Do you hear me?
Seems most of my blogs relate what we are doing at the ranch and how I interact with people in similar ways.
How do I get the attention of the horse and have them respond to what I am asking them? Lunging the horse I ask them to walk on, whoa, and pick up a trot on command. I am very engaged with them and often use bold body language. With Axel I need to be very animated and my energy needs to reflect what I am asking him to do. When I ask for a “whoa” I relax my body, turn sideways and plant myself solid. He responds so well that as soon as I begin those actions he slows as I stop he stops. Asking him to trot though has to be very energetic. On the other hand Babe our seasoned lesson horse lunges so easily to less animation. She likes to conserve her energy and I believe she knows when she does what’s asked correctly it will end quickly! Laugh with me, yes I just interjected my thoughts to what I see in her behavior. Now, Roosevelt my riding mule, he’s a totally different animal! I enjoy him, we relate, he comes to me from anywhere in the field, and seems full of personality. Lunging, well let’s just say we need to work at it! There is a saying horses should be trained the way mules need to be trained. Roosevelt needs the task broken down, and a lot of reassurance, he almost needs to be led by example. He forces me to focus and not rush. He redirects us if I get frustrated and I have learned to go back a step and start over and we get in back in tune. little Lucy, she is the best at lunging and long lining. Why, I have no idea! Yet she is the most anti social?
So, do I communicate differently with each animal and why, do they require that from me?
Am I flexible when I communicate with people? If someone is not getting it, do I back up and start again, or get frustrated and want to give up?
How’s my body language with different people? Do I take a different stance with some than I do with others?
I know my business voice is very different than my mom voice, just ask my kids. Do you eve hear someone close to you say, “wow, you talk to them so nice”? Ouch, why are there differences?
I like to believe I have good communication skills, and able to talk clearly using “I” statements, eye contact and being an active listener! But, there’s times those skills are the farthest from my mind when dealing with those closest to me and I resort to raising my voice and being irrational! Imagine!
So this week I reflected on my communication in general. I softened my voice when I wanted to show frustration, I listened without a come back, letting the other person talk freely, realizing that they just needed to vent and were not interested in my opinion.
My horses helped me this week to refocus on my communication. I came away from their training sessions with my own lesson. Generally applying what was going on in their sessions in a positive way to my own relationships.
This is what I hope for in our Therapeutic Equine Activities and Prospect Riding Center. What goes on in the session time with the participant and the horse goes home with them, expanding their own self reflection and well being. Our motto we want to share here at the Riding Center is “Not only a difference for a day, but for a lifetime
Communication, Do You Hear Me?