Tuesday, 14 June 2016
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!