Sharon Wilsie- Horse Speak®
Equine Assisted Learning Educator- Specializing in Learning-Disabled Kids
Developed EAL Programs for schools, psychiatric hospitals and therapists.
Specialize in working with rehabilitation of horses at rescue facilities.
Sharon took a year off work and lived among her herd- recording the micro-gestures, postures and signals. She used these data to decode the horse's native language. She calls her work Horse Speak®.
No matter what the discipline or training technique, improved communication between horse and human makes EVERY task easier.
It is important to note that Horse Speak does not challenge or replace "your way of doing things", nor does it take years of practice to begin to see real world benefits.
Sharon has made her work accessible to anyone who wants to better communication with their horse through her books, Horse Speak and Horses in Translation.
What is Horse Speak®?
Horse Speak is literally the language system of the horse based on their own set of micromovements, systems and rules.
Horse Speak teaches people how to "listen" and "talk" to horses using our body language
Instead of trying to teach horses how to speak and understand "People", we can now use "Horse".
The best part is that
horses don't need to learn Horse Speak-
they already know it.
Horse Speak® vs. Training
In the past we have used training as a way to communicate, and it has never worked. The "talking back and forth" is the missing piece of the puzzle.
Horse Speak uses the horse's native language to speak to them instead of expecting, or demanding, that they understand ours.
Horse Speak enables us to support the horse through any task in any discipline.
Training is teaching a specific cue to the horse and, through repeated patterns, expecting the horse to remember the answer to that cue and deliver the desired behavior.
When training a horse, you are shaping and molding the behaviors that you want.
Horse Speak® Decoded
It took time after Sharon had learned the postures, gestures and signals of the horse to figure out how the human could communicate back.
"As humans we make so many random movements around horses that they can be at a loss trying to understand us."
Sharon- Horse Speak
Learning to Listen
By watching what horses do and when they do it, Sharon was able to piece together a cohesive system of communication.
Imitate the horse's language system back to them. Here they are using the Greeting Button to say "hi".
Decode what the horse is saying. Answer the horse's most pressing questions. Send a clear message of leadership from the first encounter and approach.
Offer security and enrichment. Build a relationship.
What are the Benefits of Horse Speak®?
Understanding what it is that they most often talk about, and why.
Understanding the importance of building Rapport, and how it helps instill Trust, Confidence and Safety.
Understanding how horses communicate in micro-gestures and be able to both "see" and "understand" them.
Understanding the horse's world view, enabling them to focus on us instead of the many distractions that surround them.
Horses, indeed all animals, prefer to feel calm.
When horses fell calmer, they tend to remain in more of an "O Posture".
Horse Speak calls this inner calm "Zero". Finding Zero helps deepen connection and rapport between you and your horse.
O & X Postures
Energy / Intensity
Bubbles of Personal Space
The bubble of personal space is more important to a horse than nearly anything else.
If their bubble is encroached upon, they begin to worry that it might be more difficult to escape from danger.
Establishing "My Space, Your Space" is a crucial element of helping horses feel relaxed, comfortable and trusting in your leadership.
15 Buttons of Horse Speak®
The 15 Buttons of Horse Speak are interactive areas on the body that horses use for communication.
They have specific emotional and physical meanings
They combine with gestures, postures and signals for communication
They help horses express precise intentions, emotions, wants, needs, fears, protection, support and nurturing
They play a role in conflict resolution
What Horses Value
The things horses value all contribute to their ability to survive in the wild: Resources, Comfort, Protection, Safety, Clarity & Connection.
Which of these a particular horse values first, second, third, etc. depends on that horse's Energy Type, life experience and specific situation.
Determining which of these valuable things a horse is seeking in a given situation allows us to respond with the most appropriate Postures, Gestures and Signals to increase the quality of the connection.
These two are seeking Connection and Protection.
For an Over-Excited Horse:
Clearly define your Bubble of Personal S pace and remind the horse as needed.
Stand or walk in a "Lo-O" posture with palms down, breathing deeply. The signals to the horse that you want him to lower the energy as well.
Offer a "Hold Hand" to tell him you've got his back.
Aim a Sentry Point and Breath simultaneously with the Hold Hand, or separately towards the area of concern. Match your level of intensity wit their level of worry.
The Goal is Rapport
When horses feel understood, many of their usual concerns melt away.
If Rapport is your goal, then everything else you do with your horse is that much sweeter.