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a language she could understand while she was in fight mode. Once the language was established I could begin to work on thresholds. I had the impression that Fergie had a past of being forced through situations where she had no choice so it was important for me to understand her thresholds and to be aware of how I would work in and out of them. For example she had a certain point in the

Coach Tibor trotting at liberty.

translated this clarity into working with her own horse outside of the coaching work. The relationship was very different. Tibor’s “affectionate” behavior was something that Lisa really enjoyed and cultivated however, it lacked boundaries—the awareness of how close he could get to her while she maintained the leadership role. His behavior continued when she worked with him both on the ground and under saddle. In watching Lisa work with Tibor there wasn’t much clarity at all in her boundary setting; in fact there were many mixed signals. This is something that I often see with adult amateurs. These riders really want to have a close relationship with their horse however, somewhere in their internal wiring they feel that if they set boundaries the horse won’t ‘like’ them. In order for Lisa and Tibor to progress she had to realize what part she was playing in her partnership with Tibor that resulted in more work for her and lower performance for him. Boundaries are not only a

performance issue; they can become a safety issue. When a dominant horse’s behavior

driveway where she would have a complete meltdown. I could feel in my stomach when we were getting near a new threshold which enabled me to turn her around just before she could explode. Each day we could progress just a little further beyond this threshold until it was no longer an issue. As Fergie continued to gain confidence in me within

this consistent work and environment I was able to further develop the language required under saddle. She eventually allowed me to do tactile work with her so she could be reminded that she was to yield to pressure not lean on it when applied to various parts of her body. This was preparation work for Fergie because an Equine Coach needs to understand the same language; however during coaching the most critical language is expressed through subtle cues and shifts in the energy of the human both on the rope and at liberty.

Tibor and Lisa

A nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood, Tibor was a very friendly horse from the beginning. While Lisa is very clear and ‘in her power’ with the Equine Coaches, it was interesting to see how she

48 January/February 2010

isn’t met with appropriate leadership it can escalate into more aggressive acts such as biting or kicking. Therefore, we began working on this issue by simply cleaning up her interactions with Tibor on the ground. Although Lisa was going through the physical steps to create the boundary, inside she really wanted him to come to her. Horses, which have much more sophisticated sensory systems than humans, can feel the mismatch of intention and will

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