Would my less than desired amount of trust in him (regarding safety as he can be a wild character when he wishes) contribute to my lack of calm? I guess the answer is yes?!
Ursula, in my experience it's often that simple -- and, of course, then, that hard, because turning off our nervousness is not easily done.
I think that you are reading this thread absolutely right and energy/trust are very much linked. They aren't the same thing, of course, but they are a really important bridge back and forth to one another.
Here's an example of what I mean:
If you have a horse who is, like Flint, naturally hot, you're dealing with a horse who spends a lot of his life on alert. Big awareness, big energy, big reactions. Just like people, if he gets around anyone else who has similar energy, his wound up energy is going to get bigger. And it will go back and forth between the two players -- whether that's other horses or you and Flint. People and horses can get each other incredibly wound up. And, likewise, we can bring each other to calmness, too. I'm pretty confident that Flint is responding to your friend because she's saying to him "it's time to be mellow and relaxed and safe" and he's relaxing into that. (I also want to take a second to acknowledge that it can be a LOT easier to do this with someone else's horse -- the emotional stakes aren't as high, so it can be much easier to get cleaner.)
I actually think this is one of the places where people and horses are really similar -- we tend to be extremely reactive to the energies around us, just like horses are. The cool thing about this is that it can work in our favor, because if we figure out what calms us, we can figure out what calms horses.
So -- if you're wound up, what do you do to calm yourself down? You might do big, deep breaths. You might go sit somewhere quietly. Or listen to soft music. Etc.
Think about what tools you use to calm yourself -- you can use most of those tools when you're working with Flint. The next time you're wound up together, think about what you do (especially with breathing, imagery, and movement/stillness) to bring your own energy down. And do what you need to do -- not even worrying about him. This is about you at the moment.
When you've done that, really brought your energy down to where you need it/want it, where it feels soft and warm and easy, look around and see what Flint is doing. It may take him a little time (because when we -- horse or human -- gets really wound up, it can take a while for the buzzing to stop in our heads!
), but I am willing to bet you that eventually he will come down, too.
The more you do this, the more quickly that you will be able to shift each others' energy with calmness rather than nervousness. In part because you'll start to learn how to feel this better in each other and in part because you'll start building this into the habit of your interaction. I'd be willing to be that some of the nervousness you're both feeling right now is simply because you both are so used to that being a part of how you interact -- you can shift that if you're consistent and patient. You can change the baseline.
I haven't seen Josepha work live, so I'm extrapolating a bit, but I have read lots of what she's written and watched her on video, so here's why I think she's able to play with Owen so clearly with such big, clean, fast energy shifts. (Josepha, it will be interesting to see if you agree with me!
First, she and Owen know each other really, really, really well. They've spent an enormous amount of time together and have learned each others' mood and energies really well. They trust each other pretty much implicitly, it seems to me. So their language together can be really clear and really subtle -- it's like talking to a family member -- you can have all sorts of short cuts and private language and such because you come from the same place, essentially.
Now -- I've seen Josepha bring horses down to softness remarkably quickly (again on video) that she didn't know as well as Owen -- sometimes that she doesn't know at all. This is where the clarity that she's learned and the self control over her own energy comes into play -- she has learned to speak "energy" pretty fluently in person dialect and in horse dialect.
I think achieving this is possible for anyone, like you, who is able to see what their energy is. That's really the hardest part, I think!
Now you just need to work on it -- and if you work on you, I guarantee that Flint will come with you. It may not be at the switch-flipping speed that Josepha and Owen can exhibit, but it will get there.
And if there is fear in that nervous energy that you're seeing/feeling as negative coming from you, I think you need to climb into that first, figure out where it's coming from, and work to figure out what to do with it. That's something that this group can be really, really helpful with, too, if it's there.
Hope this makes some sort of sense!
PS: As Birgit and Romy suggest, yes, breathing!! Breath exercise! Aikido, yoga, even Pilates, etc. -- sometimes even just simply really focusing your breath, dropping it down into your diaphragm, using it to soften your body very consciously can be enough to change the game -- both for you and the horse. When I get into a moment where I'm feeling like we need a time out, I stand and very consciously drop my energy and my breath down through my body and let it soak out of my feet into the ground. This can ground all of us (me and my horses) really quickly. I will sometimes drop my head and close my eyes to really make sure I'm focusing on it.
PPS: Just read this over and realized I needed to add that while there are days when I've got this down and am master of energy speak, there are also days when I REALLY have to work on it -- so please understand my answer is as much about my own process as anything, and not coming from the illusion that I have this figured out at all moments! FAAAAAR from it!
Okay, gotta go back to work now!