Every horse in every minute gives off a certain energy. In fact every creature does, we are just very bad at reading it. Most people can feel the energy shift when a horse tenses and bolts off or sighs and softens through their body after something stressful. But can you feel the subtleties as the energy constantly shifts and changes?
Being able to feel a horse’s energy tells you what state of mind they are in and how they are feeling. It can be tricky at first, but allows you to be so much more aware of what is going on. Better yet it isn’t an unreachable goal – all it takes is listening really closely.
If you can’t feel your horse’s energy spend some time with the horse at liberty just observing and feeling and becoming present in the moment. Busyness makes it very hard to feel. Meditation can help to bring you into the moment if you struggle with that.
Once you can feel the horse’s energy it will do one of two things. It will either pass through you and dissipate or it will take hold of you and reel you in. This is where things can get really good or really bad. To be truly with a horse you have to have the same energy as the horse. If you want to move as one you have to think as one and feel as one. But you also don’t want to be consumed by a horse’s anxiety or anger.
Generally, the stronger energy will take over a situation. This is how you can be relaxed and feel a jolt of fear from the horse and long after the horse has stopped panicking you can still feel the anxiety deep in your stomach. This serves no one.
Ideally when your horse has a jolt of anxiety or fear you would feel that energy, absorb it, and then let it go to bring both you and the horse back to a relaxed state. Sounds easy enough, right?
So how do we do that? The first step is to ground yourself. Before you can ever hope to be able to dissipate the horse’s energy you have to be able to dissipate your own. Meditating and breathing will help you ground yourself and return to a relaxed state. Practicing this until it is quick and easy for you is key.
Once you can easily ground yourself then you can bring your horse back into the picture. Start by grounding yourself and then feel the horse’s energy. Allow it to run through you like water while grounding yourself so you don’t get caught up in it. If you can stay grounded long enough eventually the horse will lock on to your energy and become grounded. This is where any partnership truly begins.
Any stressful situation will cause a momentary change in energy, but if you are both connected and good at grounding it will dissipate quickly and be just a flutter of change. Partnerships are built on this relaxation.
Being able to feel and influence your horse’s energy is truly the foundation of all the work we do with horses. You can’t make horses not scared, unreactive, responsive, excited, or any other state you want. Horses will always experience every level and way to be alert or relaxed. What you can do is dissipate the negative energies and build the positive energies until any negative state is just a blip on the radar. From the outside it will look like you are always in perfect relaxation even if it is a constant conversation and back and forth of energy. This is what a “not spooky” or “relaxed” horse truly is, but it is only there when the horse is put in the right hands.