I attended a classical dressage clinic that focused on in-hand work, in other words, dressage moves from the ground. We learned exercises to promote self-carriage in the horse. In this class the instructor pointed out that the resting heart rate of a horse is around 40 beats per minute. The resting heart rate of a human is about 70 beats per minute. Interestingly enough, the heart rate of a horse at the trot is about 70 beats per minute. A friend of mine once commented, “No wonder I felt most at east at the trot.” Her resting heart rate and the horse’s heart rate at the trot must have been synchronized.
As I thought about the difference in resting heart rate between horses and humans, I marveled at what it must feel like for a horse to be around us. To us, we’re relaxed, but to a horse it feels like we’re trotting. What if we really are move quickly? They must think we’re crazy.
Over the several years I’ve been rehabbing horses, I’ve found that what used take an hour or two, now takes more like 4 or 5. The more I am with them, the slower I go myself. There is no, “Quick. Do this.” Instead, I find that the magical moments with horses abound when going slow, and it is what keeps bringing me back to them.
I came upon the following article that speaks to this magic and the science behind it. The Science of the Horse Human Heart Connection. Enjoy.