The Art of Natural Dressage

Working with the Horse's Initiative
It is currently Thu Jul 18, 2019 6:52 am

All times are UTC+01:00




Post new topic  Reply to topic  [ 28 posts ]  Go to page 1 2 Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Becoming emotional
PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 9:50 am 
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:20 am
Posts: 6076
Location: Dresden, Germany
There was a discusion in Patricia's diary about becoming emotional with a horse, and I thought we could just continue it here...

In this first post I just quote the corresponding posts, because I didn't want to cut it out of Patricia's diary:

Leigh wrote:
When I first came back to riding after not doing it for a long time, I was working with my friend's horse David, who was a very smart, very clever Thoroughbred who had been treated harshly and learned that if he got big and aggressive, he'd scare people away. Susan had done a lot of work with him before I started working with him, so most of his panic was quieter than it had been, but he still knew that this was his best defense if something freaked him out. He would kick, bite, and rear if he felt the situation called for it. Unlike Stardust, who would run away emotionally when he was scared, David was ready for a fight -- sounds very much like Tir. And he was genuinely scary!

Between he and Stardust, I learned a lot about letting their emotions blow through me and never getting emotional back at them. It helped in two ways: we didn't get each other more upset, and they both learned that whatever happened, I wasn't going to be big and scary.

So -- I think your question about not getting emotional with Tir is a really good one, and my experience suggests that it helps to keep it as light and non emotional as you can, always. The less scary energy he has to push against, I think, the better. And I think, like all of us, he's looking for calm safety, ultimately. (That's what his herd brings him, and that's what he's beginning to learn he can find with you -- the more you can bring it to him, the more likely he'll begin to expect it with you, I think.)

Here are some videos of Hempfling working with horses who were aggressive and dangerous -- he never, ever responds to them with anything but softness:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LsoDoC9 ... re=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3N4aM-ts ... re=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMBncWJc ... re=related

His energy is clear, but never big and emotional. And his energy is really grounded! He holds his space, flexibly, and he is totally focused on the horse with great, but quiet, confidence. And the look of relief on all three of these horses faces is just amazing as they begin to trust him.

Hope this helps! I think you two are making progress -- it just never seems to go in a straight line!

Oh -- one other thought. Hempfling is my favorite trainer this week :-) and I just read something yesterday from his book What Horses Reveal -- he has a theory that the horses we are drawn to reflect a part of ourselves, our personality. I've been thinking about this with Stardust and Circe (who reflect my schizophrenia, I think because they're so different!) :-) -- but, seriously, this has actually been a really interesting idea for me, because I can see Stardust's sensitivity/uncertainty and Circe's wild enthusiasm both in myself, and thinking about it in this way has helped me to imagine how to talk with them, because I know how I want to be treated when I am thinking in those ways.

From a distance, it feels to me like you have instinctively found a horse who has the fire and passion that you have, but he's far more afraid of the world than you. What helps to calm you down when you are scared or angry? What responses, emotions, thoughts back to you help? Thinking about that might help you think through how to work through this more with Tir.

Hugs,
Leigh


Romy wrote:
Oh, I liked those videos. :) For me Hempfling is a great inspiration when it comes to horses, mainly because of those body language and energy things.

However, there is one thing that I can't totally agree with: the statement that people shouldn't become emotional. This is because emotion is not only anger and aggression. In fact I think that it is very important to be emotional. Surely most trainers do mean that you shouldn't become negatively emotional when they make that statement, but I have also met people who told me that you shouldn't become emotional, negatively as well as positively, because horses can't deal with that, no matter in which direction. And that's the point where I have to disagree.

Maybe there are some situations when a horse can't stand any emotion whatsoever. But in general I believe that it is one of the most important aspects of my training that I am very emotional with them. Haha, sometimes I really can't stop laughing because they are so wonderful. In our normal training anyway, but also in the time when Summy had been dangerous last winter, I found it to be of enormous importance to show love and joy. When I tried to watch our training a little more consciously at that time, I remember that my smile and open attitude disappeared for the moment when he was rearing and then suddenly reappeared again when he came down. So I guess that in that very moment I became unemotional, but directly afterwards I was back. ;)

For Summy it changes everything and I guess if he could, he would laugh and squeal just as much as I do in those situations. But also for Titum whose feelings are less directed outwards I see the importance of that. We can push each other so much sometimes that I am afraid that one of us will be exploding soon. :) Surely nothing you want in a horse like in those Hempfling videos, but there is also this very calm but still highly emotional interaction in other situations. And I have to say that I do miss this a little bit in his first video when the horse finally opens himself up for him. He remains tepid.

There are as many ways as there are trainers and obviously he gets along extremely well. I just wanted to add that there might be some more possibilities than just turning off emotions. :)


Leigh wrote:
Romy wrote:


Quote:
However, there is one thing that I can't totally agree with: the statement that people shouldn't become emotional. This is because emotion is not only anger and aggression. In fact I think that it is very important to be emotional. Surely most trainers do mean that you shouldn't become negatively emotional when they make that statement, but I have also met people who told me that you shouldn't become emotional, negatively as well as positively, because horses can't deal with that, no matter in which direction. And that's the point where I have to disagree.

Maybe there are some situations when a horse can't stand any emotion whatsoever. But in general I believe that it is one of the most important aspects of my training that I am very emotional with them. Haha, sometimes I really can't stop laughing because they are so wonderful. In our normal training anyway, but also in the time when Summy had been dangerous last winter, I found it to be of enormous importance to show love and joy.


Oh, Romy, you are SO right! When I was thinking about emotion, I was thinking about negative emotion -- but that is only half (or less) of the spectrum!

Yes, yes, yes, and you've pushed my thinking beyond where I was. (That's SO cool!)

As I think about it, when I first started working with Stardust, I learned first not to hold negative emotions when I came towards him (fear, frustration, etc.), but also not to have any emotions that were too big. If I came to him with too much joy or love, this would also freak him out. I'm guessing that it was because he didn't understand those emotions, and anything that was emotionally "noisy" got first translated as being threatening. (He was very, very shut down.)

I learned then to just be quiet and open, with offerings of love and joy very, very softly there, under the surface. But never too loud, never too pushy with them. (This took a great deal of discipline for me, by the way, as I wanted to love on him with exuberance! It has taught me a lot about being receptive and patient.)

Then, as he started to feel better, he would occasionally have a burst of energy and joy when he was moving -- these were always a little edgy, as if he wasn't sure what to do with his own emotions. If I got too joyful with him when he did this, this would startle him as well and he'd either get really nervous or shut down again.

As we've played and worked together over the last several years, we've been able to find bigger emotions with each other, and enjoy those. (Especially in the wild playing moments -- these have become big fun, and we can whoop together with excitement, spurring each other on.) But, mostly, he's most comfortable when I'm gentle in my emotions with him -- that open, gentle, positive, loving place that I try to find and maintain -- I think, for him, it allows him to feel things without them getting bigger than he can handle. For him, fun is mostly quiet, still.

Circe, on the other hand, loves it when I laugh with her. She loves to egg me on and be egged on in turn.

And, for both of them, if they are spooked by something, often the most helpful emotion I can have is a little amusement at all of us and how silly we can be when silly things scare us. (And I do try hard to include myself in that amusement, not simply dismiss them as being silly. I try very hard never to laugh at anyone else without also at the same time laughing at myself.)

And, watching Hempfling with this in mind, I don't think he is without emotion -- I put it badly before, and not accurately (again, thinking about negative emotions). I think he's a master at that open, soft, loving, clear energy that allows horses to open themselves and find their own softness. I watch some trainers and they are so cut off from their own emotions that they look and feel extremely cold, which feels like a certain kind of awful dominance -- he doesn't ever feel that way to me.

Thank you, so much, Romy, for pointing this out -- it is a far richer understanding of how we use emotion with horses than I'd been thinking about!

:-)

Best,
Leigh

PS: Edited addition: Here's another Hempfling video, where he's playing with the horse in the first few seconds of the clip -- grinning from ear to ear, very playful!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9OUPi8r ... re=related


windhorsesue wrote:
I think the key with "negative" emotions is to feel them, express them if neccessary in an appropriate way.... and let them go.. Don't hold on.

Sunrise is a master at handling Harlequins annoyingness.. he has a habit of barging up behind to swipe flies off his shoulder.. or nip someone on the butt for a bit of fun. Sunrise turns on her "STOP THAT BUSINESS" communication the moment he enters her space from behind. Her head goes up, her ears go back, and she nods up a couple of times. If there's no response, she goes to phase two, shuffling her butt backwards, from side to side, while maintaining phase one. She looks REALLY serious. If there's still no response (usual :roll: ) she goes to phase three, which is cocking and lifting a hind leg.. then phase four, pushing back into his chest with her raised foot.. and finally phase five, pistoning with her raised foot, back and forth into his chest. The moment, the very instant, that Harlequin moves off to the side, looking a little chagrined, Sunrise's ears flop back out to her customary sideways floppy pose, her hindquarters rest, her head drops, and she gets her happy sleepy look on her face.
She is my role model. :D She's never really kicked out at another horse in her life, as far as I know. But she can do awesome performances of grumpy mare.

For the hoof lifting though, I don't even think I'd do any correction of the bum turning, even if it was overtly threatening. He's doing it because he feels defensive, so any correction will probably only make him feel more defensive. Teach him the don't turn your butt lesson at another time. I would just really make it my job to keep myself in a safe position, no matter how the horse responds... and if he does respond with aggressive behaviour, move myself, and praise him, scratch his butt.. find a way to put a positive spin on it. "Oh you GOOD horse, you are really so worried about this that it makes you think about kicking, but you controlled yourself and only turned your butt and lifted your leg and pretended to kick me! You're the best!" :lol:

I do sometimes use a rope to lift the leg if I really can't stand safely by the hip.. I put a loop of soft rope around inside thigh, then step back to shoulder and let the rope drop to fetlock. Start praising, even if the horse is kicking. Reward when they stand still. When they're relaxed with it being there, use the rope to start signalling gently for a pick up. Up and down a lot, finally when the horse is relaxed lifting hoof up, use the rope to hold the weight of the hoof forward. I don't actually do any work.. it's just desensitization and perception modification.. turning what they first perceive as a bad experience into a good one. THe rope allows me to stand forward and not be scared into responding negatively if they kick and fuss. (Which is hard otherwise.. many times I cursed at Rosie in my fear..and hurt.. few nice hoof shaped prints on my thighs..)

I too love the KFH DVDs and books. Love the way he moves with the horses, love his leading methods. I reckon it's really worthwhile to watch his second DVD a few times to really absorb that body language of leading.
:)
Sue


Top
   
 Post subject: Re: Becoming emotional
PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 10:16 am 
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:20 am
Posts: 6076
Location: Dresden, Germany
Sue, I think that is a very important point that you make here. :) Becoming negatively emotional in the appropriate situation and time.

windhorsesue wrote:
I think the key with "negative" emotions is to feel them, express them if neccessary in an appropriate way.... and let them go.. Don't hold on.

Sunrise is a master at handling Harlequins annoyingness.. he has a habit of barging up behind to swipe flies off his shoulder.. or nip someone on the butt for a bit of fun. Sunrise turns on her "STOP THAT BUSINESS" communication the moment he enters her space from behind. Her head goes up, her ears go back, and she nods up a couple of times. If there's no response, she goes to phase two, shuffling her butt backwards, from side to side, while maintaining phase one. She looks REALLY serious. If there's still no response (usual :roll: ) she goes to phase three, which is cocking and lifting a hind leg.. then phase four, pushing back into his chest with her raised foot.. and finally phase five, pistoning with her raised foot, back and forth into his chest. The moment, the very instant, that Harlequin moves off to the side, looking a little chagrined, Sunrise's ears flop back out to her customary sideways floppy pose, her hindquarters rest, her head drops, and she gets her happy sleepy look on her face.
She is my role model. :D She's never really kicked out at another horse in her life, as far as I know. But she can do awesome performances of grumpy mare.


When I wrote my post about positive emotions last night, I had some sort of attitude like "do become positively emotional by all means, but do not become negatively emotional." But when I thought about negative emotions, I only had those situations in mind where the horse becomes aggressive because he is afraid. Of course that's only one part of the story... and when I consider a wider variety of situations, I think that it actually can be quite good to become negativly emotional in certain situations.

This is because emotions are a very important cue in social interactions. Switching off the negative side and only letting the positive side become visible seems important to me in situations where the horse has strong emotions himself and my primary task is to help him deal with them.

But there are other sitations where the horse is emotionally fit and does something that you don't think is acceptable for other reasons. Harlequin bothering Sunrise might be the perfect example. In our case, one of those situations is when Summy wants to steal Titum's food while I am watching and protecting Titum so that he can eat calmly. This is no issue anymore and now a tiny no on my side is enough, but there were times when he ignored that and directly went to Titum's bucket, chasing Titum away from it. We don't have that many rules, but one of the few we have is that the horses aren't allowed to fight when I am standing between them. And when Summy tried to chase my cute little Titum away, I did show him negative emotions. No, I didn't become really mad and I didn't hit him or shout at him, but my very offensive body posture, the way I moved into his direction and the deep tone of my voice when I said no were clearly not emotionally neutral. And I think they shouldn't have been, either.

Besides being a trainer for my horses, I am a living being most of all. That's also the kind of relationship I want to have with them. More than wanting to be correct, I want to be real. And as I don't tend to emotionally overreact (at least not on the negative side), I feel no need to hide those small negative feelings as long as they are based on this very situation with the horse (my horses shouldn't feel if I am angry with my neighbour for example and they also shouldn't feel that I am angry for what they have done several minutes before, so it's a question of being in the here and now) and as long as the situation isn't as severe as that it would be necessary to displace my own emotions to help the horse to deal with his.


Last edited by Romy on Fri Jul 11, 2008 9:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
   
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 1:17 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2007 9:00 pm
Posts: 1681
Location: Belgium/Tielt-Winge
I have had some strange experciences lately with being emotional, especially on the negative side :oops:
I noticed that when I become angry ( yesterday that happened because pascha was jealous of Beau and attaced him and bit him) tha my energy levels reach much higher than when I'm just happy. Because for me being happy and exuberant is much less focused, I cannot direct what I want quite that good. But being angry makes me really focused on something and therefor much clearer to the horses. I was really mad yesterday and I just had this energy directed to pascha that made him canter away ( I did not even move) and when he passed Beau my energy suddenly passed Beau ( acutally it was directed at pascha who was behind him) and it made Beau do sidepasses at a canter looking really worried, I immediately dropped my energy and everything was gone.
I don't know what to think of this, but I know that if I can direct this negative energy and make it less emotional that I can do so much more, but for that to happen I need to sometimes get that annoyed feeling.
So for me those emotions are a way of learning to control my energy..

One last thing, I love the fact that if I'm really sad and emotional that my horse feels that and comes to make everything better, I think emotions give our relationship more depth, his and my emotions make us individuals.


Top
   
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 6:02 pm 
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 2:32 am
Posts: 3270
Location: New York
Oh, thank you, Romy, for setting up a thread for this!

Like you, I think this is really fascinating, and am realizing that the more I think about it, the more complex I realize that it is.

As I read what you and Sue and Barbara have written, it has helped to open up an understanding about my emotions with my guys that I hadn't had.

With Stardust, I have really struggled towards not having negative emotions at all, or at least as infrequently as possible.

I think this is for several reasons: first, he is extremely sensitive and if I get mad at him/frustrated with him, he has tended to pull away and shut down. He got SO much negative emotion thrown at him, I'm sure, as his body was falling apart and he could no longer jump the way he was "supposed" to (he was an extremely expensive grand prix jumper, and I'm sure there was a lot of frustration from people who had poured money into him and his training as he couldn't keep up with the physical/emotional demands of his jumping career -- big stakes, big egos, career issues for trainers, etc.).

After it became apparent that he just couldn't jump like that any more, he then got used as a lesson horse for beginning riders, a truly hideous choice, as he's big and has big gaits and his balance was awful (not to mention that he was in consistent, extreme pain) -- I'm sure he felt a whole lot of fear from his back at that point and got yanked around a lot on his mouth. I hadn't thought about this until just now, but I'd guess that was the first time he was feeling strong, consistent fear -- to go from grand prix level trainers/riders to beginner adults and larger kids and feel their nervousness must have been awful -- and probably was a part of his emotional shut down -- so now people were either incredibly aggressive with him or could throw lots of scared energy into him.

It got all wrapped up in his trauma and memory, and if I came at him at all aggressively, he'd be very upset or very shut down.

I spent a lot of time working with him trying to get him to emotionally open up and begin to trust me, and found that if I got even a little irritated with him, he'd pull into himself again. As his trust began to grow, I could have those little moments of irritation and they weren't such a big deal -- but they were against a backdrop of really being focused on bringing him the soft, open, "I am trustworthy, I care for you" energy that I was talking about in my last post.

Then, when I got on him after a number of months, we had a LOT of fear to work through. I'd never been nervous on a horse like I was nervous on him. Part of this was I really wasn't sure of what he might do (he's gotten much, much better, but he has a huge spook and buck when you land on his back hard, and those would come out of the blue, and he went through a phase where he'd try to rear and I was scared that he'd go too high and wouldn't be able to hold himself on his weak hind and we'd both go over). But I am wondering now how much of my nervousness was his nervousness and mine getting all entangled and spiraling out. (I know that we did this to each other, but I think I underestimated the impact of his before we even began -- I thought it was me who started it!) :-) And I had assumed that any nervousness he had was residual "this is going to hurt" memory. Now I'm not so sure...I'm realizing that he may very well have learned to anticipate the nervousness as well.

As we worked through that, I went through phases of being frustrated with him, and was trying to push him hard in his training so he'd physically get better. We had a lot of days where we mostly had fights, and he got very creative at finding ways to avoid both physical and emotional pressure. :oops: Part of my pushing him was legitimately trying to act as physical therapist, and part, if I'm honest, was my buying into the "horse must obey person" mindset of most training -- the part I have to admit to about this was the part my ego was playing in it. I wanted to feel competent and in control and to be able to show off how much I'd done with this horse. :cry: But that eventually become not enough, and it wasn't working.

In many ways, this impasse is what brought me in search of AND. Part of it was that I felt like we'd gone as far as we could getting his body collected and had hit a wall physically, but at least as large, if not larger, was my need to find a way to connect with him again that didn't have that ongoing frustration lying underneath so much of what we were doing. It truly wasn't fun! And I could feel him emotionally slipping away from me -- he would tolerate what was happening, but he felt more and more wooden with me. He wasn't happy. If I got overtly angry with him and became the task master, he'd comply for a little while but then emotionally pull in more, and the next ride would be the same or just a little worse. Eventually, almost every session we had together was getting to be a teeth-gritted, grim, "okay, this is for your own good" experience, and I hated it as well.

It's been very interesting watching what's been happening with him over the last couple of months since I've so drastically changed my energy and expectations. At first he wasn't sure about all of this, but in the last couple of weeks he's decided that it really is something he likes. When I go with he and Circe together into the arena, he very pointedly chases her off because he wants to play/work with me. At first I thought this was mostly about treats (and I'm sure part of it is), but I'm increasingly believing that's not all of it.

A couple of nights ago, we had a beautiful session where he clicked into understanding mirroring my leg by lifting his own. I had a big surge of delight and pride and love for him (released very gently towards him, because any big emotion out of the blue still takes him off guard), but from my toes. Last night, I gave him his grain and went to take Circe out of the paddock briefly so he could eat without her bugging him. He walked away from his beloved oats and wanted to come with -- was quite quietly adamant that he not get left behind. And when we got into the arena, he positioned himself by my shoulder and lifted a foot as soon as I began to lift one of mine.

This wasn't, I don't think, about treats -- this was about getting that same emotion he'd gotten the night before. He has never, ever wanted to walk away from grain unless he didn't feel good -- last night, he wanted that pleasure more than food.

Wow.

More about Circe on another post...should actually go do some work now!

:-)

Leigh


Top
   
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 7:05 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2008 11:43 pm
Posts: 598
Location: UK
Handleing high emotions in horses is a very interesting subject and one that all of us will experience at one stage or another, especialy when taking on new horses and giving them the chance possibly for the first time ever to have their say.
As you all know I still consider my self as relatively new to this wonderful horse world. I am learning together with my horses all the time.
When I first took Misty the shire on she was a real handful. First of all when she arrived she was only 10mths old, she had been tthrough three different owners by the time she was six mths old, I was her fourth at 10mths. She was so ill and so thin she had no energy, so it came as a real shock when she gained weight and energy. When I first started walking her out we had some extremely scary moments. She became so attached to the boys as they were her first proper family that when out she would hit panic button at just about everything that was unusual, she had so little confidence, and the lady I rescued her from said they had hit her around the head to stop her throwing her head in the air to escape them, that together with just not feeding her gave my girl the gift of survival, just go upwards!!!
The way we got out of this realy quick was to just let her do it. I can't deny it wasn't scary, it was. I had a 22 foot line on her and walked her out, and on several occasions she would just freak, rear up, jump up and down on her front feet whilst shaking her head. I remember I was letting her graze on a piece of grass to chill her and this man walked around the corner, she literaly bolted, and she was very big, when she got to the end of the line she had to come back to me, lukily I held on, then she did another one of her freaks, rearing, smashing her front feet down, shaking the head and I stayed totaly cool, (as best as I could, I was actualy wetting my pants, but I never let her know that!) I talked to her gently, but most importantly I gave her all the line to express her emotions, I felt she needed to and after what she had been through she had the right to.
This phase passed very quickly, as soon as she realised I just stood and kept calm, it was as if there was no point in doing it anymore. The worst thing I could of done is held the line tight, resticted her emotion and movements and added to them by getting angry, we never have them now, she's so cool 8)
Can someone explain to me why Klaus has that very standing square pose, and how does it affect the horse body language wise, also why does he walk slightly bent legged, this is also body language for the horse but how does the horse interpret it. Those videos made me cry.

_________________
We never stop learning


Top
   
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 7:51 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 7:38 pm
Posts: 701
Location: UK
After I became a Reiki Master and interested in energy I began to notice some strange patterns in my animals. At the time I was only seeing this from a healing point of view and did not realise that it was also applicable to the training of my horses. For example if one of my cats became ill I noticed the same symptoms manifest in the dogs, horses and humans. This happened quite frequently and when I asked the vet they said it was not possible and we must all be suffering from a different illness. So I began to research this, I read about many different healing methods both past and present also the beliefs of different cultures and I found a common thread running through them all.

This is how I interpreted it and now use this energy. Everything in the physical world is made up of intelligent energy and each object both animate and inanimate vibrates at a certain frequency. As we mingle with one another we exchange energy this of course includes emotions. If you are feeling down and meet up with friends who are happy and relaxed you come away feeling much better. This can also work in a negative way when people who are depressed can make us feel low. People who have strong emotions and are focused in the present have a strong vibrational frequency and are more likely to influence those around them. There are many people through out history both good and bad who have influenced the masses. Our energy fields are also affected by our thoughts, emotions and what people say and think of us.

Even though I knew this and used it on some level it was not until Gouch entered my life that I realised what a powerful tool this was. When Gouch needed surgery for colic I was devastated, I remembered from childhood horses who needed surgery for colic usually died. Of course time had moved on but I was still stuck with that emotion. He recovered but continued to suffer colic after colic and my own emotions had taken a battering. Each morning I would check him very early feeling sick with anxiety and if he had colic I would be calm on the surface but my emotions would be in turmoil. I began to recognise a pattern the more I worried the worse he was and not only that but if I became stressed in other areas of my life he would colic. To tell myself not to worry did not work so I tried to perceive it from a different angle, we had pulled him through surgery once and we could do it again if need be, as I began to relax Gouch began to improve. I do everything I can to lessen the chance of an attack and then I let it go and stop worrying not easy to begin with but when I realised what a difference it made it became easy.

I have also noticed that at times Gouch acts as a mirror for my emotions. If I am cross with some one he can also be cross with that person. I can not lie to him if I have a negative emotion I need to work through and release it if I try to cover it over he still picks up on this. Now I look closer I can see this happening with all my animals on some scale.

There have been times when we have had that perfect merging of energies and worked together as one, I wish I could understand what brings this about so I can reproduce it. Towards the end of last winter Gouch began to colic early morning I went up to the house and rang the vet who promised to be with me in half an hour. When I returned to the stable he was cast and starting to panic, my husband had left for work and I was alone. In times of need Gouch listens and works with me, he lifted his head so that I could put the head collar on and as I pulled his head he pushed against the wall with his back feet. Back on his feet he was a little shaken and shocked but otherwise okay. I have often wondered what that vital ingredient was that enabled us to work so closely together not only then but other times also. I think it was need we were both working for the same thing and totally focused on the outcome. In training perhaps I am looking for one outcome and he is focused on another. It is not easy but I try more and more to tap into his emotion so that I can go with the flow, try to understand his vibrational frequency so that I can harmonise mine with it.

ET

_________________
Listen! Or your tongue will make you deaf.

Cherokee Saying


Top
   
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 10:14 pm 
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:20 am
Posts: 6076
Location: Dresden, Germany
AnnieB wrote:
Can someone explain to me why Klaus has that very standing square pose, and how does it affect the horse body language wise, also why does he walk slightly bent legged, this is also body language for the horse but how does the horse interpret it. Those videos made me cry.


I can't tell you why he does certain things (in fact I would already be happy to be able to tell you why I myself do certain things as most of them are happening unconsciously), but maybe you will know soon: I just emailed him and asked him to join us. That would be soooo wonderful!! :D

Another thing that I have thought about a lot in the last days: when I was a teenager, the mother of my best friend who was working in jail as a social pedagogue at that time told me about something she had learned there: to emotionally pick up people from where they are. That is: if you have a prisoner who is yelling at you, being totally mad - don't try to be the oh so relaxed and all-knowing psychologist. They would only feel as if you didn't take them seriously. Instead, show them an emotional state that is slightly underneath their own. And then slowly reduce it as you are talking to him and take him down with you. This has given me food for thought for years as I do tend to be the ever so relaxed one in most interactions. :blush:

I am just thinking about applying this to horses. Honestly I can't tell you if it works. In all my life I have had lots of either emotionally shut up horses or horses who haven't experienced all this crap at all. But no furious horses who were yelling at me... so I guess I am lacking some experience here. Just wanted to tell you about it though to hear some opinions of those who have worked with those horses...


Top
   
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 12:24 am 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2008 11:43 pm
Posts: 598
Location: UK
Romy, I don't understand his body language, but you can see especialy clearly in the second film with the white stallion, that he is throwing a lifeline to the horse, and the horse is grabbing it , which I can relate to, prehaps we do do this instinctivly with our horses without realising it, maybe without realising it we do respond to their needs, I know I do do it with humans, especialy if I sense they are lacking confidance, I accomadate this. Is it a body language thing or an energy, mixed with emotion thing, sounds confusing, sorry.

It would be so cool if he joined, I could ask him so many questions.

_________________
We never stop learning


Top
   
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 1:38 am 
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 2:32 am
Posts: 3270
Location: New York
AnnieB wrote:
Romy, I don't understand his body language, but you can see especialy clearly in the second film with the white stallion, that he is throwing a lifeline to the horse, and the horse is grabbing it , which I can relate to, prehaps we do do this instinctivly with our horses without realising it, maybe without realising it we do respond to their needs, I know I do do it with humans, especialy if I sense they are lacking confidance, I accomadate this. Is it a body language thing or an energy, mixed with emotion thing, sounds confusing, sorry.


Oh, I don't think that is confusing at all, Annie! I know what you mean, and do the same thing -- there's kind of a giving of life energy, a sharing of it, when people seem shy or inward or uncertain. And it doesn't feel depleting, because they feel it, accept it, and build their own with it -- adds to the energy so both feel stronger. I think it's ultimately energetic, but has body language and emotions woven into it.

That's so cool, I'd never really thought consciously about doing that with my horses -- I'm going to!

Eileen, I really found what you wrote fascinating as well! As someone who's been a performer and teacher/group facilitator over the years, I absolutely believe you're right -- there are times when that kind of energy (or lack of it) is tangible. When I put together conferences these days, I think a whole lot about how to best support a giving kind of energy, and am always blown away by how much magic can happen when it works-- it always goes way beyond what I had hoped for when the ingredients are right. People are more brilliant (and I mean not only intellectually, but energetically -- they sparkle) in these settings when that energy is opened up to them than they think they can be.

(I'm also thinking about my younger sister, who when she was in her late 20's was diagnosed with colon cancer. Shortly after she was diagnosed, she, my mother, a good friend of hers and our families, and I went off to an herb shop to look for herbs that might help her with chemo. We had been so frightened for her, and were all pouring all of our energy into her, not even consciously. At one point I looked over at her and she was literally glowing. I knew in that moment that she was going to be okay. It was amazing -- I vacillate between being open and skeptical about such things, and there was no denying how she took that energy in.)

Annie, I don't know specifically why Hempfling does a lot of his body language -- he's SO much more sophisticated with this than I understand, but I'm guessing at least part of the bent legs/square pose is about grounding his energy -- both in terms of what he's sending out to the horse, and also, practically, so he has a strong base that he can move agilely from, with his center a little closer to the ground. He's in collection! :-) It's the same as watching a ballet dancer (especially before a leap or lift), or a martial artist -- he's prepped to move whatever direction he needs to without losing his balance.

And Romy, that's fascinating about pitching your emotions just below someone who is caught in big ones -- makes total sense. There are moments when cool detachment is like a slap in the face to someone who is keyed up; it can be very dismissive and a weird power trip. You cut yourself off of the emotional flow and let the other person flail in it -- I would think as a therapist, that's always a delicate balance. (It's something I used to do when my husband and I would fight -- I grew up in a family that didn't really fight hard, but instead had "discussions" -- Mark grew up in a family that would lob whatever they could at each other. I would start by trying to stay calm because I thought that would help, and as he got hotter, I'd get colder -- it took me a while, but I realized that that was as much a weapon as anything he used on me. :oops: So I got over my self-righteous control and learned to shriek like a fishwife upon occasion...)

:lol: :lol:

And I so understand your comment about the other forum you visited today! I've got all of these amazing thoughts rolling around in my head, and at the ranch yesterday, a woman I don't know well who's one of the more serious riders there (who's nice enough, but has dressage lady disease) :-) walked by me with her horse and asked who's training method I was following. I rather lamely said, "well, we're doing a lot of target training..." :lol: (As if that begins to cover what I'm learning here and how my brain is exploding!) She walked away, and I could feel the waves of pity rolling off of her for both me and my horse as we bumbled around in cluelessness... :lol: :lol: :lol: I had to stop myself from running after her and giving the dissertation version! I probably just should have said, "mine, with a lot of help from my friends."

:-)
Leigh

PS: It would be SO cool if Hempfling joined in on our conversation!


Top
   
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 1:58 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 7:38 pm
Posts: 701
Location: UK
Romy wrote:

I can´t tell you why he does certain things (in fact I would already be happy to be able to tell you why I myself do certain things as most of them are happening unconsciously), but maybe you will know soon: I just emailed him and asked him to join us. That would be soooo wonderful!! :D

Another thing that I have thought about a lot in the last days: when I was a teenager, the mother of my best friend who was working in jail as a social pedagogue at that time told me about something she had learned there: to emotionally pick up people from where they are. That is: if you have a prisoner who is yelling at you, being totally mad - don´t try to be the oh so relaxed and all-knowing psychologist. They would only feel as if you didn´t take them seriously. Instead, show them an emotional state that is slightly underneath their own. And then slowly reduce it as you are talking to him and take him down with you. This has given me food for thought for years as I do tend to be the ever so relaxed one in most interactions. :blush:

I am just thinking about applying this to horses.
.


That is fascinating, I use a shamanic technique for healing where you merge your energies with your horse. You actually feel their emotions , physical discomfort etc but you are still you. From this you can detect an imbalance that you can feel in your own body. The idea is that you heal these feelings and help to heal your patient. Is what you describe a similar kind of thing, you experience the emotion in a detached way and then work at calming how you feel and take the other person or horse with you.

It would be GREAT if Hempfling joined our conversation I do so admire his rapport with horses.

Leigh you are sooo!!! right it is like magic when the energies are in harmony I have found that to be so.

Annie you were so cool with Misty I think you handled the situation far better than some so called experienced people I have come across.

ET

_________________
Listen! Or your tongue will make you deaf.



Cherokee Saying


Top
   
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2008 12:26 am 
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:20 am
Posts: 6076
Location: Dresden, Germany
AnnieB wrote:
It would be so cool if he joined, I could ask him so many questions.


Well, it seems that my email got to his correspondent and not him. ;) She wrote me a very friendly mail and said that we could ask some questions and she would send them to him. Actually that is not exactly what I had imagined and I don't have any direct questions either as for me personally the most interestings things are those that just happen within a discussion itself, but if anyone of you wants to ask questions, feel free to do so and post them to this address: akedah@mail.dk :)

Edit: His very nice correspondent told me that Mr. Hempfling can't join us here as he has a very bad internet connection at the island where he lives and trains his horses. He wishes us all the best and if anyone of you has any questions to him, you can always send them to the email address I posted above.


Last edited by Romy on Mon Jul 14, 2008 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
   
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 1:06 am 

Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:28 am
Posts: 178
Energy is facinating. I don't understand how it actually works, but I do know it works. This is an interesting thread.

My husband for the first time really got to experience the energy. We had gone to the zoo. We got to the giraffes and there was this female with a very bad foot, that has healed to the best that it could heal. I found out later that while being transported, she hurt it. This was quite a long time ago.

I ended up sitting on the floor of the deck. My right arm from my elbow to my fingers were tingling and felt like it was asleep. She brought her foot forward and stood quietly. Then my husband said that it was time for the elephants bath. The moment I took my attention off, she lost interest. After seeing the elephants bathed, we headed back to the giraffes. She was at the deck, being feed crackers by the other visitors. I stayed down below and allowed whatever. Again, the tingling. I asked my husband to feel my arm, but he didn't feel anything different, within seconds after that, I asked him to feel it again. This time it was hot. He even moved his hand off of it. The heat was coming from the center of my lower arm. It was a hand width. Above this point, the temperature was normal and below that point it was normal. He was so exciting to expereince this and so was I. I then got, "Little Lady" That's what she likes to be called. She was still taking crackers, but 3-4 times she turned and looked right at me. After some time had gone by, she turned and walked away. She headed up a raise and kept her back to me. I knew the moment she turned, she was done. This was so cool.

It was so unexpected.

I believe in what I do, but I certainly don't understand it.

What I have found though, is that having this abaility hasn't made things easy. In a lot of ways, more difficult.

Does anybody else find it hard?


April

_________________
Horse's idea becomes your Idea...

April


Top
   
PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:36 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 206
Location: Devon, United Kingdom
I wonder what other people's experiences are of being sad or perhaps even angry/frustrated in their horse's presence... I think about the emotional link between us and equines all the time, particularly as my main line of work involves working with mules of all kinds of backgrounds and pasts - some of them are completely untouchable because of bad experiences with humans - consequently, if you have human 'baggage', there really isn't a chance in hell of getting anywhere with these wonderful creatures.

I've never really liked to visit my horse when I'm angry or upset; I feel as if I should 'cool off' a bit before visiting them, so that there isn't such a choppy sea between us and rather perhaps just a rippling pool instead. But I wonder whether my past horse (a lovely old retired cob called Bobby) shaped this attitude in me more than was needed. If I entered the field or stable surrounded by a cloud of sadness, Bobby's whole being would change and take on a sort of 'uncomfortable' look. He'd usually hang there for a bit, perhaps shifting his weight from one foot to the other, looking everywhere but me, and then promptly turn around and walk off.

Since Skylark flew into my life (Skylark is my fabulous fell pony filly :smile: ), I've found a very different reaction/connection with her indeed. My partner's family have had a very difficult 6 months or so, so life has had it's strains... Of course, when you have a new pony in your life, you want to spend as much time with her as possible, so she's already seen me through a whole spectrum of emotions! When I first cried in her presence, I actually felt guilty for being there, because of course my old Bobby would have hated the situation. What I found though, was that little Skylark was completely the opposite. She snuggled into me and gave me the most wonderful, understanding and comfortable cuddle imaginable! She has a glorious, thick mane, which she let me nuzzle myself underneath, and we stood there for what seemed like forever in the most healing embrace.

I guess because of the higher, more frantic level of energy that seems to go with these raw emotions, at work with the troubled equines, I always see a negative reaction to them... It's just wonderful to know that of course, with certain connections and certain personalities, they can be yet another layer to live through and learn through together. What are everybody else's experiences of this?


Top
   
 Post subject: Re: Becoming emotional
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:34 am 
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:20 am
Posts: 6076
Location: Dresden, Germany
Sunny, I have merged your post into an old thread from 2008, where we have discussed being emotional, positively as well as negatively. Feel free to continue discussing over here, and I am looking forward to more contributions by our new members. :)

When it comes to being emotional in the presense of horses, or in response to them, I want to keep two things in mind which might seem contradictory at first glance, but I really don't think they are: I want to be authentic and I don't want to burden my horses unnecessarily with negative emotions but be positive as much as possible. In order to not only fulfil the first point but the second one as well, I do control my emotional display to some degree. For me this means that I engage in both output control and input control, working on my emotional expression and on the generation of my emotions themselves.

Concerning the output control, I try to balance my needs for authenticity and being considerate of the other one's feelings, respectively, by directing my control at the quantity of my emotional display instead of its quality. That is, I show all kinds of emotions to my horses instead of just the easy ones. They may (and should) know when I feel sad or angry as well. However, I try to make sure not to overwhelm them with these emotions. That is, I can show them that I am angry in a clear but calm and careful way, instead of jumping at them and scratching their eyes out. :twisted:

The second aspect of output control is that I am displaying my emotions as I-messages, keeping the responsibility with me, so to speak. I guess I am a bit hypersensitive in that regard, because when I was a child, my mother (who back then was a lot younger than she is now ;)) usually did the opposite. She had quite extreme emotional reactions to some things we did, and often communicated them as something that was our fault... as if WE were making her so angry, forcing her to get hysterical and not be herself anymore. I still remeber how that felt and it definitely is not something I want to do with others, humans or horses. Therefore, I try to communicate that it is me who is feeling in a particular way, without implying that it was the other one's fault.

For me that is not just some communicative strategy but something that is rooted in the way I understand emotional reactions in general. Emotions do not result from situations per se but are based on mental representations of them. No situation in itself can ever make me angry. What can make me angry, though, is my interpretation of this situation, and I want to make sure that I don't confuse these two. For example, if a horse is not very careful and pushes into me, I might be more likely to get angry if I think he does this because he is just rude (whatever that is supposed to mean in practise ;)) than if I think it is because he is scared or does not know better or just hasn't seen me.

This directly leads me to the aspect of input control, because I can influence this way of making causal attributions. There are several attributional styles, or ways in which attributions can differ. One is whether a person attributes events to internal factors (inside the person) or external factors (something in the situation). I prefer attributing internally when something goes wrong: I tell myself that it was me who was responsible. An internal attribution of negative events usually is a predictor for depression, presumably because it reduces subjective control. However, for me it has the opposite effect, actually: It makes me feel more in control, because I know that if it was me, this also means that I can do better and that I don't have to depend on anyone for that. But then perhaps one of the reasons why I perceive it as empowering to be responsible for the bad things is also that I know that I am the one who is controlling my own causal attributions: It has been my own choice to attribute internally, because objectively, there just is no single cause for most events, so it's not a matter of finding the true cause but just focusing more on the one that serves me better.

But back to emotions and how all that relates to input control. I can deliberately choose not to see the source of a negative emotion of mine in the horse, but make myself aware of the possibility that it's me who is responsible. For example, if my horse is not reacting to a body language signal, I needn't interpret this as something that is his fault, because he is just not attentive or not smart or whatever. I can just as well say that it was me who has given an unclear signal, or given it at the wrong moment. In that way, I know that I can change it next time so that it will work. No need to get angry at all, so the input, the ingredients that make my emotional soup, are changed in a way that makes it more positive.

So to sum it up, I want to show emotions. However, I want to vary the quantity of this display, show them as something that has to do with me, and then work on that me-component. :f:


Top
   
 Post subject: Re: Becoming emotional
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:04 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2013 1:13 pm
Posts: 365
Only a few days ago I have noticed how amazing good my horse is able to read my mood in which I just feel. He sensed full that I couldn't give him that attention that he needed and behaved thus. He appeared absent-minded and bored, partially frustrated. And every time he begins to snap/bite me or tries to cut off the way resp. ignored me completely. I know that that becomes quickly dangerously for us. Then it's a quite challenge for me to control his behaviour therewith he will become more cautious and more being attentive to me, it takes an enormous amount of concentration to be with my focus on him all the while. At this moments I have the tendency to react bugged, frustrated or sad, and sometimes streched thin with this situation. Then I am find myself being idealess and desultory to reel exercises off instead of to hear what my horse wants to tell me.

But there are also other days: Yesterday for example. Head and thoughts were free and I in best temper. So I had a horse that was entirely relaxed, calm and interested in to work with Nelly and me. If we were finished with a lesson he always seemed to ask: "Well, and what's next?" That was so a difference to the day before!

Of course, to train with a friendly and good horse is always easier and enjoyed us much more. But I mean, also difficult situations with horses show us where we actually stand in our relationship. Both, horse and human, grow with theirs challenges. (I have to tell me that each time again... :funny: )


Top
   
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic  Reply to topic  [ 28 posts ]  Go to page 1 2 Next

All times are UTC+01:00


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Limited Color scheme created with Colorize It.