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Emotional Fitness is an extremely broad term that encompasses many situations that pertain to life in general, but in this case to horse training. The dynamics of interspecies communications make the concept even more difficult to understand and execute. As the decision-maker in these partnerships, it is up to us to be able to convey our ideas as clearly as possible so that our horses have the best chance at feeling successful and happy with each interaction. Too often the reason we are being misunderstood is that our emotions are clouding the message. The chances of misunderstandings are greatly increased if the horse is also triggered in some way. The interaction has very little chance of being a productive back and forth and a much better chance of being dueling monologues.
Just like any other type of fitness, emotional fitness requires a deliberate and specific training plan that can be implemented as often as possible.
We do not gain emotional fitness by wishing it to be, nor do our horses. Waiting until you get to the barn or arena to work on your emotional fitness is ineffective. A good training program develops daily rituals that can be implemented throughout the day to achieve an outcome. These rituals need to be focused on trouble areas and amendable when goals are achieved and new problems arise.
Humans are unique in that we have the ability to think about our thoughts. When it comes to horse training it is imperative that we take responsibility for what our thoughts are doing to our horses and their emotional state. If things are not going the way we planned, our horse is not giving us a hard time, he is having a hard time. He was likely fine in the pasture happily grazing and playing with his herd mates before we showed up. If we are unable to remain stable in our thoughts and emotions, we will likely have little success helping our horse to better understand the goal and to trust the situation. You might be able to train a “good little soldier” who suppresses his emotions, but there will be no sparkle. That special magic that all horse lovers dream of will be out of reach.
In this manual, you are going to learn how and why your emotional state is so important as well as how to improve your fitness in that area. You are also going to learn to better understand why your horse might be triggered and how to better help him learn to feel safe in novel and confusing situations.
The goal is not to be unemotional. Only psychopaths do that. The goal is to be deliberate with our actions regardless of our emotions and to teach our horses to self-regulate and be more resilient in human situations. Emotions are information that does not need to be resented or suppressed. Emotional fitness can be said to be the ability to not let our emotions dictate our actions. This manual will help you find a path that helps you and your horse do that.
A horse who knows how to regulate his own nervous system is a happy horse. This book is for all horse owners who love their horses and want them to be happy.
You will learn:
- To develop your Personal Awareness and how your thoughts affect your horse.
- How to grow your own emotional fitness.
- How to retrain your brain to be more helpful in training situations.
- To get good at goal setting.
- To better understand why your horse behaves the way he/she does.
- To have more effective strategies to prevent future emotional outbursts.
- How to have more harmony with your horse.
- How to improve your horse’s impulsion and acceptance of novel situations.
- How to more effectively use the arena to better prepare your horse for real-world situations.
- How to develop a training plan that will help you to achieve your horsemanship goals.