The book covers 44 topics that are important in the partnership with your horse. Here is an excerpt from the topic «Approach»
«In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we often get to the barn, eager to see our horse, and walk toward it with halter in hand, ready to do something. In doing so, we forget to ask permission to enter the horse’s space and are surprised when it walks away instead of toward us. If we had slowed down, mentally and physically, taken the time to observe its body language and changed our approach accordingly, then the horse would have had no reason to walk away.
Here’s how you can approach your horse in a way that builds curiosity and often will draw your horse toward you. I learned this from Linda Kohanov. Mindfully approaching your horse means noticing when your horse’s body language changes in response to your presence and responding accordingly. Body language changes in your horse will be ear movements and posture shifts resulting from a mild increase in stress as the horse’s autonomic nervous system notices there’s something new in the environment, in this case a human walking over to it. This is called a “proximity response.” When you see this proximity response and learn to respond accordingly with a “rock back and sigh”, it will naturally draw your horse to you. From a polyvagal informed perspective, the rock back and sigh stimulates the ventral vagal complex in mammals that encourages relaxation and social connection. Unrestrained horses will walk away from people who are holding their breath, and are attracted to people as they audibly exhale with a long, relaxed outbreath.
Here is how you can use this approach with your horse, whether it’s in the box, outdoor paddock or on the pasture. First center yourself with even inbreaths and outbreaths before walking toward your horse….»