Horses are not machines, like computers. We have to unlearn that 'if we apply steps 1/2/3, the outcome will be x/y/z'. Because with horses, there is no waterproof or failsafe plan. Stumbles happen. Accidents happen. We have to mindfully be aware of the fact that in our core, we are the same. We breathe the same air, share experiences, form partnerships and friendships, grow and learn together and maybe get a chance to pass all of that wisdom onto the next generation. And not two of them are the same, just like with us. We make mistakes so that we can learn, adapt and do better. Not to be punished or shamed. And the same goes for our horses.
Earning trust should always come first before we think of applying methods. The horse will tell you when the time is right, what methods to use and how long it's going to take. We just have to be quiet enough to fully comprehend this experience. It's "Feel" on her deepest level, grounding and anchoring you through your feet, sending small shivers through your spine, and slowly letting feelings of gratefulness expand and consume you, from your heart to the top of your head. Your ExtraSensory Perceptors are firing and you see things differently. More clearly, moving slowly and allowing you to not just feel, but BE that flow.
Any horse will appreciate this kind of state and energy, where there is room to breathe and eventually learn again. But we have to stop being afraid of the Feel. Be there for the horse first, acknowledge his emotions and don't try to change them. Every horse, every emotion has it's own process and we have to let it run it's course.
Honoring Emotions should come before Correcting Behavior. That is what "Feel" is to me.
Zoë van Mourik | Equine Trauma & Behavior Specialist
www.zoevanmourik.com & www.houseofhorsemanship.nl
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Zoë van Mourik: Equine Trauma Specialist, Behaviorist