As I began working with horses that had stored a lot of stress in their bodies, I became aware that there were other regulating elements that needed to be taken into account and treated.
In order to begin helping a horse that could be experiencing PTSD, I had to first understand what PTSD was, what caused it to happen, and where it might have originated. This is where the aspect of PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome) was first explored and investigated. I did recognize that it was dependent on the functioning of the brain and that certain elements or even a particular incidence in a person's life opened the door to PTSD after viewing some of the fundamental studies that had been done with individuals. At this point, I thought that I needed to look at a comparison between the human brain and the brain of the horse in order to completely grasp how it would influence the horse. Amazingly, what I discovered throughout that study demonstrated to me how similar and distinct both brains are.
At first, I learned that the typical size of a horse's brain is about equal to that of a huge grapefruit, but the human brain takes up the majority of the available space within the human skull. The second intriguing finding was that any species' capacity to solve any given issue (their cognitive abilities) is closely correlated with the proportion of the brain's size to that of the body in which it is housed. The brain of a horse is around 1/650th the size and weight of a horse, compared to the human brain's close to 1/50th.
The natural next step was to investigate how a horse's brain worked, and it was here that I learned how and why horses think and behave in the manner that they do. Let's start at the beginning. When a horse is born, it must be prepared to live from the time of birth; this is known as being "ready for life." I take it to indicate that during the first hour of life, newborn foals are fully functional and on their feet. As a result, during this stage of their development, their "brain stem," which functions as an integral component of their "reptilian" region of the brain, is in charge of all of their behaviors. This becomes crucial because, as the foal develops and matures, the reptile portion of the brain serves as a repository for new learning. The management of balance and the improvement of eye and head movement efficiency are the key areas of emphasis at this stage of development.
The foal's dependence on intuitive responses and collective choices, rather than independent cognition, increases as it grows and develops. Understanding how the horse's growth pattern develops allows us to classify it as a "sensory/feeling species," since it is their dependence on their senses that secures their survival. This stage of development is likewise regulated by the reptile section of the brain.
A human eventually begins to engage with horses, but before we get too far, we need to look back at the human brain so that we can identify the region of the brain where there is the most friction between the two species.
The "frontal lobe" is the biggest portion of the brain and is the region of the brain where humans are able to communicate, create, reason, organize our life, and in some circumstances multitask. This is why the human species is referred to as a "thinking species." This region of the human brain has grown to be both bigger and more highly developed than the horse's brain, making it the most obvious distinction between the two species' ways of functioning and interacting. The success of any relationship with horses depends on how successfully we, as humans, employ the highly developed part of our brain while working with and around horses.
Horses learn via repetition and the creation of a particular response behavior using connected cues or signals. At this point, the answer you get is entirely up to you, but it's essential to note that most horses have very little control over the surroundings in which they live.
Returning to the subject of this essay will help us realize that horses, in general, who are a little tough to manage, are most likely experiencing some degree of PTSD. Dealing consistently with the current issue then becomes lot simpler once you start to comprehend that you are working with that truth.
Let's start by going over the horse's level of "cognitive" abilities once again. Because they are far lower than ours, we must recognize that no horse is capable of handling stressful events in the same manner that humans do. This is when I personally began to understand how difficult it is for horses to understand our human experiences; this is the fundamental reason why horses do not adapt to change very readily and why they behave the way they do. While studying the horse's cognitive abilities, I came to realize that because horses are continuously aware of their surroundings and what is happening around them, this continual awareness is what causes a large portion of the stress that is stored inside the horse's body.
The cause of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is either experiencing or witnessing a stressful situation, which triggers the release of two hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) and causes an unbalanced condition that makes the horse constantly hypervigilant, distrustful, and, for the most part, unreachable. At this moment, the original circumstance changes from one that is stressful to one that is traumatic. Unprocessed trauma, regardless of what caused it or even when or how it occurred, has a very high likelihood of leaving emotional scars; even if the cause of the traumatic incident cannot be determined, it tends to run deep and, in the process, can cause havoc in both your life and that of your horse.
In order to cure emotional scars in horses, traumatized muscles must be released. This improves muscle tone, which in turn encourages recovery from injury or muscular atrophy. This reduces the pain spiral and promotes detoxification as well as lymphatic drainage by boosting body system drainage. This method of working with horses with PTSD will begin the release of the two "feel good" hormones (Serotonin and Dopamine), which will then begin the process of guiding the horse back to a more balanced state and counteract the effect created by the traumatic situation caused by the previously elevated levels of Adrenaline and Cortisol.
targeting specific spots on the horse's body, whether they be acupressure sites, trigger points, or even the locations of injuries, using our unique essential oil blends, low level light therapy, and trigger points therapy. We have discovered that by "Inviting Change Rather Than Forcing It," the horse's awareness is altered and encouraged to rebalance both physically and emotionally, allowing for deep relaxation that will allow the horse to tap into its own innate healing ability as well as allow the horse to work to its fullest potential.