What Horse Speak® is, and is not
Horse Speak® can be defined as the practical study and application of precision equine body language. Equine body language is definitely not new. Once diving into Horse Speak®, it becomes obvious that far more precision is possible.
Perhaps the biggest barrier is that people assume incorrectly what Horse Speak® is, and then decide that they know enough already and don't need it. We made that mistake initially, so we understand how easily that happens.
Horse Speak is simple but fundamental. It is said that there are no advanced things, only better basics. Problem is, we humans perceive our baseline tasks as "basics" when they are not at all basics to the horse. Horse Speak® is the way to communicate and create better basics and, therefore, better baselines ... no matter what the discipline, pursuit, or level. Horse Speak® changes everything!!!
Horse Speak® is NOT another rehash or tweak of existing information on the general body language of horses. It is NOT training, and definitely is NOT a method of any kind. It is NOT "animal (telepathic) communication" nor unfounded woo-woo nor is it one person's way of doing things that has to be learned from that person.
Horse Speak® is a total game-changer for us humans because Horse Speak® does NOT require any learning on the part of horses! Horse Speak® is their own language, and is equally well understood by your own horses and by horses you've never even met before.
Horse Speak® has decoded many of the precise micro-gestures, postures, and signals that make up the intrinsic body language of horses, and then shows us how we — as very-differently-shaped beings — can use our own bodies to make gestures, postures, and signals that reliably convey important equine messages in a way that all horses will understand.
How Horse Speak® meshes with and into ANY thoughtful activity with horses
Horse Speak® isn't training; it's the best language you can possibly use to exchange basic thoughts and ideas WITH a horse ABOUT training ... and about negotiating important daily baseline tasks such as haltering, mutual respect of personal space, foot handling, and more.
Horse Speak® also gives humans (bodyworkers particularly) important information FROM horses ... such as what environmental adjustments do they need in order to effectively receive healing ... or more information about where the problem is coming from.
Completely aside from the advantages of better communicating to horses how to do OUR things and receiving information FROM horses to help them feel better, changing our behavior from trying to impose our language on horses to "speaking" in horses' own language has a stunningly profound effect on horses' attitude and wellbeing. It's clear that horses are hugely relieved to know they can get humans to understand them, and that they can clarify what is being asked of them.
How Horse Speak® was developed
Horse Speak® is the result of Sharon Wilsie's groundbreaking work to puzzle out what was missing in her own knowledge of handling and training horses (and riders), and to answer some burning questions of her own. In frustration, Sharon quit her job and spent a full year — first with a team of trained graduate students and later alone — observing and recording every little behavior in a herd of horses all day, and then compiling the data and reviewing video records to discover the common threads and sequences. A number of the individual horse-language actions that Sharon observed and recorded have been used and taught (sometimes out of original context) by many (if not most) trainers and clinicians. However, the full extent of horse body language and what they are talking about to each other all day long has truly escaped humankind ... until now.
Discovering the details and nuances of how horses were communicating to other horses was one thing; figuring out how to reply in "horse" and be reliably understood was another. Approximations were presented to a variety of horses by multiple humans to learn what actually worked. No gesture, posture, or signal was included in Horse Speak® until it was proven to be universally understood — not just by Sharon's horses, but by substantial numbers of other horses she was not acquainted with.
Learning Horse Speak®
There are a variety of resources to learn Horse Speak, from the free and very affordable levels on up to more extensive deep-dive offerings.
Horse Speak® books and the DVD are available from Wilsie Way Horsemanship, Trafalgar Square Books, and of course amazon (if you are not reading this from the US, use your own country's amazon website to order). "Horse Speak" and "Essential Horse Speak" are about the mechanics of Horse Speak®, and "Equines in Translation" is in a true-stories format. We have found all three to be valuable for the task of absorbing this new-to-us language. If you can only afford one now, buy the first book ("Horse Speak") as your basic reference.
In addition to at least one book, we highly recommend as many video resources as you have time for ... because, as a visual language, Horse Speak® is best absorbed into our subconscious from a visual medium. Besides the DVD (available streaming from Trafalgar), there are Horse Speak® videos on YouTube and on the Teachable platform (some free, some for purchase ... and worth every penny). Additionally, membership in the Horse Speak Club includes seeing up to two member video analyses per session (1PM and 7PM ET every Tuesday), access to recordings of all previous sessions, and the opportunity to submit your own video for an interactive analysis.
All of these learning resources (and more, seriously!) can be accessed through sharonwilsie.com: https://sharonwilsie.com/learn-horse-speak/
Sharon and Laura Wilsie have also appeared a number of times to discuss Horse Speak® on Webinars with Wendy, which are available to view free on YouTube.
(1) We receive no benefit of any kind from recommending Horse Speak® other than the knowledge that we are paying it forward.
(2) We are not certified to teach Horse Speak®.
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