Many of the horses we work with have large ‘bubbles’ around their heads. This is the space between the horse’s head and you. Some breeds have larger bubbles. Some bubbles are created from past interactions with humans. We also have our own bubbles based on our own makeup or experience. Entering this space causes fear and a desire to flee or fight. We should always work with our horses to be able to handle someone entering their space because we must enter it to groom, put on halters, medicate, etc. We do not want to move too quickly into this space and be run over or bitten, so a way to respect our horse’s bubble is to slowly move toward the horse’s head. As soon as you see any reaction in the eyes, lips, ears, or feet, stop. Yield a bit, then move forward and repeat. You begin to understand where this horse’s needed space is. You begin to help the horse relax as you enter her space. Also, if you pay attention to your breathing and pulse, you begin to understand where your personal space is and how you respond to its ‘invasion’. Sometimes it is our bubbles rather than the horse’s that is creating the tension.
Bubbles to Yielding: We must respect our horses’ bubbles and be aware that we should not just move right into their space without caution and sensitivity. Doing so will result in the opposite of yielding.