Horses have been called giant biofeedback machines because, being prey animals, they are finely tuned to their environment and all animals in it. Notice how horses in a herd are calm, hanging out, eating grass or hay when a sound or movement could result in an instant response from tension to a stampede. Any condition other than calmness is troubling to horses, so this requires us to be calm. It is even possible to be afraid of a horse and calm around it at the same time. It just takes practice. A rushed or shallow breath tells the horse there is danger. A deep breath helps us to slow down. You can take a deep breath and push out your abdomen at the same time, then let the breath let itself out as you relax and exhale. Another approach is to take whatever thought, feeling, behavior is creating anxiety, just label it and let it go. Whatever you must do to bring yourself to calm, deep breath, mini meditation, a happy memory, a favorite song, a simple pause, etc. it is a good idea to do this before approaching a horse.
Calmness and Yielding: We are yielding to whatever are causing us to not be quiet. A horse who is quiet because we are calm is a horse more likely to yield to us. This calming of ourselves is our horse’s first step towards joining us, the first step towards yielding.