Here are a collection of constants that deserve more thought and study.
Whatever the herd is doing, the horse perceives it is most safe if it is mirroring, doing the same thing.
If a horse can make a predator emotional, the predator will lose focus and the horse has a better chance of survival.
Safety and Comfort are needs that must be satisfied to get to Relaxation and Play. You can often go through Food to get there. Use the desire to graze and eat as a barometer of where your horse is in his HON. Use grazing and food (treats, hay, etc) as a way to bring the horse into PSNS.
Horses use approach and retreat with everything. Use this concept to reward and build communication.
Overthinking, dwelling on past mistakes and worrying about the future are sure fire ways to push your horse into SNS/fear.
Emotional triggers are personal. They are very real to the individual, but may seem completely unreasonable to others. If its real to your horse, its real.
Pushing into pressure is hardwired for survival. Yielding, moving away from pressure must be built through timing, communication and trust.
Sights/movement/visual triggers, sounds/auditory triggers, smells/olfactory triggers, tough/tactile triggers, and even energy all have the ability to hold and trigger memories both positive and negative.
Inertia – one tends to continue in a single direction. Interpretation and Response, physical/mental/emotional will all tend to be colored in the same light, Fear/negative/fight/flight/freeze or Love/positive/rest/digest/play/learn/heal.
Use positive hormones/neurotransmitters to build Connection, Relaxation, Trust, Motivation – Oxytocin, Endorphins, Dopamine, Serotonin
Fight solved with Serotonin (mood stabilizer), Flight solved with Oxytocin (love, protect, trust), Freeze solved with Endorphins (overall sense of well-being, pain killer)
Predictability builds Trust and Confidence. Trust and Confidence build Anticipation. Knowing and Getting the Right Answers build more Relaxation and more Confidence.
Someone must always be responsible for the safety of the herd, “driving”. The more the horse is “driving”, the less trust he has in the human to “drive”.
Each horse has a Leadership Quotient. For a harmonious relationship where both individuals get to shine, one only needs to be 1 tick higher than the horse. If one is dramatically higher, horse goes into SNS (fight/flight) then Dorsal Vagal response (freeze/shut down)
Winning is only winning if both horse and human win. If horse loses for you to win, you have gained nothing, you have actually lost the trust and confidence of your horse. Don’t be afraid to change your goal to something more attainable.
Horses may not understand your words, but your feelings are crystal clear. Peace, love, anger, disappointment, fear…