Well, that's not completely true.
I totally got how the mind impacts on the body. A nervous horse will carry themselves with tension, often spook etc. A happy horse goes ahead with a relaxed frame.
Much of my work over the years with Carmen has been to get her mind relaxed so her body would follow.
More recently I've come to realize that horses don't have a sense of their mind and body as being separate entities. I believe that for them, it's a chicken-egg thing. If their body is relaxed then so is their mind and vice versa.
Not that this is my own discovery. I've been listening to much more learned horse persons than me (Karen Rohlf, Warwick Schiller, Tristan Tucker etc) as well as my own experimentation.
I think that this is true for all horses but really evident with reactive ones. I think that his true for peoples well. Like when we wake up cranky- it's easy to find things that give legitimacy to those feelings. Even though, on another day, these things wouldn't bother us at all.
For Carmen, I think she often felt off-balance and that made her feel uncertain and running away seems to be the right answer. My fearful and defensive response did not help this at all.
With this theory, I have been helping Carmen to find postures of relaxation as a path to get her mind to settle. It is interesting to see it work. If I can help her balance herself, she feels more comfortable and is more relaxed.
When Carmen is unbalanced (physically or mentally) she becomes tight and impossible to bend. Her hind legs go out behind and she disconnects from her front end- which is often resembling a giraffe and not a graceful steed.
|all of that pictured here from way back|
I find that helping her to bring her hind legs out and not allowing her to fling her head up. I struggle with the not letting her fling her head because it feels like I'm wrestling her onto the bit when that is not my intent. The trick, I find, is to release a rein so that there is a place to go. The other key is to not let myself tense as well.