I have recently been talking about and demonstrating how we can become more aware of our Energetic Inflection when communicating with our horses. Energetic Inflection is a term I use to describe what you are bringing to the the horse in your communication not just through your body but what is emanating from your body language. In other words it is very much like voice inflection.
When we speak verbally, there is so much feeling that comes through that we don’t pay attention to. A person’s tone combined with language, completely changes the feel of what you are communicating. For example, when someone had affection in their voice you can hear and feel it. You can also hear and feel frustration, lack of clarity, Joy, impatience, calmness, peace, and firmness.
When we use our body language, it can be heard and felt the same way (with or without voice). Some people think of energy as a vague term but I think whenever we are around any living thing we can sense the energy if we focus in on it.
What I notice a lot is not only vague, scattered, un-grounded, loud, Impatient communication but also Inflection that comes with it. Body language alone does not communicate. It is Body Language combined with Intention and Inflection. When we add Inflection, It gives our communication feel to a horse. We talk about feel a lot in horsemanship but it is mostly referring to the feel of the horse to the person. I think about both. I think about how do I feel to the horse. How am I coming across? How is my Inflection? I want to always offer an inviting feel to my horses. We have to mirror a feel to a horse that we want to get back from the horse. We can not bring jarring, abrupt energy to the horse and expect to get soft, peaceful exchanges of communication.
I worked with a mare in New Zealand. She was a very big Draft cross. She was very sensitive. Surprisingly so. So much that everything felt like “shouting” to her and she had developed some defensive responses because people had been loud with her and she didn’t like it. I immediately saw that if you brought the wrong body language and inflection, that she was going to let you know by challenging you. I brought the softest, lightest, intention, body language, and Inflection I could and listened intently to her communication adjusting accordingly. I let her know we didn’t have to go there if she would listen to me. We came to an understanding which pleased both of us much like a mutually fulfilling conversation with someone where you come to an understanding that makes you both happy.
Even when we hold tools (whips, wands, sticks etc.) , Inflection can be radiated through them from our energy. A tool can send a very precise, clear communication with a very nice feel behind it. Or it can be jarring ,abrupt and loud. I use the words Tai Chi to give people the imagery of how to move their bodies while communicating, with or without a tool as and extension. I also use the imagery of the Rhythmic gymnasts who use the ribbons in their routines. That’s how you should use your arms or whips with or without string. With grace and flow.
I have seen several horses that when approached with certain Language and Inflection were apt to feel confronted and as a result took defensive postures with people. They were merely saying “If your going to speak to me like that, You’re not going to get very far” As would all of us if we were approached that way. In the clinic I showed how we can un-intentionally “offend” our horses and make them feel Confronted which in turn feels dominant which in turn often provokes dominant attitudes (especially in dominant horses). In the New Zealand clinic I did some exercises with people practicing on each other. One person had to be the horse and the other had to be the person. We practiced different Inflections and Body Language. People definitely got it! See if you can see the feel in the Inflection in these picture below. Happy Holidays! http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/
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