Coming back to calm
💞💔💥 Visceral experiences, bodily sensations and gut reactions. Penny and I faced our nemesis, gas powered crop guns, recently, and survived. The event reminded me of the following: 🦄 Peter A. Levine developed "somatic experiencing ®️" as a trauma therapy for people. It involves integrating bodily sensations as part of the recovery process. Very sensible. After any kind of fright we will experience bodily sensations to do with the stress response we just had or are still having and our horses are unlikely to be any different. Being able to handle them helps us to feel safer more quickly and makes us more confident. In the first picture Penny has startled at some cattle that she can hear but not see over the hedge. In the second, she is her normal, not startled self. To help her regain her wits, and normal bodily sensation post spook, and let's face it, me too! We have a a little routine: I relax my bum cheeks and leg muscles (elegant I know!), then I rub her or feed her before carrying on. During the carrying on phase I maintain relaxed, but classically correct posture in the saddle (thanks to Heather Moffett for a saddle I can easily do that in) and allow Penny to move freely and let go of tension. This also allows me space to stop shaking (I admit, the crow shooter did have my legs quivering). Rhythm restored, harmony restored, nerves restored. We've practised a lot over the years, which helped us with the crow shooter - 18 years ago Penny freaked out at a new scarecrow crow shooter combination and I fell on my head (had a helmet on thank goodness). I have startled at them ever since, Penny also. But since learning that recovery is in the body as well as the mind, our routine has kept us safe and we are both braver than we were. When I help horses and people with fear, I aim to help each in body and mind.