I think we can all agree that communication is complicated and when you add inter-species, human to horse, we soon discover our good intentions are not enough to be safe around a 1,000-pound animal. The range of communication we receive from a horse can be the white-eyed look of panic to “talk to the butt”. I hear all the time “I love my horse, but she just walks away” or “my horse won’t let me touch him on the face” or “I can’t catch my horse.” So how do we communicate with our horses in an effective way? How do we maintain our compassion and patience when our horse seems to care less that we love them, or responds in dangerous ways when we only want the best for them?
There is a myriad of training techniques that can provide you some answers to these basic issues, but there is also a form of communication that you can add to your toolbox of techniques that will deepen and strengthen your rapport with your horse.
Did you know that your brain is like a radio receiver AND transmitter? Research has found that your brain has an energy field range of about 10’ from your body, receiving and sending a vibratory energy frequency (VEF). This is why we can often finish the sentence of a loved one, or our dear one says something we were just thinking--we are sharing our neurotransmitter energy field with them and are on the same vibratory frequency. But what is really fascinating is the neurotransmitters that are in our brains sending and receiving the VEF are not all in our heads! Every organ in our body has neurotransmitters, and that includes the skins as the largest organ of our bodies. It’s like a brain in each of our organs, so just think about it, wow if we can communicate through our brain’s VEF, imagine how we can communicate using our entire body’s VEF? To put it into terms of horses who have neurotransmitters in their organs, too, and they are huge animals, the question begs, what is your body saying to your horse on a VEF level and how can we use this transmission to improve our communications with our horses?
Horses need to trust us in order to be safer and calm around us, right? For example, say you are trying to work with your horse perhaps demonstrating your herd leadership, but your body is sending a message of worry, anxiety, fear or any number of negative messages. How does your body line up with your intention of teaching your horse that you are their herd leader? Authenticity is the key! Being authentic, while aligning your intention, is the magical combination to deeper communication and trust between you and your horse. This goes for humans, too--you know that feeling when you meet someone who you feel you can’t trust, but can’t put your finger on why? Well that’s because your body is receiving the message that the person’s intention is not aligned with who they really are (authenticity), they are in-congruent. Imagine how that must be for horses. We may be feeling “off,” worried about our job or relationship with someone, worried about paying the bills, but we “stuff it” and go work with our horses. We expect them to respond to our loving gestures and commands, but they seem “off” and not responding as we wish. What is your body saying vs. your gestures and commands? If you are out of alignment with your intention vs what is really go on in your life your VEF is going to reflect that. Your horse is feeling you are inauthentic, in-congruent so now you are untrustworthy, and what does a horse do when they can’t trust a human--all sorts of unexpected or dangerous behaviors.
Horses require authenticity in their leaders and by the way, so do humans. So how do we align our intention with what is really going on (authentic selves)? The answer, honesty and awareness, plain and simple. Be honest with yourself and check in with your body to see what you are really feeling and what your VEF is transmitting. For example, when I’m struggling with an issue that is non-horse related I recognize that this is going to reflect when I go to ride my horse. I also recognize my horse is genetically wired to require a herd leader at all times, but I want to be the compassionate herd leader nonetheless, so that requires me being honest about how I feel. Being honest with your horse is to actually verbalize what is going on with you and telling them that it’s not them--you’d be amazed what a relief you will feel once you verbalize your troubles to your horse and often this will invoke a sigh from your horse.
Our words have a VEF too (another article to write) which is why I encourage using your words when with your horse. Tell the truth about how you feel and what is going on, give it a try and see for yourself.
Authenticity – Alignment – Intention
Magic is what you will discover when realizing there are greater components of communication besides our words and body language, that there is a vibratory energy frequency that is talking too.
Internationally recognized Gentle Horse Trainer and member of the Association of Professional Humane Educators, Missy Wryn provides comprehensive horse training, horse management, and effective communication workshops, clinics, and presentations across the globe and at her Zen Barn in Estacada, Oregon. For more information visit Missy Wryn’s website at MissyWryn.com or call toll free 888-406-7689.