How it Works:
Horses are curious, social, sensitive, emotional, keenly aware of their surrounding environment and often on alert from centuries of being prey in the wild. Through years of domestication many horses have learned to look to humans for food, water, exercise, shelter and even grooming. For these and other reasons horses are often interested in checking out the humans around them. As we connect with the horses they often respond, react and interact with us.
Horses live in the present moment; they do not think about the past or future. They are right here, right now. Humans have the same capacity but in our society many of us do not spend much time fully in the present – we analyze and overthink, confusing and clouding our perceptions. This is why it is so powerful to learn from horses.
When we work with horses we must ‘think’ like a horse to understand and communicate effectively and respectfully with them. Horses invite us to listen and observe their immediate unfiltered responses to our presence. They are highly aware of the underlying tone in our voice, our posture, tension and the energy vibrations that surround us. They do not know our words per se – they receive information from our tone and flexion of voice and our non-verbal communication. Our internal energy is quite palpable to horses, as we are emanating energy to them even when we are not conscious of doing so. By working with horses we learn to become conscious of our own internal feelings, emotions, thoughts and energy.
Horses are not easily fooled. They can sense any underlying fear, anger or incongruent intention in us. They are able to sense our emotional energy even if, and perhaps especially if, we try to cover it up and ‘act’ confident and well meaning. If our inner emotions conflict with our somatic presentation or energy, the horse often feels wary and more inclined to revert to their flight or fight response.
An Equestrian Synergy™ Session
In an Equestrian Synergy session the student learns to listen and observe the horse while simultaneously feeling safe and grounded. While the student is in the process of leading or brushing the horse, I combine respectful touch with skilled verbal intervention, bringing awareness to any existing inner tension, holding patterns or stuck places in their body. I may use gentle body movements designed to further promote an experiential change. As Equestrian Synergy sessions continue, I use the unique talk and touch process to help the student discover emotional blocks and behavioral patterns. As they uncover and acknowledge their true feelings such as fear, anger or low self-esteem, the body mind and emotions become more integrated.
The integration experienced in a student’s body elicits a corresponding response from the horse. The horse will feel more comfortable, accepting and trusting when the student’s body and mind are in sync. This honest reflection often creates an “aha” moment of learning. Experiencing positive change in the body opens the door to the possibility of making changes in life.
Connecting more deeply
During an Equestrian Synergy session I guided my student to bring her awareness to her internal being. She became still, quiet and open enough to feel the air change around her. The horse immediately responded, entering into closer communication with her. The horse, with a more relaxed posture, sniffed her and moved closer, bending his neck around her. He was clearly choosing to connect more deeply with her. I witnessed the profound nature of the horse as he moved into his role to assist my student. The student had a powerful experience. And the horse was simply being a horse.