It’s been a rough start to your day. You woke up late, rushed to get ready for work and in the process got into an argument with a family member. You’re now triggered by your fight with your family and it hits you hard. You can’t shake the emotions the fight has triggered. In addition, you are worried about finances. Things are tight and you don’t have the money needed to pay off your vet bill.
At this point all you can do is think about your horse and anticipate how happy you will feel when you see him. You show up at the barn after work and while a huge sigh of relief overcomes you, your horse wants nothing to do with you. Even worse, he bites you.
You ask with a lump in your throat, “why did this happen?”
Every time you interact with your horse, your horse feels how you feel. Horses have what I refer to as the “spidey sense.” This is also called the “sixth sense” and refers to one’s ability to sense danger, feelings, thoughts by means of the senses, sensory awareness, intuition.
Because horses are prey animals, they instinctively have heightened senses, awareness, and processing. Their nervous system is also designed to receive feedback from their senses. This feedback is what helps them shift into a higher sensory awareness, tune in and respond instantaneously, without thinking. This is what keeps them safe, their ability to respond to a threat, not rationalize about it.
Therefore, your feelings and emotional state can profoundly affect how your horse responds to you and feels about you.
Horses are one of the most sensitive, feeling-oriented species. Their survival depends on their ability to sense any incongruence within their environment. Horses are also highly socialized and rely on the herd for support and safety.
Herd safety includes connecting to members through their nervous system and constant non-verbal communication. The herd’s senses monitor their environment and tell them when it’s time to relax, freeze or go into flight or fight mode. Every time you engage with your horse, you become a part of their environment, which means they are tuned into you.
This means when you are emotionally stressed, your horse can feel it. If you are not part of your horse’s herd - you don’t have a strong and connected relationship with your horse, they will respond negatively to your emotions. Examples are running away from you; not wanting to come to you; pinning their ears; biting; kicking out, not standing still to be mounted, jigging and other unwanted behaviors.
By learning the following you will be able to positively change your experience and relationship with your horse and in a way where your horse will understand you (not fear you) and choose to be with you.
Develop the level of connection and relationship with your horse so you are included in the herd dynamic
Become emotional agile and managing your emotions and personal energy field
ATTUNEMENT AND SELF-AWARENESS
Becoming attuned and self-aware are the answers to mastering ourselves and our relationship with horses. This is where the personal development begins and with you. With the proper skills and tools, we can achieve the level of body-centered, emotional and energetic awareness needed to develop our emotional agility, self-regulate and access our potential.