Thursday, February 3, 2011
Touching a horse
This week’s radio show features my interview with Sivia Gold, who describes a technique she calls the BIG Eraser. This is a way of touching a horse that triggers relaxation (my term) or erasing of negative memories at the cellular level (her term). In my opinion, this is one more example of the positive benefits that come from body-to-body contact with a horse done in a particular way. But let’s back up. Horses read your intentions and any potential threat you pose to them by reading your body language. When you touch them, they get an even stronger reading of you. The photo shown is one of Clinton Anderson using the Jeffrey Method in starting a young horse. After getting control of the horse’s feet and establishing a level of respect, Clinton lays across the horse’s topline and rubs its barrel, as did Australian Kell Jeffery in the past century. This calms a horse for reasons no one completely understands. My theory is that the more of your body a horse can feel, the quicker it learns to trust you and relax. Of course you need to be in the right mental state when you do this; if you are distracted or impatient, it may magnify the horse’s concern and make matters worse. There are a number of things we can do that nearly always help when we’re working with horses: Backing the horse, slowing down, lightening pressure, and increasing body-to-body contact. Even just touching the horse with your hand spread wide – “with your heart in your hand” as Pat Parelli might put it – nearly always helps. This is one of the easiest prescriptions for the horseman. After all, who doesn’t want to touch a horse? I can hardly keep my hands off of them. Listen to interview with Sivia Gold.