Only have ten minutes to spare? Here’s how to use your senses to connect deeply with your horse when you’re pressed for time.
Connecting with your horse isn’t easy – especially when you have a busy schedule. But the bond between the two of you can deepen if you work to heighten your senses through awareness. Try this two-way conversation for ten minutes each day, using your four senses as your communication tools.
Walk around your horse. Is his tail swishing? Is he moving it out of playfulness or frustration? Does he seem happy or agitated? Look at the state of his body. Small signs can alert you to his mood.
Touching your horse will give you a sense of where your relationship stands. If he flinches and moves away, he’s sending you a message. If he leans into you, he’s sending a different message. Keep in mind that horses use touch and grooming to connect and communicate. Once trust is earned, touch will bring you closer together. Building the touch bond with your horse is simply about being sympathetic with his body, trying different things and allowing him to touch you, too.
There was a time when I was silent around my horses simply because they were. Because they are such feeling animals, I thought a talking voice was not their natural way to communicate. Instead, I communicated by gestures, touch, and looks – but it didn’t feel quite right. I began talking, and my horses and I now know each other really well. I chat away, and they respond by interacting and whinnying. They enjoy being spoken to.
Horses know if you’re authentic. As prey animals, horses are adept at taking in the subtlest signs. They sense intention in the tone of your voice, your footsteps, and the pace of your breath. On the flip side, you’ll get to know your horse’s whinnies, nickers and snorts to understand if he’s communicating happiness, pain, agitation, or fear.
Don’t forget to breathe when approaching your horse. Ask for permission to enter his space, and then take three deep breaths. Drink in their warmth and scent – that delicious smell one that all horse people love.
A horse is a horse
The beauty of horses is that they aren’t humans – they don’t judge, they just are. The next time you have ten minutes to spare, spend it connecting with him, exactly as he is, by using your senses. Deepening your awareness in his presence can contribute to your overall sense of well-being, as well as his. So tune in and enjoy.