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#7: What Does Being Present with Your Horse Look Like?

I just found this video of Henley after she had just gotten done showing at the Young Horse Show Finals. There is an obvious and genuine affection between her and Shawna.
Watch Henley's soft eyes and expression. Look at how many times Henley is blinking. She nuzzles Shawna up and down as an obvious sign of fondness for her. 
Shawna didn't know I was videoing them so her words are genuine and Henley knows this. Our words, our tone matter so much to them.
Have you noticed how excited your dog gets when you speak sweetly to them? It's not different for horses. They just show it differently and more subtly. We have to pay really close attention to their language to truly understand what they're saying. 
At clinics, Shawna and I started to recognize a correlation between multiple soft blinks and seeming affection when we were working with and feeding horses. Even after the session was over, horses would often stick close and continue this behavior as perhaps a gesture of gratitude. 
Listen to Shawna's words to Henley. You can tell Henley doesn't need to understand human language to get what she is saying.
There is mutual closeness there that doesn't have a thing to do with Shawna demanding respect. Shawna has never once displaced her, used a carrot stick or rope halter on her. Yet Henley is completely thrilled to do most anything we ask of her. 
We use operant conditioning to get to classic conditioning to create this bond. In other words, there is now a visceral response for Henley when Shawna is present.
As we have been saying the last few months, you cannot pull the two apart. The emotional state, the seeking system, etc are working together.
Now, can this work against you if not done properly? It sure can! Just like any training, positive reinforcement can be done poorly. 
Henley's experiences when Shawna is around have created good feelings for her. Henley has therefore made an unconscious association that tells her to expect nothing but good things from their interactions. 
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