a slight spin off from the calming signals thread .....
Appy had a meltdown this morning .. I was leading him out of the barn to go to the indoor when the barn owner and her boys (teenage) started making a lot of racket with wheelbarrows and pitchforks and music .. poor Appy was shaking although he didn't move much (huge change!) .. it took 30 minutes for him to stop shivering -- his hindquarters were spasming very visibly.
My question is about startle response. I just now am listening to an online talk about neuroscience and meditation and startle response was brought up. I have been meditating for many years and realize that my startle response is minimal or absent -- but how does a horse read that lack of response? I've read that horses feel safer if you respond but don't make a big deal out of it ... like saying "yes, I heard that crash but it's only the wind knocking over a garbage can" or some such..
But having no response might say to the horse --- Oh! "Don't you know that there's a giant monster out of sight throwing garbage cans around? It'll be here next to eat me" or some such
Let's get out of here -- it's not safe -- you DON"T hear it?????
What do you think????
(me staying calm helps Appy stay in place but obviously doesn't calm him in a short time as it would less sensitive horses )