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Day 7 – Connection Introduction

Day seven
connection introduction

Today I’d like you to think about the different nervous system states according to Polyvagal theory.

 When you get stressed, do you know what your default state is?

 A. Fight

B. Flight

C. Freeze

When your horse gets stressed, do you know what their default reaction is?

  1. Fight

  2. Flight

  3. Freeze

The next question I’d like you to ask yourself is: 

Do either of us have the tools to de-escalate those states when they are activated?   

Hopefully after going through the Human Factor course, you have a few ideas of how you can utilize Breath, Movement and Touch to help yourself back into a Socially Engaged, relaxed state.   You may not have put any of this into practice yet or maybe you are someone who is very well versed in the methods and it comes as second nature to you now.  No matter, knowing that there are 2 of you in this relationship, you must become aware of how your state influences your horse’s state and as much as possible, come to them in a social engaged state.  

After this course, we are hoping to have given you several tools to help get  your horse to regulate their nervous system.  Once you get through the 4 basic exercises we are willing to bet that there will be some positive changes.  That is why the video library is such a great resource because we will never stop giving you more information on how to integrate this into your training. 

So, before you go out to hang out with your horse again, I’d like you to first do something inside of the practices portion of the Human Factor course  – whether you pick Orienting or Breathwork or even meditating – do this before you present yourself to your horse.   Then, when you are with your horse, do another – with them.  Breathe with them, maybe do the eco-meditation (this is on the Human Factor playlist of the video library) with them.  See if getting yourself into a different state first influences your horse in any way.  

This is where you are invited to just bring your curiosity in, no judgment or expectation, just curiosity if showing up in a different way has any affect on your horse.  

Remember how to navigate this course?  Just click on the topics below under Lesson Content.  Then at the bottom of each topic, there will be a button to move you to the next topic.   If you click on Next Lesson at the bottom of this page without going through all the topics, you will feel lost!  LESSONS = DAYS and the TOPICS = What we want you to learn about that day. 


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Today I sat outside the stable of my beautiful horse who is usually bitey and angry at me when I’m anywhere near his stable. He seemed unsettled for a while, getting hay and then coming back to the door to look at me. It was cold so I was wrapped in my equicoat, reading a book. After about 10 minutes I heard him blow a breath out. I stayed another 20 minutes. I then fed him and there was no anger or bitey behaviour. He seemed very settled. As I quietly left his stable he put his nose to the back of my neck and gently nuzzled me 😳 what the heck happened there? 😭

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) December 30, 2023 at 11:36 am

You didnt buy into his normal bitey energy, and so he got to find peace around you. Great work.

Is it possible to alternate between TWO default states?
My husband has always said I have two ‘sides’.. one side is my rational side, the other my wildly emotional, artistic side…. Each of my two horses mirrored or were complement to one or the other of those ‘sides’

Now I have the mare who gives me wings, and a mule that is mostly unknown so far.

ME… I vacillate between ‘flight’ and ‘fight’…I will step into any conflict I think I might win…. and run when I am certain that winning would take too big a toll on me.

Ruby Jewel (sheza mule) has chosen ‘flight’ since I’ve had her… but today she realized that I won’t punish her for fleeing for a minute or two… That Matching Steps thing really, really helps. And waiting for engagement before Doing A Thing (like, haltering)

Am I on the right track?

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) January 16, 2024 at 4:00 pm

Oh yes, thats what say the flow chart does, is teach you how to respond top them whichever state they may be in at the time

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