The hope I see, however, is that body and mental state mutually influence each other, so perhaps if you are teaching the right behaviour to someone, the rest will follow to some degree.
I'm absolutely positive that that will happen. That's how we learn and change behaviour after all, isn't it? We observe, we perform the behaviour in our minds first to see how it plays out and finally we try to imitate what we have seen.
I believe that most of the things that are relevant for effectively communicating with horses are within the potential of every human. Posture, body language, expressive energy and so on. I've seen this work with thin people, fat people, small people, tall people, handicapped people. It's surely not really limited by physical parameters. But certainly by psychosomatic ties that are often hidden to us and not easy to sever.
After the incident where Mucki kicked me in December, I could see all that at work within my own body. Fear made my body language totally ineffective - it made me literally small as a mouse. But that fear was not just a product of two hooves on my chest, there was so much more to it. Things that rooted deep back in my childhood as I became aware after some time.
Basically my whole way of interacting, moving, expressing myself is a complicated product of the sum of all my experiences - interactions that went well and those that went wrong. The question remains, how can those things be altered?
For one part I believe that there is no such thing as the "right" body language or the "right" set of movements to interact with a horse. It's a communication process like any other - one between two humans for example. Misunderstandings happen all the time and can be minimised with exercise. An old couple communicates most effectively and often non-verbal. Because they had the time to train themselves
So, I think things get better and more effective just with time...
Beyond that, I think we need dedicated exercises to develop certain traits like being attentive, being playful, or - the worst of all - being confident
I, for example, have a hard time remembering minor details about people I meet for the first time. Like what shoes they wore, or even the color of their hair
. I usually do remember a strong image about their personality, but my overall tendency is one of evasion, so that I don't look properly.
That's something deeply engraved in me, so that it's hard to overcome in the situation, but I do train this in a playful way: On my way to work I walk along Vienna's busiest shopping street where I try to get at least a quick glance at every passing person and I have to memorise at least one outstanding attribute of each one.
What I want to say with this long-winding example, is that in order to change such deeply rooted personality traits, it's important to have a rather simple, low level exercise and a safe place where it can be exercised. Like a mother provides safety for every toddler step out of the known into the big world outside.
A horse trainer, a fenced arena, or just some simple guidelines can provide that safety to explore new things. This may be a point where AND falls short for some people? After all we don't provide a lot of structured guiding - more the philosophy of try to go your own way.
It's definitely a good way, I believe - one which takes all the responsibility for one's actions. Just sometimes it's hard to walk steady on new ground with so much responsibility on the shoulders...