Phase Two: Giving our horses a voice
Over the years the horses taught me the importance of building a strong foundation in my ability to perceive and engage with my senses. It was quite astonishing the first time I ventured out to see other horses after holing up with my herd for several years. Horses I never met before responded to me differently. I could see and feel things I never would have before. Their communication was SO clear it was shocking. How could anyone not see this? Not feel this? I recently began thinking of this as phase one, this development of my ability to perceive accurately. Phase two then, is taking that new-found ability to gather information with my senses and use it to decipher the things that might be preventing my horse from reciprocating my offers of connection, and shared movement.
You may already have a sense of things that get in the way of fluid communication between you and your horse. Not only must we identify what we are communicating (consciously and unconsciously), we must also identify the things that are going on with our horses that make it challenging for them to hear us.
If we are to accurately engage with what our horses are communicating, then we must learn to see beyond simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. We must learn to perceive the nuance. The reality is, there are a great many reasons a horse might at first appear to decline our suggestions. So far, we focused mostly on our side of the conversation: learning to listen, to resource ourselves well enough to not take things so personally, so we can remain present when our horses are troubled. We are learning just how finely tuned our horses are to our nuances in posture, tone, movement, and emotional content.