Esoteric Horsemanship and The HeartMath Connection

“Initial findings seem to reveal that the calmness or autonomic state of the horses has a greater influence on the human response rather than the other way around.”

I first met The HeartMath Institute at Sophia’s Well, a Wisdom Center in Sutter Creek in the early part of my journey through the Ageless Wisdom Teachings. We learn in these teachings that the heart is an intelligent repository of wisdom, intuition, and knowingness; that it is connected to the brain, constantly informing our thoughts and emotions of our inner resources and resonance. Our brains are so focused on the outer world and our outer senses that we rarely hear or listen to the whisperings of our heart.
Doc Childre and Howard Martin with Donna Beech have set forward in their book, The HeartMath Solution, a scientific presentation of the power of the heart in daily living. In a follow up book, The Science of the Heart, we get a comprehensive look at how the evolution of this new study of the heart/brain connection pervades all our relationships, with ourselves, with other humans and creatures, with the world at large.
“The heart has been considered the source of emotion, courage and wisdom for centuries. For more than 26 years, the HeartMath Institute Research Center has explored the physiological mechanisms by which the heart and brain communicate and how the activity of the heart influences our perceptions, emotions, intuition and health. Early on in our research we asked, among other questions, why people experience the feeling or sensation of love and other regenerative emotions as well as heartache in the physical area of the heart. In the early 1990s, we were among the first to conduct research that not only looked at how stressful emotions affect the activity in the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and the hormonal and immune systems, but also at the effects of emotions such as appreciation, compassion and care. Over the years, we have conducted many studies that have utilized many different physiological measures such as EEG (brain waves), SCL (skin conductance), ECG (heart), BP (blood pressure) and hormone levels, etc. Consistently, however, it was heart rate variability, or heart rhythms that stood out as the most dynamic and reflective indicator of one’s emotional states and, therefore, current stress and cognitive processes. It became clear that stressful or depleting emotions such as frustration and overwhelm lead to increased disorder in the higher-level brain centers and autonomic nervous system and which are reflected in the heart rhythms and adversely affects the functioning of virtually all bodily systems. This eventually led to a much deeper understanding of the neural and other communication pathways between the heart and brain. We also observed that the heart acted as though it had a mind of its own and could significantly influence the way we perceive and respond in our daily interactions. In essence, it appeared that the heart could affect our awareness, perceptions and intelligence. Numerous studies have since shown that heart coherence is an optimal physiological state associated with increased cognitive function, self-regulatory capacity, emotional stability and resilience.
We now have a much deeper scientific understanding of many of our original questions that explains how and why heart activity affects mental clarity, creativity, emotional balance, intuition and personal effectiveness. Our and others’ research indicates the heart is far more than a simple pump. The heart is, in fact, a highly complex information-processing center with its own functional brain, commonly called the heart brain, that communicates with and influences the cranial brain via the nervous system, hormonal system and other pathways. These influences affect brain function and most of the body’s major organs and play an important role in mental and emotional experience and the quality of our lives.
In recent years, we have conducted a number of research studies that have explored topics such as the electrophysiology of intuition and the degree to which the heart’s magnetic field, which radiates outside the body, carries information that affects other people and even our pets, and links people together in surprising ways. We also launched the Global Coherence Initiative (GCI), which explores the interconnectivity of humanity with Earth’s magnetic fields.”
So, what does this have to do with the horse/human relationship? In 2005 Elllen Kaye Gehrke, PhD began a series of five studies to see if the HeartMath science would support using HRV as a marker to demonstrate the emotional connection occurring between horses and humans when they interact. A description of these studies and findings are put forwarded in an extremely interesting and informative article, The Horse-Human Heart Connection, Results of Studies Using Heart Rate Variability published in the Spring 2010 edition of NARHA’S STRIDES.
The last of the five studies was conducted in 2008 in collaboration with Dr. Ann Baldwin, a physiologist from the University of Arizona, using seven pairs of horses and humans.
“It appeared that each person synchronized his or her particular HRV frequency cycle to match the horse’s specific frequency cycle. This result was reproducible and was observed in six out of the seven horse-human pairs. In the one horse-human pair in which the human did not match the horse’s specific frequencies, the person stated that she was distracted with other responsibilities during the recording.”
Dr. Gehrke enumerated several findings of interest in her article. The one that is most relevant to my “aha moment” is number 7. “Initial findings seem to reveal that the calmness or autonomic state of the horses has a greater influence on the human response rather than the other way around.” It is the heart resonance of the horse that influences humans. We are so about us, how we influence that we blind ourselves to the abounding energies that flow through our lives.
I am forever in awe of that first encounter. A white gelding standing in his field. A magnet to my four year old heart. The power of his heart pulled me to him. I stood at the fence participating with hopeful excitement in his gentle approach. His great white head lowered over the fence rail. Our breath intermingled, the whiskers on his chin tickled child cheek. He allowed and acknowledged the tentative touch of child hand upon his muzzle. I was, I am, enchanted, enthralled, enamored. The bio magnetic power of his great heart enveloped me and has held me in embrace though all the journeys of my life.

Author: heartofahorsewoman

I am a lifetime horsewoman having dabbled in many different disciplines with many different breeds. The Natural Horsemanship training concepts changed my approach to horses and life. The trail I have traveled has led me to see horses in their spiritual context and the great exploration into mystery that Horse carries us so confidently.

One thought on “Esoteric Horsemanship and The HeartMath Connection”

  1. First time I have read this interesting study. Yes, it is all in the heart as you and I have discussed. I loved talking to you earlier and sorry our talk was interrupted by my visitor, who stayed for seven hours so I never got a chance to call you back. You know I love you, dear friend, and want everything wild and wonderful, magical and musical in your life.

    Liked by 1 person

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