The teacher taught. Judy and Tanjil.

By Judy Oldmeadow, Owner & Master Horsewoman, Samaria Creek Morgan Horses

The word mindfulness conjures pictures of Buddhist monks and serious meditation classes; a total contrast to my busy life.

I rush through my days practising mindlessness; arriving at destinations without remembering the journey.

I look in my diary to see what I did two days ago and can’t remember what I had for dinner last night; or if I enjoyed it.

This morning I received a reminder from copywriter friend Paul Hassing; almost two months had lapsed since I’d promised him a post for this blog.

It was his second reminder; the last one said I was still getting good visitor traffic on Good Morgans, even though it was almost a year since I’d posted.

I enjoy reading Paul’s blog. Tuesday’s post said he didn’t call a client after submitting a quote for fear of hassling them. I usually don’t comment on blogs for fear of ridicule (though I did add my two cents to this one).

Communicating with horses is simpler; they’re always mindful, never judgemental.

I visit my horses daily and use them for my Understanding Horses workshops to teach communication and mindfulness.

Recently, I was the student.

Fifteen-year-old mare Tanjil is the respected leader of 26 female horses: yearlings, two-year-olds, mares with foals at foot and retired brood mares.

They roam large bush paddocks and I don’t tie them up when I brush and handle them.

Tanjil had some rain scald (a condition caused by warm weather after rain) on her rump. I was using a plastic brush to remove the scabs and loose hair.

As I started brushing I was aware of:

  • Three mares nearby.
  • Tanjil’s foal butting her other side to get a drink.
  • Her expression, to see if I was hurting her.

I picked at crusty skin, allowing my mind to drift to:

  • A broken fence.
  • A complaining friend.
  • Unpaid accounts.

Before long, I wasn’t carefully grooming a beloved horse: I was scraping the BBQ …


I was lying on the grass with four horses staring down at me.

Mindfulness returned as I stared into Tanjil’s kind eyes.

She could have kicked and broken my leg or bitten a chunk from my arm when I hurt her.

Instead, she knocked me over with a quick push of her hock.

I stood and checked for injuries … fortunately only my pride was bruised.

As I tactfully approached Tanjil to finish cleaning her, she curled her head around to me as if to say, ‘I’m glad you’re paying attention now.’

Half an hour in the paddock taught me about focus, trust, forgiveness and compassion.

I wonder if it’s possible for humans to practice the honest, non-judgemental communication of horses.

How many boundaries must we set?

How often must we be thrown to the ground

before we become


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15 Responses to “Mindfulness”

  1. Amanda Says:

    Awesome Judy!!!!! Just Awesome!!!

  2. MaryAnn Says:

    Well said… one of the great dressage masters, Podhajsky, said it well, “My horses, my teachers”… I think I’ll be thinking of you as I groom Cricket up in a bit for our drive.

    • Judy Says:

      I lalways enjoy your feedback MaryAnn.I read about Podhajsky in The Classical Rider by Sylvia Loch.I was inspired to find a book by him then and haven’t followed through;can you recommend one?
      I’m looking forward to driving with one of my horses one day as you do with Cricket…my bucket list grows daily 🙂

  3. paulhassing Says:

    This Twitter comment is from Lorraine @WritersKitchen

    ‘Thanks for sharing the Morgan link–made my eyes well up. You and Judy may enjoy this video by @theatrecentaure–breathtaking performance … ‘

    [second part with link coming]

    • Judy Says:

      Thank you Paul for passing on this warm comment.
      I’m looking forward to watching the video Lorraine,I enjoy sharing stories with like minded people…many thanks for your feedback.

      • paulhassing Says:

        Ask and ye shall receive: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVicgn3aV6Y 🙂

      • Judy Says:

        Instant response … sometimes WOW isn’t enough 😉
        Now I need to exercise patience;I must leave to pick up two horses for trainng.
        I look forward to watching this link tonight,thank you Paul and Lorraine.

      • Judy Says:

        Just watched the Theatrecentaur link.It was an awesome,inspiring performance…I enjoyed seeing the horse’s freedom after the tied in reins were released (they’d been causing him over stimulation of his salivery glands).
        but overall fatastic connection…it did indeed look like a centaur.Thank you for sharing Lorraine.

  4. MaryAnn Says:

    Hi Judy, Podhajsky’s classic book is “My Horses, My Teachers” and is still available on Amazon.com Check out this link for a review of it: http://quietriding.org/my_horses.html You and your Morgans will truly enjoy driving!

    • Judy Says:

      WOW this is awesome…thank you MaryAnn and Paul (Paul your web networking ability continues to amaze me).My Horses my Teachers will be in my shopping cart asap.I’ve started reseaching for someone nearby who can provide a vehicle to teach me to drive.I’ve given Ragtime Arizona a year off from mothering duties and will commence getting her back into work as soon as her colt is weaned.I was told she was shown in harness in NZ …I’ll start as if she hasn’t been though 🙂

  5. paulhassing Says:

    Hey Judy, I’ve added MaryAnn’s recommendation to your store in case you want to check it out. Best regards, P. 🙂

  6. paulhassing Says:

    Oh, boy! How’s THIS for a set of horsie photos?! http://www.rebekkagudleifs.com/fauna.php

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