Posted on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 by Heather Dodd
There was an interesting programme on the radio as I was driving home from doing the horses today. Radio 4’s All in the Mind examined the performance of martial arts fighters who pose for a staged face-off before the fight begins. Apparently, fighters who smile during this process are more likely to lose the fight. The researchers wanted to test the idea that in this context, smiles are an involuntary signal of submission and lack of aggression, just as teeth baring is in the animal kingdom.
So what does this have to do with horses? Nothing really, apart from setting me to pondering whether if we made an effort to smile more next time we rode, would that signal to our horse that we are less confrontational – and how might that affect our riding experience?
If you test this theory with interesting results next time you ride, let us know how you get on!