2019 Free Introduction to Beyond Body Language and Tango with Horses:
Welcome! Here you will find all of the content for the free 2019 Mini Course.
Manual for free two week intro
Link to PDF manual for the course: Introduction to Beyond Body Language and Tango with Horses
Here I share some tips for developing your own skills with resonance and explain a few different versions of resonance.
This is a video where I demonstrate observing body language as well as working with resonance as I approach and halter a variety of horses.
Here are two videos demonstrating how to work with touch to amplify communication, the experience of resonance. Touch and resonance can be therapeutic.
This first video is how not to do this! I did this first video focused on teaching and Gin would have none of it.
The second video is how I approached it after hearing Gin clearly tell me I could do better and allowing her to guide me in how to approach palpation in a whole new way.
Can you see the difference?
Week 2: Tango with Horses
I’ve thought a lot about what I’d like to share for this week. I finally settled on the invitation to dance, which I describe a little bit in the workbook, in the context of setting and changing the tone. I find that the very first interaction I have with my horses sets the tone for the rest of the session.
The best introduction to this concept of the invitation to dance is something some of you have already seen. Yes, Steve and I are acting. Not something we do. Sometimes it’s easier to relate to a concept if you see it acted out between two people versus with a horse. This is something I did for the online class a few years ago so there is some talk in the beginning that you might also find interesting.
Setting the tone:
What are you bringing to the table that would make you easy and interesting to follow?
What kind of energy do you have? How do you feel about what you're doing with your horse? Are you happy, excited, enthusiastic, intense, sad, frustrated, distracted, busy, mischievous, bored, evaluating, calculating, scheming???? You get the idea? Many of us have quite neutral energy when we're with our horses. Neutrality is remarkably difficult to feed of off and that's what I want my horse to do - feed off of my energy and intention. The more congruent and clear my emotions are, the more easily my horse can pick up on my intentions and match me. When I make myself easy to read, easy to follow, then there is something in it for my horse - I become interesting, intriguing, fascinating, magnetic and FUN to play with!
I'm attaching several video clips of our favorite . I know. It's dancing and you're not dancers. Please humor me. Your homework is to notice how Nick sets the tone through his emotions, posture and way of moving. This makes it easy for Diana to understand what he's after and play off of his emotions - see if you can see where she offers up her own suggestions and he picks up on them? See if you can see when he changes his emotional tone and how that matches the music? I've attached two clips (one humorous and one more serious so you can really see/feel the different emotional states and how they influence how these two move together)
I would also like you to pay attention to how they play off of each other. He is not forcing or making her do anything. The only way this works is if his emotional intention is very clear and he moves with confidence. They have spent many years learning to connect and communicate, to tell a story with their dancing. This is what it can look like if we devote the time to building a similar relationship with our horses.
The first video is quite intense. The second Quite playful.
Now, here is our other favorite couple to learn from. They are also very good at connecting via this emotional content - what do you notice about how they relate to one another? Watch all the way to the very end.
One of the reasons I love using Argentine Tango as a model for what I strive for in my horsemanship is that this is an improvised dance. We learn some basic technique and the basic language of the dance but then there are virtually endless possibilities for how to combine these elements. The only way improvisation works for the follower is if she is in agreement about her role and if he is impeccably clear in his communication of intent. If he has no emotion invested in the dance or is just throwing a bunch of tricks he learned at me and they don't relate to the music or to me - I can't keep up - there's no way. The reason these two couples dance so beautifully is that they are playing off each other and the music - it's seamless. If the leader is not clear and does not have an emotional investment in the dance then nothing really happens.
Our emotions transmit to our partner. That is the main thing I want you to realize and explore. If we feel frustrated our partner is going to feel our frustration and not know what to make of it. Is she/he frustrated with me? Frustration sets up tension, anxiety and anticipation. If we feel distracted, stressed, angry, sad - all of these emotions transmit through our feeling sense, through the quality of our touch, out posture and how we move. What happens if we bring joy, enthusiasm, love, compassion, passion, intensity, calmness, - how does each of these emotions impact the movement? How can we employ these emotions to help us build energy and impulsion for a collected trot or canter or a relaxed walk on a loose rein? How can we employ these emotions to help our horse come with us to investigate something they think is scary?
And here is a video where I apply these ideas to working with a horse: