Self-Improvement Through Working With Horses


Each of us has what I like to refer to as a pressure threshold, or the amount of “stuff” before we give up, flee, or get into an argument with someone who just so happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong moment (that freeze, flee or fight mentality). But why do some people have greater capacity than others? It all depends on our past encounters and how we were exposed to the circumstances in our lives.

Working With Horses
Working With Horses

In fact, there is a direct correlation between who exposed us to these situations (parents, teachers, etc.), how much commitment we naturally have (some refer to this as the stubborn part of our personality), the mindset we employ in a given situation, and how much pressure we can withstand, or what is known as our pressure threshold.

When you are faced with a scenario, you will react in line with the pressure that was put on you by what has already happened to you, which in turn “programmed” you in a way. Therefore, anytime you encounter a scenario, it is the pressure brought on by the circumstance—not the issue itself—that causes you to return to your “trained” behavior. If the tyrant attitude was used, the pressure was employed negatively, hence it might be a conscious or unconscious reaction.

When working with horses, pressure is applied constructively by adopting an alpha mindset. When engaging with someone who has a “dedicated” mentality, the pressure put on them by their experiences had to be so great that the pain from those experiences was so deeply embedded that it very well may have been disempowering, lowering our pressure threshold. As a result, when that person works with a horse in a round pen, the pressure brought on by the discrepancy between what they see and what the horse is actually doing causes them to adopt a tyrannical mindset (which in this case is not beneficial to their well-being.) One must increase the pressure in order to remind them of their past experiences in order to assist them in breaking this habit.

Because of how overwhelming this can be, they have the propensity to overreact to what is happening; given the severity of the trauma caused by the past, they are likely to be unable to comprehend the logic behind the pressure being placed at the time. They won’t comprehend how pressure is employed in the alpha mindset until more pressure is being applied in the round pen at that particular time than they have previously encountered.

Many people find it challenging to want to go that path. It requires bringing up the past, and unless the pressure in their current situation is sufficiently high, they won’t be motivated to make a change due to the intensity of the prior pressure. Everything comes back to survival.

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