Never hide your feelings

Never hide your feelings

Do not let the horse know that you are scared” Have you ever heard that saying?

I know from my own experience that I have heard it said out loud by others several times, but I never realised how wrong this statement actually is. Either way it became obvious to me after I became acquainted with Linda Kohanov and what she calls emotional incongruity.

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Emotional incongruity – what is that?
As human beings we often have an idea of which feelings are acceptable and which are not. Feelings such as anger, frustration and sadness are often considered as negative and something you need to suppress. Among other human beings we can often succeed in hiding these emotions or maybe the other person will just pretend they did not see it was right there in you. The problem often does not arise until we are with our horses.

Emotional incongruity means that you are not honest about your feelings so to say. It means that you feel one way, but try to convince yourself and others that you actually feel otherwise. It could be that you are actually really scared, but you try to act like you are all cool and without any worries. In this case, seen from the horse’s perspective, your body language and behaviour will not be in sync with your inner feelings.

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Why is this a problem when we are among horses?
As you all know horses are prey animals and their lives are very much depending on their ability to sense their predators state of mind. They depend on their ability to sense the presence of the predator. They depend on their ability to sense whether the predator is up for a hunt or if he is just casually walking by. This is also the reason why emotional incongruity is a problem when we are among horses and act different from how we feel.

” A person who is ’emotionally incongruent’ who acts one way while feeling the opposite,
appears dangerously out of focus to the equine awareness system”

– Linda Kohanov

Suppressing our inner feelings appear untrustworthy and unsafe for the horse because they sense one thing and see another. They can not sense what we are up to because we are in an inner conflict of feeling sad, angry or frustrated, but at the same time tries to manage a smile and a happy attitude. If you on the other hand feel scared the only thing you will have to make your horse comfortable in your presence is to acknowledge the feeling. Your horse will not mind if what you are feeling is happiness, sadness or frustration as long as you are honest about it and does not try to act otherwise. In the mind of horses there are no such thing as positive and negative emotions. All feelings or emotions are allowed and accepted. Therefore you should never worry that your horse would not be with you just because you are sad as long as you don’t try to hide it. It is much more likely that he will walk away if you are really sad, but tries to pretend to him that you are not.

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Another saying is that “the horse can smell your fear” and from what all that is written above this is more or less true. It is not a smell though, but much more subtle signals and energies the horses can sense, but the saying somewhat gives you the idea of the concept.

I personally found this knowledge to be a huge gift in my togetherness and training with horses. From the moment you acknowledge the sensitivity of your horse’s senses you will also soon realise that this is not only good knowledge, but also something you can use consciously in your training. Be honest to your horse. Let him know how you feel no matter the feeling. He will know if you are not honest with him and it will make him uncomfortable and insecure to be with you if you are not sincere in your presence.

My advice to you to day is to be honest. Especially with your horse. Do not hide anything from him – he will notice for sure. He will be thankful, calm and supportive if you tell him what is bothering you. He will not abandon you just because you are not jumping around and singing happy songs!

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Please feel free to share this post with your friends or likeminded people! 



13 thoughts on “Never hide your feelings”

  • Sophie, you and your horses are so adorable! Can you help me with advice: should I show my fear to my horse if I am worried? As you suggest it should be so but I’m not really sure that I’ve understood you correctly
    Thanks a lot for your blogposts. They are great!

    • Oh thank you so much! That is exactly what I would advice you to do, yes. Even if you try to hide it he will sense that something is wrong and that will make him even more unsure than if you honestly tell him how you feel. When we lie (or tries to act different from how we feel) our blood pressure will rise and the horses senses that immediately. Therefore it will also be better for yourself to be honest because that will allow you to relax instead 🙂

  • Fint skrevet Sophie. Igår følte jeg pludselig jeg sku ride Harlekin kun i rebgrime og et tov efter en lang leg fra jorden hvor han havde været gnaven (ferie og så syg sp væk 11 dage, så fik et par bid skældud over fravær) Hans reaktion var straks at samle sig vildt – sænke sig helt i haserne og han lagde an til at vise mig alt muligt. I en helt fri verden var han mere af alting than ever. Han var ved at eksplodere af energi. Han lagde an til SÅ Meget mere… Galop, løftede fødderne og så… blev jeg bange. Det var så ærgeligt. Jeg undskyldte meget overfor ham, men jeg sagde jeg synes han var som at sidde på dynamit og at jeg ik har modet til det endnu og er bange for at falde af den begejstring. Jeg tror han synes det var så fedt at han næsten var ved at gå til og ku ha bukket og stejlet i bar begejstring. Eller også ville han bare have vist mig sit vildeste smukke jeg.

    Ærger mig jeg ik har modet. Men han accepterede det og gik i en smuk trav og standsede foran døren til ridehuset. Jeg hoppede af, takkede ham forsøgte at have en føle samtale med ham. Jeg er glad, næj hvor dygtig han var at han viste mig så mange seje ting (ae, kramme, smile, grine min følelse). Prruu han var meget enig, men også lidt forvirret (nikke, ører, fremme til siden, blik, smask, pegen rundt, spørgende.) Hvad blev jeg mon bange for? Svært at sige til ham… dig, når jeg bagefter kan se på ham han jo bare vil vise mig ALT. (Vrikke med kroppen, spænde lidt, smile, hånd på hjerte, føle et billede af om jeg kunne sidde fast, ae mere) Jeg ska bare turde dig, men jeg synes det er dejligt du vil vise mig alt… prruuh, stpr stadig lidt uklart for mig, men det var da meget sjovt…(smaske lidt, kigge igen, sænke hovedet, ører fremme, men vendt mod mig, pegen hoveddæren) jaaa… Harlekin.

    Lyder skørt, men hvordan forklarer man det utrolig mærkelig forsøg på dialog der er. Kan kun sige at når den helt store kugle rammer en for første gang, som Linda beskriver, så ved man at man skal forsøge. Det er en verden af følelser i en let tåge…

  • Hello Sophie! First of all, your website is amazing and really inspiring. And i want to ask if you have a blogpost about HOW you started this amazing work with your horses? I want me and my horse to be in harmony and work with trust, not fear. I don’t want him to run away to the door while trying to do groundwork. I want him to be happy and feel free. I don’t know how to make these happen, hoping that you can help me…
    Best wishes

    • Hello Ashley. Thank you so much for your comment and kind words. I am so happy you stopped by! I have been looking through my old posts and actually I don’t think I have a post that exactly matches your wishes… Maybe you will be able to find some answers in my ‘Who is behind?’ post from January 2016. Otherwise I can only advice you to look through some of my posts containing all my thoughts and considerations on the training of horses. There you might be able to find some inspiration! 🙂

      I hope you find what you need! If not then please write to me again.

      Best wishes from Sophie

  • Thank you, and i’m already following you on instagram and facebook. You really are great inspiration to me and many more of us. I just don’t have any idea what to do when i untie my horse. He just stands there or walks to the door of the arena and stands there. And i will check that post out right away. I would be very happy if you write the very first steps to this amazing path full of happiness and trust. Thank you for sharing your work with us! It’s helping me so much already. Love, Ashley. 🙂

    • I am so honoured by your words. Thank you once again! I am very happy to hear that you keep up with us on Facebook and Instragram too – that is great. Hopefully you will get something out of the post. Otherwise I will be available for further questions at any time! Also I will look into your idea of writing down the beginning of all of this. I am not sure that would be an easy task though 😉 Greetings from me!

  • Tusinde tak❤
    Da jeg var mindre, gik jeg til ridning på almindelige rideskoler og jeg lærte, at det var vigtigt ikke at vise hesten at du var bange.
    Nu har jeg købt mig den skønneste, smukkeste, stærkeste islænder vallak, som faktisk minder lidt om Torrin i hans måde at være på😊❤
    Og Hrafn ser lige igennem mig, så nu er jeg begyndt at fortælle ham hvorfor jeg opføre mig som jeg gør, eller hvad jeg føler og det virker så godt.
    Det var dog ret svært for mig i starten at slippe kontrollen og sænke paraden men jeg øver mig hver dag og Hrafn er en fantastisk læremester og et spejl af mig ❤
    Jeg elsker at læse dine blogindlæg.
    Da så meget at det du skriver sætter ord på situationen jeg var været i eller står i, jeg lære så meget godt af dig.
    Tak for dig❤

    • Tusind tak for din søde besked, Amalie. Hvor er du heldig, at du har fået sådan en vis læremester, som kan hjælpe dig med at være ærlig og modig nok til at være den du er. Desuden er jeg virkelig glad for, at du har fundet læring, støtte og inspiration i mine skriverier.

      Netop beskeder som denne gør det så meget værd at sætte ord på mine tanker og følelser, og offentliggøre dem her på min side! Jeg er dybt beæret over din støtte og fine tilbagemelding. TAK!

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