Equine Immersion Program
Equine Immersion Programs (EIP) empowers service members and those who support them to experience the quality of life they seek and deserve. EIP used the money that they received create a new EIP program (along with Brenda Ladd) at the Ladd Farm in Bridgewater NH. Kathy Roth, US Army Lt Col, Ret. was one of the participants in this new program and she submitted the following…
“I’ve always been interested in animal-human communication. It’s a fascinating, multifaceted topic. Much has been written on human-dog/cat communication; not so much for human-horse communication.
Recently, I had a opportunity to experience meditation along side horses. BTW, I’ve never been able to meditate by myself – mind too busy, too cluttered. But, that weekend as I stood next to Diego, sometimes touching him – sometimes not, I came to realize that we were communicating in a way that brought not only mutual peace but also common understanding.
The “feel” of these meditation moments have stayed with me ever since. As a result, I have come to “know” a few things about myself and how I can relate to horses.
I think there is a parallel experience to be had with veterans. Like horses, some of us are distrusting of human contact. We don’t easily trust anymore and we figuratively turn away, as with the horse, to wait, to sense, to know if it’s ok to turn back. However, when it’s safe and there is trust, we turn back in, as with the horse, to say “ok I’m safe and I want to connect”. Much of this communication is accomplished through facial expressions and with the right words. For the horse, it’s a feel of of the human and in the case of the human – it’s a feel for the horse. When that communication is truly connected – it’s mutual, it’s calming, it’s magical.
Here are some interesting pieces of research and practitioner articles that address horse-human communication. I found each one informative and definitely contributing to my fuller understanding of having a sound relationship with a horse. Please note the empirical work that has been done in the area of facial recognition and the horse interpretation (or perhaps translation) of the human’s state of mind. Further, note in one study where the horses’s ability to “remember” their human’s state of mind on their next meeting. I believe this has implications for everyone in being the best mind set when working with our horse but also understanding what positive impact the “right” facial expressions and voice tone can have on both you and our horse.
This may be of import to veterans, as well. Our attitude and mindset as we experience horses as part of equine related programs, is a critical aspect of having a meaningful encounter with these wonderful animals. Meditating with horses may be a huge step forward for us who are working on resetting our emotional Gestalt switch.
Thank you Brenda Ladd and your staff for introducing this concept in the EIP encounters at your farm. Thank you EIP Geraldine Duncan for incorporating meditation into your program curriculum as it has made a difference in me.”