Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Horse whispering.


The big idea behind “horse whispering” is the use of subtle body language and keen observation to communicate with our horses. Horse communication is generally more understated than ours.
 “Horses have a complex facial musculature, allowing them to convey more information through facial gestures than other animals, writes equine psychologist”. Dr. Antonia Henderson. 
As a stereotypically reserved Canadian, judging a horse show last fall in Israel, it was culture shock!  Animated and passionate in communicating, this wonderful trait initially rattled me, (what’s the commotion??), but by day 2 of the show I’d become accustomed to it. Habituated, to use a horse training term.
One has to admire top showmanship class exhibitors who have developed a language of discrete cues to speak to their horses –  each signal distinct and preceded by a pre-signal, or “heads-up”.
“Riders may give unintended signals or a conflicting aids making it difficult for a horse to offer the correct response,” writes Dr. Antonia Henderson. “The horse tunes the rider out, soliciting an increasingly stronger aid.”
Let’s make the effort to be students of our horses body language…  and be conscious of our own!

Friday, 10 June 2016

Take a hint

Some people read people really well …picking up on subtle cues, interpreting body language -social cognition. You can actually take a quiz to rate “ your emotional intelligence”, if you’re at home with nothing better to do  (perhaps, in itself, a sign of a social introvert?)
    Horses have developed a sophisticated social cognition system to read group members rank, sex, personality.  They “read horse” expertly and can learn to read people, if we give them a chance!
“Horses have a complex facial musculature, allowing them to convey more information through facial gestures than other animals, writes equine psychologist”. Dr. Antonia Henderson.  Horse communication is generally more understated than ours.
Signals, gestures and even abbreviated versions of gestures (which require less energy), are sent and read by herd buddies. 
“We are mostly vocal communicators – so it’s easy to clash with our horses.  We not only miss their cues, but communicate unintended signals such as moving abruptly or shouting unnecessarily, “ writes Dr Henderson.