dinsdag 22 juni 2010

Breathing experiment with the horses

Picture taken by Erik Derycke. Thank you Erik.

The Equiboosters are more sensitive than ever. Only yesterday, I did a breathing experiment with Panter. I was standing next to him, at a distance of about 1 meter, and started to breathe faster. He reacted simultaneously and took over my breathing rhythm. When I started to breathe very slowly, so did he.

When we were both calm and relaxed, I focused my thoughts on the moving issue: where will we go? Will we stay in Flanders or move abroad? I made sure to breathe at a slow pace. Panter immediatly started breathing faster again, and looked like he was frozen. I aborted the experiment after 10 seconds, so he wouldn't get all stressed out.

I did the same thought experiment with Impresse. I stood next to her and went over the different options in my mind - Wallonia, France, Germany. She started running in a circle around me and then took off, racing to the opposite side of the prairie. The other horses stopped eating grass, turned their heads, looked at me for an instance, and then took off as well, following Impresse to the other side of the prairie.

Is this good? Is this bad? It does not matter. There is no good and bad in horse language. There simply is what is. How to interpret this behavior? The tric is not to interpret anything, but let the feeling of that moment sink in. The answers will come all by itself when the moment is right - sometimes it happens instantly, sometimes it takes a couple of days or weeks. But the answer always comes naturally.

Anyone who works with horses can try out these experiments. This is one way of training your horses to put their focus on you. It does require trusting horses. Horses won't respond as clearly if they don't fully trust you. When you are coaching with people, they will do the same with your coachees. The most important thing is, that you do NOT interpret the horses behavior. Don't tell your coachee what to make of it. Let the coachee make his or her own interpretation. This is the biggest mistake made by horse therapist and horse coaches. It is not up to you to interpret. It is up to the coachee. Remember that.

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