Control Your Energy
This is a piece of horsemanship so often overlooked, but it has such a profound impact on our horses. Our energy and attitude causes subconscious biological changes in our body - from specific muscles holding tone, to the release of pheromones. Most people allow this system to be easily influenced by the world around them. Their energy is constantly shifting, rising and falling.
We’ve been taught to tune the energy of other people out as a result. How can we be in tune when the feedback is constantly so loud and changing so rapidly? It’s like living in a permanent rave. So we don’t notice energy shifts in each other until we’re practically screaming at each other. The problem is, in order to be a trustworthy partner to our horse, we can’t be constantly changing. Horses are creatures of habit - they hate change. Even a tiny change in their food or stall can cause some horses to have a total meltdown. So imagine how difficult it is for them to always perform the behaviors we ask for in the same way when our energy is all over the freaking place.
The good news is that we CAN control this with practice. There’s a reason why, when one of my clients with a “wild” horse hands me the line, he instantly plods around like an ancient leadline horse. The horse is exactly the same. I have just dropped my energy into the dirt to help him see that there’s no reason to be afraid.
In the picture above, Jackson clunked his hoof on the tire, it made a noise, and he spooked backwards. I just stood there. Didn’t flinch, didn’t panic, just let the rope slide through my hand. If the horse can see you weather the storm, he becomes more confident in HIMSELF to do so. I patted him, helped him downregulate, and we tried again.
Your horse simply cannot be expected to be perfect in all ways, calm, never spook at anything, and respond exactly the same every time if your energy is all over the place because YOU are changing the biggest input he has when asked for anything. While a slight tension in the jaw may seem tiny to us, to a sensitive horse it’s the force of a tsunami. It might sound all hippie, but energy matters.