Horsey Therapist

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Comfort Zone

My friend is wondering about her horse's comfort zone.

The more I pay attention to my horse's comfort zone, and stay within it, the better my ride today, and the better my ride tomorrow.

I'm thinking about my human relationships, too. There are some things required of me to be actively involved in a conscious marriage. One of those things is to know myself and to progressively know my spouse. One of those things to know about each of us is the parameters of our comfort zones.

And the variations of those parameters based on other stressors currently active.

So, one day life in general may feel calm and stable, and my comfort zone may be larger than a day when the car breaks down, the cows go on a walkabout, the fox gets my favorite hen... When other emotions in my life use up some of my moment's energetic and emotional and mental resources, my comfort zone shrinks. I have less attention and physical resources to deal with the requirements of stretching myself. My energies are needed for healing or dealing, some more contracted focus, not for expanding and trying new things, venturing into the unfamiliar.

I've been told by many trusted and wiser horsepeople to establish some communication habits and movement patterns with my horse in a calm, predictable setting. Once we both know we know how to do a few fun and relaxing things together, then head out to situations where more random events may occur.

Like preparing for a trail ride. My horse and I need confidence about our communication -- communicating about moving, stopping, turning left, turning right, bringing life up, dialing life down, all with mental availability and consequent softness through the whole body.

The learning process for those few things (FEW? Ha ha ha!), happens as a dance of tentative attempts with feedback about success or good try and try again, there that's more like it, thanks... Which, if I'm in my right mind, is how I will communicate when something less controllable occurs in a new setting to disturb our mutual focus and joint efforts to do something, go someplace...


At 19 October, 2006 20:22, Blogger ZinniaZ said...

Ah now this is helpful. I thought, sensed, imagined that staying IN the comfort zone might be the Right Thing. (That is, after I discovered being outside it was so stress inducing) I thought expanding our horizons was healthy and logical and good so tried. But AFTER that effort, I thought that expansion had been useless. Will got nothing out of it. I got not too much-- maybe an idea of what to expect from my horse when he is stressed. It was not an expansion of the comfort zone. It was just stress. It seems that I need to stay in a comfortable place and form a history of comfort and THEN step outside and see where we are.

I think I am rambling a little incoherently but I appreciate your post and I think I will stick with a more comfortable plan for my horse...

At 19 October, 2006 20:30, Blogger LJB said...

They tell us that we learn only when we are in a calm, learning frame of mind. I think of that as within the comfort zone. Your ramblings are coherent to me. But who knows if that's a worthwhile measure or not!

There is room within a comfort zone for expansion and change. Outside the comfort zone there is, as you said, stress. I suspect some specific neurochemicals are released that definitely interfere with a learning frame of mind. Like adrenaline and cortisol.

If however learning is happening all the time, then perhaps what a horse is learning when we take them outside their comfort zone, is that we are not good judges of what is right for them. A whole 'nother ball of wax!

Speaking from experience, unfortunately...

At 20 October, 2006 00:38, Blogger BL said...

Love the pics, L! helps me feel like I'm visiting you. We're way outside our comfort zone this week...this too will...hopefully.


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