating on air and time stood still. It was a time of being in the moment and cherishing every second with her.

    1. Connie, your comment moved me to tears. What a beautiful memory you’ll cherish forever!

      -Julia, CRK Training Community Manager

    2. Connie –
      It’s so wonderful that your last ride on her was the best one. And in the moonlight, no less! (I need a kleenex. sniffle).

  5. Two weeks ago I was at the barn. By the time I was in the saddle everyone else had gone so I was alone in the arena. It was close the perfect ride! (Besides the fact that my horse was scared at one corner because a guy had been working to get a birds nest out of the door) but as we picked up the lope everything just set into place. She (my horse) was perfect and smooth and I just moved with her in perfect sync. It was amazing and it reminded me why I love this so much!

  6. I would say that I am in the flow when working with my Savannah at liberty. Being able to intuitively to draw from all that I know and have learned effortlessly (usually I am looking at notes or instructions to help me remember). During these times, it is freer for both of us and Savannah appreciates it. Time just slips by………

    Thanks for this topic!

  7. Hi Callie,
    The horse I had in my much younger years was an amazing animal. I got him when he was 2 yrs. old and worked with him daily. He was really smart and picked up on things easily. We developed an unbreakable bond. I always felt at one with him when riding.
    I now have a Friesian Cross. She is also a very smart horse but can be a bit tempermental. Through grooming and groundwork, we are slowly bonding. I’m waiting for the day when her and I have that unbreakable bond. Your videos have helped tremendously. Thank you from my heart.

  8. Callie – Thanks for this great video! As you showed the parameters on your graph, I recognized this same thing in myself as I have progressed in my riding abilities over the past 4 years. It’s been a wonderful journey!

    Zara and I have had many of these “flow” rides but one that really sticks out to me is a ride I took with a group of other horsemen/women from all over Utah in Capitol Reef National Park in Southern Utah. I hadn’t been riding for very long and trail rides were a brand new thing for me so I was looking for easy, non-technical rides. Everyone I rode with assured me this was an easy, lovely little trail that ran along a creek in one of the canyons in the park. Well… easy is a relative concept. To someone with lots of experience “easy” looks different than it does to a newbie but I’m trusting and adventurous. It turned out to be a spectacular ride – scenery, weather, friends and horses – except in one spot, which is where I learned something important.

    The trail crossed the creek a number of times. At one spot we all had a little fun with quicksand but we got through it just fine. Then came the trail went over slick rock. Then came the biggest challenge ever. The slick rock ended at a drop of about 6 feet (2 meters) overlooking the creek. Some of my friends were down by the creek and I asked them which way to go to get down there. They pointed at some slick rock “stairs” just in front of me. I was dumb-founded. Go down THAT?! My brain did a little twizzle. I took a couple of deep breaths, let Zara look at where we had to go and when she was ready, I let the reins loose, leaned back and trusted her. She hopped down those “stairs” like it was nothing. It was in that moment of trusting Zara that I had one of the most fun, memorable experience of doing something I thought was impossible. As I put my trust in her, I let go of all thoughts and emotions and just paid attention to what Zara was doing. I call it being in the zone. That’s where I was as she hopped down slick rock stairs. I wanted to go back and do it again.

    Thanks for letting me share this with you and thanks again for the insights into rider psychology. It’s very helpful

    1. Love your analogy of “the zone”! What a great heart swelling ride to be able to trust your horse and have her take such good care of you!

      1. I’ve been a horse lover since a young child. It has always been, for me, the most wonderful feeling in the world! At one with such an amazing animal!!

    2. Thank you for sharing this story Connie! It sounds like Zara too was in the ‘zone’ 🙂

      -Julia, CRK Training Community Manager

  9. “State of flow” …..love it! I experienced it twice yesterday -once grooming and once on the trail with my very fresh, forward Tennessee Walker. I’ve learned to “cross fiber” groom him and when I got to that sweet spot along his fuzzy rear end, he lifted his tail and closed his eyes in pure bliss. Who can think of anything else when watching a face like that? Then, on the trail, I was nearly home and was jolted by the reality of the world as we know it, now. I had truly put it out of my thoughts as we navigated all the dangers on the trail, like wild turkeys, prancing deer and the horse eating trees that had fallen over the winter. So grateful my barn is small and I’m still able to see my boy!

    1. Hi Leslie
      Zara is a Missouri Fox Trotter. I love that smooth ride! May I ask, what is cross fiber grooming? Isn’t fun to watch them have that moment of “ahhhh”?

      1. Hi Connie! My equine massage therapist sent me links to a vet who does the “cross fiber” grooming. I’ll try to add the link, here. It’s basically just grooming across the muscles (horizontally) rather than always along the path of hair growth. It’s to help loosen the skin and muscles before or after a workout. https://drpatbona.com/video/

        1. Thanks for the link! That sounds a lot like what I do when I massage my horse. I’ll check this out, try it and let you know. 🙂

    2. Hi Leslie, thanks for your comment! I am so glad to hear you are still able to ride during this craziness!

      -Julia, CRK Training Community Manager

    3. Leslie – and everyone else –
      So I went to the link you sent me and watched the video on cross fiber grooming. I do this when I’m giving Zara a massage, but today I tried it as a grooming technique. It was really interesting.

      Today was a super windy day, with small branches and twigs ripped from the trees and hitting the metal barn roof. There were all kinds of stuff flapping around and flying everywhere and an unruly Australian Shepherd who demanded to be petted. Zara was pretty fresh, too. I decided to tie her in her stall to groom her amid all this mayhem. She was tense, looking at everything, she was startled and jumped to the side. It was probably not a smart thing to do, but I was really eager to see how cross fiber grooming would work on her. I began the grooming by removing shedding hair, then started the grooming. By the time I got to her rear on the side I began grooming, she was settled down. When I got to the rump and groomed across those muscles, I got an unexpected big snort and passing of gas. I looked at her ears and they were totally relaxed, her eyes were at half-mast, wow! I finished the grooming on the other side and she was really mellow when I was done. I think this is a great technique! Thanks for the excellent tip!

  10. Flow…..love the concept! My last lesson (2 weeks ago because we are locked down now), I was working on riding my whole horse, not just her head. I was using my yoga breathing, making sure I was as balanced as I could be and thinking “we’ve got this”. My mare is a rather forward moving Cheval Canadien and I am not always as relaxed an confident as I should be, based on the fact that she is my heart horse –we are definitely connected. Long story short, all of a sudden we were working on our posting trot, going around the indoor arena balanced and relaxed and I could FEEL that it was soft and pretty before my instructor said “There! Right there!” Honestly, just sharing this story took me right back to that feeling of what I’m going to call my “Flow”. I love your videos and I am glad to be part of this group!

    1. Hi Bonnie! It is super easy to focus on the head mostly because it is mostly what we see from the saddle! I love the distinction you made about riding the whole horse. That takes true awareness! Thank you for your comment 🙂

      -Julia, CRK Training Community Manager

  11. love the idea of ‘the flow’. I have ridden most of my life, and certanly understand what you talk about. I am currently bringing on a youngster, so my flow with her is back to really nice walk and trot, but I have experienced with my previous horse it in halfpass, when I just thought about the movement for a second and she complied immediately, as we floated across the arena

  12. Hi
    I have long thought the eighth limb of yoga Samadhi or bliss where everything is just connected and which I realised you can’t be in at all moments because all the everyday other things need attending. But on my horse when it happens everything flows. Your concept of flow fits. And interestingly for me anyhow I believe that being on my horse and with my horse is essentially a meditation. Be here, be now. And it sure takes practice to do that.

    1. I love the point you brought up Robbie, that we can’t be in that state all of the time. I love the ‘be here, be now’ I think that is something we can all use a little more of that in our lives 🙂

      -Julia, CRK Training Community Manager

  13. I am immersed in the arts and so feel flow quite frequently as I paint or make music. I also experience flow with my horse. It feels to me that the body knows what to do and the mind seems to follow along. Time flies. I feel it when I am riding and my body feels in harmony with my horse, I am not hindering him, I am flying with him.

    1. What a beautiful way to describe it Bridget – flying together!

      Thank you for your comment 🙂

      -Julia, CRK Training Community Manager

  14. I’m a bit like Leslie, in that I often hit the state of flow in my every day horse interactions, and I think I’m very conscious of them right now in troubled times. I count every day I can still go to the barn as special, and if I can manage a ride, it’s even more so. My mare can be challenging, so whether it’s surviving passing the pasture of a new horse, playing games at liberty, or practicing lateral movements, we know each other well enough now that we almost always find at least a few moments of flow. That’s so much of what I was looking for and had missed when I came back to horses after years off. It wasn’t a short journey to find it again, but the intersection of challenges and abilities have now come together as an ever moving target.

    1. Thank you for your comment Kalli, it has been so fun hearing about the progress that you and PG have made over the last few years!

      -Julia, CRK Training Community Manager

  15. Hi Callie, I know what you mean, as of last week. I am almost 60 and have been learning to ride for the past year, but was very ‘stuck’ on trot/canter transitions, and like so many other beginners, getting very anxious at the thought of cantering. I had a wonderful lesson with my friend, who kindly let me ride her beautiful Welsh Cob, and with just a few tweaks to my posture, it helped me relax, feel balanced, with a good seat, and it all just fell into place. I felt as though I was floating and loved every second of it! Literally, a huge mental hurdle jumped for me. Now I just have to wait until we live in a more normal world, to get back in the saddle!
    I’m in Melbourne, Australia, and it’s great having your videos to watch and keep learning. Take care and stay safe and well. xx

    1. Hoping that ‘normal’ is around the corner Kerry! Thanks for tuning in from Australia 🙂

      -Julia, CRK Training Community Manager

  16. I am “in the flow” when I am playing with Savannah at liberty. I intuitively and effortlessly engage with her, and she engages with me. Time just flies by. It is wonderful.

    Karen

  17. My horse has been off 6 wk hand walking healing a splint so vet gave ok now to ride at walk for 1/2 h daily. Do I jumped on bareback and rope halter one trim riding in arena. He was so good we really enjoyed ourselves. Walk stop back up leg yields turn on haunches and forehand all at the walk. He was very proud of himself and he earned lots of treats

    1. I’m glad to hear your horse is able to be ridden again Sandy!

      -Julia, CRK Training Community Manager

  18. Hi Callie:
    I have taken a couple of your courses and enjoy your free videos. My plan is to work through the calm and confident rider program again as I am at a new level. When I began the course I was experiencing a lot of fear moving into canter and was discouraged. I did EMDR with a therapist and it helped me to move past some of my fears. I am now back in canter and have enjoyed a few times in “the state of flow”. Even typing this makes me smile inside. I am once again moving forward to jumping higher than poles on the ground. I feel the fear building, as this challenge faces me, yet it is different this time because I am taking it easy on myself and encouraging myself at this new step. My trainer yesterday made me circle around and attempt the jump over and over and I was able to end on a high note. She is great with knowing how to move me past my fear. I look forward to achieving “the state of flow” with each level of jump, so someday I will be jumping over higher fences stacked in a row…”flying with my horse”. I love all your programs! I am a dietitian who works in the area of Soul Hunger with Eating Disorder Clients, and I often use the model of “The Observer Self” encouraging them to look inward to understand why and when they react, so that they can build new pathways of moving past fears. And you are now helping me do the same with riding. Thank you so much! Laura Laine

    1. I am so happy to hear that you have found wonderful results from the EMDR work! I had the biggest smile reading your comment 🙂

      Keep up the amazing work!

      -Julia, CRK Training Community Manager

    2. Laura,
      Thanks for sharing your story. It sounds like you have made some wonderful progress! I hope it continues.
      What is EMDR?
      Thanks 😉

      1. EMDR is Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing done with a trained therapist. The eye movements dampen the power of emotionally charged memories of past traumatic events. When I began riding I noticed not just fear but something deeper leaping up within me. I worked with a therapist who took me back to some childhood events and helped me reprocess them. Then we worked with some events that had happened with riding and through this technique I was able to identify and reprocess why I was experiencing various symptoms of not only fear, but also shame and anxiety. My trainer and I then took a step back and I was able to work my way back up whereby I am more confident in my abilities in the canter and am now ready to progress to jumping. I have learned to be gentle with myself, and not compare myself to others. I am almost 62 years old and am proud of myself for beginning this challenging and amazing sport. I am quite athletic so know I can grow in this sport with time and patience, and I always try to keep in the forefront of my mind that I am doing this for fun and enjoyment and for the love of horses which touch my soul deeply.

        1. Laura,
          Thanks for letting me know what EMDR is. It turns out I do know what it is, I just didn’t know what it was called. One of my grandsons had an extremely tragic and violent experiene several years ago. He’s suffered from PTSD and he found a therapist that has been giving him this treatment. For now, he’s much improved, but he’s not out of th woods yet. Hopefully some day.

          I’m very glad you’re able to enjoy your horse and be able to ride! I hope you have many wonderful times with your horse in the years to come!
          Best wishes!
          ConnieM

  19. In the flow
    Last time I felt this was when my rising trot became one with his movement. He was working in frame holding a light even contact and I could have trotted around like that for ever, it felt so effortless and peaceful.

    1. Hi Lorna, I can ‘feel’ your comment! Thank you for your comment 🙂

      -Julia, CRK Training Community Manager

  20. I think I was in flow while riding tonight. I’m currently working on loose rein tolt and learning canter on my Icelandic horse. Tonight was one of those rides where I felt good, my horse was moving good, which is not common for us to be so in sync, but we’ve working hard lately, so it’s paying off. I was thinking ok, now’s the time for a good canter to happen…but still not quite there for me, I have a hard time following his moment-so canter is probably still a bit above my ability. BUT the loose rein tolt and tolting faster was going amazing! I didn’t have to think too hard about what to do but still had to respond quickly to manage his speed and collection- lots to manage at once. At the end of ride I went outside on a short road on the property, it was definitely that flow feeling, smoothly going faster, seeing what we could do, feeling really connected, just great!

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