Conscious communication enables harmonious relationships – how horses help
We are communicating all of the time, whether we realise it or not! It’s now well known that only a small percentage of our communication is verbal, the rest is non-verbal. And it’s the non-verbal communication that makes all the difference to the quality of our relationships.
Horses communicate non-verbally and remain connected to their instincts. They’ve had to in order to survive, but many of us humans have lost connection to what our body sensations and intuition are telling us.
However, just being in the presence of horses can enhance our awareness of our non-verbal communication. We connect to our body sensations and our sixth sense or our intuition. It’s not unusual for a horse owner to go into the yard or to the field in the morning and have the sense that something isn’t right with their horse. Often they find out that their intuition or sixth sense is true.
So what are we communicating, that we may be unaware of, and yet horses sense and respond to?
It’s a combination of our thoughts, our emotions and our energy or intention, all of which are transmitted through our body sensations. As you become aware of your own non-verbal communication, your sixth sense or intuition and your instincts and body sensations, you can then learn to trust and act on it.
When you become aware of your thoughts you will notice if they are true in the moment or whether they may actually be limiting beliefs or assumptions. It could be that a story might have been created at some time in your past which isn’t true.
E.g. one of the most common things I experience in my work is that when a horse either comes towards the client and then walks away or does not walk towards the client at all and the client thinks that the horse doesn’t like him and he feels rejected. When the client brings this belief into awareness he can choose to see the situation differently and approach the horse to establish a connection.
We live in a society which rewards the suppression of our true feelings and emotions in order to manage and cope with everyday life and yet the quality of our emotions is being transmitted non-verbally. The challenge is that we are we are often unaware we are hiding our true feelings. Horses sensitive to our stress help to bring it into our awareness because they sense our rapid breathing and exaggerated heart rate when we feel anxious, angry or frustrated and can show signs of our unacknowledged emotions in their behaviour.
E.g. during a time of reflection with one of my horses the client became frustrated. She was not used to simply ‘being’ and wondered what to do! As she felt the frustration my horse stamped his foot on the ground. When I asked her what she was feeling she acknowledged her frustration and the horse stopped stamping.
The quality of our feelings and emotions happens non-verbally and is transmitted energetically through our heart’s electromagnetic field, more information can be found on the Institute of Hearthmath website. It’s now proven that our energy patterns can be measured 8 ft away from our body, on an instrument called a magnetometer. Horses feel and read our energy patterns and so when our actions are not in line with our feelings the horses often react in some way. They might move away, they might bite or they might stop and refuse to move forward. So the client gets the information that their actions are not in line with their feelings and they become aware of their non-verbal communication.
E.g. After demonstrating the process I asked a client to set a boundary when the horse walked towards her for the first time, but the horse did not respond and stop and kept walking right up to the client. Even though she was outwardly setting a boundary, her inward desire was to touch the horse, so the energetic wavelength was of connection and the horse kept coming forward. This was an experienced horseperson and she stroked the horse’s neck and started laughing. She said “that’s exactly what happens to me in my relationships with people and my horses. I’m not clear with my boundaries because I have too much energy going on that I want to connect with them. I now realise that this is confusing for the horses and people in my life and it’s now really clear that when I need to set a boundary I need to align my intention with my physical energy.”
To connect with your thoughts, emotions, energy and body sensations you can do a body scan. This is a simple self-awareness exercise that allows you to connect with your feelings and access the intended information – e.g. It may be that your energy is heavy and the information is that you need to rest or have an early night. It may be that you feel frustrated and the information is that you need to try something different or ask for help.
You are communicating all of the time, whether you realise it or not, and so making your non-verbal communication conscious is the first step. Clear, conscious communication, whether with humans or horses, is key to enabling harmonious relationships.
Simple process to create conscious communication:
- Do a Body Scan
- Notice the quality of your thoughts – identify if they are true or limiting
- Acknowledge what your feelings and emotions are telling you
- Align your intentions with your actions