As horse people, we learn to be sensitive to a horse's body language and energy to understand what he is trying to say. We learn to feel when he is anxious, scared, angry or excited. It's learning to read the subtle things like a twitch in his ears or a swish of his tail. These are all things that we have trained ourselves over the years to pick up on.
So, does that mean that we are more sensitive to nonverbal cues from other people too?
I don't know if it's just me, but I can often feel when someone is annoyed, for example, even though they might be trying their best to hide it. It's their nonverbal energy that seems to be radiating off of them.
It's like when you're at a social event and you walk up to a group of people you know to join in their conversation. They could be all smiles and making light conversation, but somehow you feel like they don't want you to be a part of their group. It could be someone standing slightly in front of you as if to block you out of the group's circle or a short pause after you've said something to take part in their discussion.
This got me thinking, have horse people (and animal people in general) trained themselves to pick up on the subtleties that other people might not see? Sure, sometimes it can be obvious when someone might be saying one thing and feeling another. But it's the little things like looking around the room instead of paying attention to what someone is saying or smiling a forced smile instead of a genuine one. It's like you can feel the tension in the air. And when you leave, it's like a weight is taken off of your chest.
It's in these sorts of situations that I find that some people can be oblivious to and others can see the signs clear as day.
It's these sorts of cases where the instinct of fight or flight seem to kick in. Usually, all you want to do is leave the situation all together, but sometimes you can't. So, sometimes you need to fight through it, act like it doesn't bother you and pretend like nothing is going on. Other times, I can feel myself shutting down and simply not wanting to work through it.
I'd love to know what all of you think about this topic. Are you sensitive to subtle nonverbal cues too? Do you think it might have to do with the way we train ourselves to be sensitive around horses?
Until next time, happy riding!