“Focus your attention on the area of the heart... and say yes if you find horses there!” - Christina Marz
Does your horse greet you his way or your way?
I teach Healing with Horses and once my students have learned to do nothing with their horses, they introduce a new greeting. We also do this greeting ceremony with every client in our therapeutic sessions. It sets the tone for the session, it creates connection and is also a moment of diagnosis for the facilitator. We get to observe how the client makes contact, how he manages his energy, if he is outgoing or introverted, demanding or respectful, self-secure or shy. You would be surprised how many details we can actually collect during the greeting of the herd, especially if we know our horses well and become aware of patterns.
But you will be doing this activity for yourself and your own relationship with the herd, so there is much less you need to know about it. In session, the client chooses his individual approach of greeting each horse, making contact, and then moving on.
You will do it in a specific way for better results.
The key point is that horses do not approach each other in straight lines, unless they are attacking. They do not stare at each other, predators do that. And they do not lift their heads (even less their arms) unless they are alert.
You will copy that: Approach each horse in a normal gait, but keep your head down, in a relaxed way. Look at the ground, find flowers, walk on a wiggly line, and stop about 2m away from the horse. Do not lift your hand to pet the horse on the head. Extend your hands in front of you, and bend down just a little.
If the horse looks at you, approach him one more step and wait. Stand still, be less needy, breathe, bend a leg, relax, and then walk away.
If the horse approaches you, stay and let him sniff your hands. Do not pet him, stand still, breathe, bend a leg, relax, and walk away.
If he ignores you, wait a moment. Maybe he needs time to find the courage (or motivation) to look at you.
If the horse walks away, walk away too in a big circle, and approach again after a short while. Repeat the activity, but keep a little more distance this time.
It is absolutely fine if the horse does NOT come over to check you out. Looking at you, and going back to grazing is very healthy for a horse.
Give him the chance to acknowledge your presence in a relaxed way, and be happy with that. This is exactly what creates the shift in your relationship:
“Accept your horse as he is and ask him to become part of his world instead of dragging him into your world.” - Christina Marz
My horse walks away calmly, he never sniffs my hands or gets close.
I guess you are also having trouble at the catching game? Stay in a distance that does not motivate him to walk away, stay for a while, pick flowers, mentally invite your horse to connect* then leave. Do this for several occasions. Then bring a carrot, and offer it to the horse before you walk away. If he takes it, DO NOT halter him, but bend down and greet him with open palms, then walk away.
* yes, you did read that correctly. Think something along the line of “I want to greet you. You are free to acknowledge me your way”.
In sessions, we tell our clients that “seeing you and walking away” is a greeting too. It means that right now, your energy and that one of the horses is not a match for closeness. Which is fine! We all should have an opinion about who we want to come closer to and who we don´t?
Ultimately, this activity will tell your horse that you are respectful. If he is OK with you at a distance, you will not push it. You will respect that. That will increase his trust and he will tolerate you at a closer distance. This activity also invites extremely shy, abused or even terrified horses to connect to you. I personally do this activity a lot and respect the answer whenever possible. I have 7 horses, so if someone does not want me close, I can always work with another.
When I do need something from a specific horse (such as haltering for treatment), I communicate that as well and stay firm. “No” is not an option in that case. I look at it as I would look at a child who refuses to brush his teeth. Not your choice, buddy!
In my experience, that kind of firmness will seal the deal.
No yelling, pushing, roping, cornering, or other aggressive techniques needed.
Intrigued and interested to learn more? Thank you. I was waiting for you to say that. I´ve written a comprehensive guide for this and a couple of other activities that will deepen your relationship with horses. Please fill in the form and I´ll send it to you for free.
Now, off you go to greet your herd in a different way.
I can’t wait to hear your success story. Please send me pictures, I might hire your herd into our program and facilitate a Horse Guided Empowerment® workshop with them!
With care, Christina
Enjoy living your dreams.
"Hello there, nice to meet you! I am your mentor for making dreams come true. Raised in Germany, I moved to the Andes of Ecuador 20 years ago. I am an independent entrepreneur and homeschool Mom of 3 awesome boys. I am driven by curiosity and passion, and I am inspired by calm connectedness. My name is Christina Marz, founder of MarzMethod, Horse Guided Empowerment®, and the Sin Miedo© Foundation."
My early years were no walk in the park but luckily, horses helped me gain assertive calmness and today I am living my dreams all the way. Let me guide you to find and achieve yours! Talk soon, Christina