Releasing arena anxiety with Neige & starting communication

If you have been following Neige you will know that we have had a couple of sessions trying to find a peaceful connection in the arena. The first time we put on a head collar in the arena she just could not be at peace. She was very high on her thinking levels (7-8) and had to constantly move her feet. The first session was a good 2 hours before we got an acknowledgement that peace was possible, which was where we left it. The next few sessions I did with her slowly started to get to a peaceful place quicker although there was still a lot to release.

This session starts 5 minutes in….and then is when we got a huge release. Lots of yawning out of tension and releasing emotions around being with a human in an arena and just being present. We found the peaceful present moment.

From there we played a little game of ‘relax in the spot’. If she moved I gently put her back a few times. We are not pushing anything at the moment. This is just about keeping focus on ‘us’. It is I suppose a start in communicating that she can be still and peaceful even when I am moving around her, but not doing anything ‘to’ her such as grooming or scratching. All we want is mutual regard of each other, so when we move to do something, we do it together. At about 3min 20sec into the video you will see she puts a lot of focus onto me, and then sidesteps towards me. She is interested now in where this is going. There is curiosity.

At this point I ask her to join me in moving forward, and then a few steps later coming to a stop. We continue with this. If I lose her focus I just use a physical touch to get it back, all the time keeping the connection and communication at a level below 4. After a particular few seconds where her focus went to the grass verge and the herd, I brought her back and we walked forward a little, then did a fairly long dive back into neutral, or the present moment, non-thinking place. All we were saying here is that it is okay to lose focus for a second or two, and it is okay to re-establish the ‘doing’, but more importantly, it is okay to be peaceful with the process.

We then upped the energy a bit more. I did some trotting (she didn’t but thats okay) and we acknowledged the other horses and then we came to a stop and I asked her to bring her thinking levels right back down again. We had a little moment of wanting to move her feet, as though her body was saying that this is what she should be doing, and then she really went into that peaceful place, lowering her head and blinking slowly, coming right down to a thinking level of 2. It was the perfect place to end. She was brilliant and I was very proud of her.

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