Coaching with Horses at Liberty

I made this video a couple of summers ago with my horse Easter’s Hurricane – aka Harold – and the help of a dear friend and horse trainer Lyz Rudolph-Michaels. In this video you will see a combination of the body language I learned from Chris Irwin and the Waterhole Rituals that Carolyn Resnick developed for building connection with horses. My intention is to show the type of activity one might engage in when having a coaching session facilitated by horses. The interaction is simple and yet as complex as any interaction we have with humans – and more mysterious until we learn to speak the language of the horse fluently. Each horse is unique just as we people are, however their language is universal in the equine world.

In order to communicate successfully we must become a horse on 2 legs: hyper-aware of how our shoulders and hips move, how much energy we send out from the solar plexus, where our girth line is in relation to theirs; so many gestures that have so much meaning. This is what we as humans are largely unconscious of when we interact with each other. Communicating with horses brings this to the forefront of our minds and allows us to imagine how others might see us by experiencing the honest, in-the-moment reactions of the horses.

As per Carolyn’s recommendation I am carrying a fine length of willow that is soft and barely there. It helps to extend my reach without creating any possibility of hurt or punishment. Also, notice what happens at the 2:07 time marker. I lost my balance and inadvertently moved my hips, facing him and sending impulsive energy from my core to his flank.  He was about to relax and let me join him but, feeling my push, he of course responded by moving on. These little interactions are so easily missed if we aren’t in the moment observing and understanding the language of the horse.