Cohesion, Synchrony, Swarm Intelligence, and Hierarchy – Group-Structure and Dynamics in Horse Bands


Social animals live in groups, that include horses, as well as dogs and humans. So what do these group structures look like? How are they organized? What principles do they follow? Humans have for a long time wanted to see and prove hierarchy structures in other species, besides our own, but are hierarchies really there, in the way many of us think of them? If they are, what purpose are they then serving? Or are they just a misunderstanding from our side? First of all, I think we mix things up. Other animals, besides humans, are living, spending their lives in different kinds of groups. That i...

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Why do you feel a need to calm someone else down? Why is important to you that “the other” do not harbor and show strong emotions?

Where do your need of fixing come from?

I watch beings. I am not good at understanding dynamics when I am in the middle of them, but I am a good observer and a reflective person, so here I am going to share some stuff with you that I think is super important. Actually, some of the more important stuff I have said lately.

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The Imitation Game – Part 2


The Imitation Game is a Perception Game…

(And bear with me... this is about horses - and horse-human interaction, too.... I am stumbleing around about in this post - the text is not crystal clear - yet - I wanted to share it - something is forming in me, about the importance of embodiment, the shared nature of perception, how we form our beliefs as humans - how horses can help us see this - by being them.)

The imitation I talk about here has nothing to do with copying or imitating for its own sake. Imitation is an important way to, and of learning. You find imitation (of various kind; mimicking, mirroring, emulation, “true” imitation, teaching, schooling/herd/group behavior) in social learning, in language learning, in so called situated learning – as e.g. in apprenticeship models, etc. Imitation is also an important tool when to getting to know someone (as in the chameleon effect – which is about creating/ “achieving” liking each other – and in creating a common ground of understanding and communicating with each other – creating social contracts). Imitation is so much more than copying – and play a big role in all mammals’ development and growth into adults, but also in adult life. It is a corner stone of how we interact with each other, albeit often imitation is not conscious, it can be looked at, made conscious, and experimented with.

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The Imitation Game...

The Imitation Game

During our EiT/L training in Kent a week ago – I was privileged to see something I knew existed – but never before so obviously have presented itself before my eyes – when I had a camera in my hand and was in an observing role. Now I had the opportunity to see the whole interaction play out and take photos of it. It felt like someone had given me a precious gift! I was watching a horse during those moments she understood a human was imitating her. It was fascinating to follow the exchange of communication between them. How the horse first wondered what was going on, then had the though (a hypo...

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Where are you?

How many Attachment systems do we have? Bowlby's Attachment theory outlines one Attachment system, with variations on how we attach dependent on how well the relationship between the mother (primary caretaker) and infant functions and develops. Then I started to read Trevarthen and his work with infants and mothers (primary caretakers) – and how he sees our human development in our attachment systems as distinctly 2-folded with one system for: 1. Care, protection, and nurturance And another for: 2. Companionship, play, exploration, socialization (social learning/creativity/taking part in cultu...

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Horses, emotions and feelings…


Or – can human feelings be dangerous to horses? In my experience horses have no problems when people are coming to them with strong emotions or feelings. That is, as long as the person is owning her own emotions or feelings and taking responsibility for them. (Note – to make it easier for me through the text, I refer to feelings as emotions you are cognitively aware of, and to emotions as the raw emotion that you can feel but can't yet cognitively understand/place/identify – but that you can learn to regulate. I also refer to the client, therapist and equine professional as her, and to th...

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How to connect with a horse – the science side of it


How do you connect with a horse? Is it important that a horse always is in connection with the human he is interacting with? This seems like straightforward questions, right? But to answer them, we need to look closer at the horse-human interaction, but also at the concept of interaction between subjects (individuals). And we need to define what we are talking about.  Follow me into this discussion – and you will see that they are far from easy questions and that there are no simple answers. But this is an important topic, and we need to untangle some common use of words and concepts. It ...

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