Did I say that? Communicating intentionally to horses.

As I entered the office of a friend the other day, I interrupted him as he was dictating into his computer. We’d chit chatted and swapping a few stories, before he realized he’d forgotten to turn off the dictation feature. It was awkwardly funny to hear him read back our conversation from his screen, word for word. Random, rambling thoughts, recorded in black and white.

I think I’m more intentional about the signals I send to the horses I ride than the words I speak in casual human conversations.  I often ask clinic participants to describe exactly what aid they use to request a leg yield, left lead canter, to raise or lower the neck or to shorten the stride. Specific techniques may vary but if we can’t put it into words do we really have a plan?

I’m fascinated by the equine research done at universities all over the world to improve horse welfare and horse-human interactions. With high tech equipment, it’s possible to measure the messages horses are receiving from riders and tack as well as horses’ responses to various situations.

Would we ride any differently if we knew our aids were being measured by sensors? Or speak any differently to one another (or about one another) if our words were recorded? It might even make for more gracious conversation in the barn aisle or the horse show bleachers!

 “Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but the unwise are swallowed up by their own lips.” Ecclesiastes. The Bible