*Horse Charming*

The Reality of Horse-Human Communication

by..Many Ann Simonds

Good horse people have been talking with horses and hearing what they say for thousands of years. However, recently with the "Horse Whispering" wave, we are re-acknowledging our deep and sometimes unspoken relationship with horses. Relationships between horses and people can vary depending upon the horse and human and what each may want or gain from the relationship. At the heart of the horse-human relationships is the individual personalities and horsenalities coming together for a reason. The reason may be as simple as fun exercise together or as complex as a deep friendship where both enjoy the interaction of being together and excel beyond their individual capabilities. Regardless of your level or reason for interaction with horses, better understanding how they think and feel will enhance your relationship.

Many people who intimately communicate with horses cannot articulate their communication and hence, it is considered "magic". The reality is that anyone who truly understands horses and thinks and feels with horses has the ability to communicate opening. Studying human-animal interactions and healing for over 25 years, first as an undergraduate wildlife and range ecology student and then later focusing my graduate work in this field has allowed me to study many different people and their relationships with animals. As a young student transferring from the university of California to the University of Wyoming, I was able to take my horse with me. I was delighted to have my junior jumper champion and best friend to share my dreams of riding the open range. I was intently interested in the cognitive ethology(animal awareness) of animals and eager to begin my research. One of the first "cowboys" I met offered to take out on the range. He showed up with a pickup truck with a stock rack on it and said "lets go". I asked where his trailer was and he replied, "I thought you had a jumping horse". I was stunned that he expected my horse to jump into the back end of his truck through the metal stock gate into his truck. He casually walked away, whistled for his horse to come out of the pasture, which it did, and then saddled his horse. I stood in awe, as his horse just as casually jumped into the back end of his truck managing to duck and not get the horn of the saddle stuck on the top bar. I asked him how he trained his horse to do this impressive feat. With a puzzled look, he replied, "I didn't, he just wants to go to work."

I realized there were many "special" horse people out there. Some had no idea how they communicated with their horses, because they had always done it and therefore, it was an innate part of them, not something they had learned. However, my interest was to understand how I knew what I knew and how other people who had these intimate connections with animals communicated with them as well. Was there a similarity to our methods or was everyone doing it differently? These were the questions I set out to study. After several years of research I was able to identify some common similarities among people who seemed to have special relationships with horses. They were able to...

    Think and Feel "With" the animal instead of just looking "at" the animal. Often times people judge an animal based on the persons experience with other animals. Each animal is an individual and should be related with in whatever way works for the two of you. It may be different from the way you have related with other animals. This is probably the most important distinction, because science teaches us how to be good observers and objectivity is the goal, we often distance ourselves from the animal and analyze what is wrong instead of feeling. Very few animals analyze, most feel. If we can learn to feel with the animals without letting our own issues and projections get in the way, we will open a pathway for greater understanding.
    Understanding and Use "body Language" Appropriately for the animal to understand them. They also read the animal's body language accurately. Again, thinking and feeling with the animal, you are less likely to mistake body language signals. Sometimes what appears to a person looking "at" an animal to be aggressive, may well be an expression of fear to a person "thinking and feeling "with" the animal.
    Withhold Judgment" of the animal until they had developed a good working relationship together. Then they were able to identify the animal's personality. Each animal is an individual. When you think you know a lot, you will get an animal tells you that you know "nothing" about me.
    Stay Focused with the Animal. Most people cannot hold their focus with anything for more than 4 seconds, and yet we expect animals to stay focused on us for much longer. Learning to keep your awareness with the animal and not be distracted by others no matter what is going on around you. You must learn to stay present in the moment with the animal.
    Match Frequencies. Animals are talking all of the time on their frequencies, but most people miss the unspoken language, because their thoughts are too busy racing around in a million different directions on human frequencies. Often slowing down our own frequencies and asking our minds and bodies to "match" frequencies with other animals opens up the door to clearer communication.
    Enjoy "Being" with the animal. It was obvious that both the person and the animal were enjoying the communication or relationship of working together. The relationship was not built on dominance or the animal giving in to the human's desires, but rather a respectful acknowledgement building trust between the two beings.

Later, these observations developed into the O.F.F.E.R. Techniques which have been published and shared with thousands of people to help them learn to "share awareness" with other species. The Open-Friendly-Focused-Empathetic-Respectful Techniques follow and can be used to develop a closer and more loving and open relationship with any other species.

Horse Charming is the real magic of inter-species communication, where horse and human reach a common ground of understanding. Although, it may appear that few people have this ability, it is there for all to embrace and weave into their being as part of who we are as humans. For long before we were human beings, perhaps we evolved in our consciousness as horses and other beings.

Mary Ann Simonds 17101 NE 40th Ave., Vancouver, WA 98686

Meet Mary Ann Simonds a quick biography.

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