I too use some imagery, but not intentionally...it is more like sending a feeling (or feel) to the horse and feeling inside the patience to wait for the answer. I mentally turn inward...a little like looking into my own mind, my own heart or core and taking note of what I feel and how I move when I ask Tam to do something. I see him with my eyes but I'm not really looking at him. I do the same with my hands when riding.
I sure isn't easy to explain, but it is rather like a split focus where most of the focus is on myself and only enough on the horse to hear/see/feel his part of the conversation.
I like Barbara's water ideas. It is a flow...sometimes gentle but sometimes sloshing if I'm not focusing on myself enough. It's a lovely image to still that water....
We often ride to music. I try mostly to choose soothing music that is pretty or profound. Music that stirs something in me without being overly conscious of it. Tomorrow, for the first time, I'm going to use a little ipod-like device and ride with earphones on. I have loaded Tibetan chants, mantra and meditation music, etc. One of my favorites is the Great Bell Chant. It never fails to stir my soul
Tomorrow I plan a very meditative ride and am interested to see if I can ride with an empty mind :-). I might end up just sitting in the dirt in the middle of the arena with my eyes closed.
Tam would like that. I'm sure he would join me.
I found a lovely quote the other day, and rewrote it (the original quote was about drinking tea). This is how I am approaching my ride tomorrow. Being in every moment. With reverence.
"Ride reverently, every step your horse takes, as if each step is the axis on which the earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward a goal."
- Karen the Plagiarist