A Distinctive Style Magazine

Issue 21

Culture, music, art, creativity, photography, environmental awareness, new fashion, celebrity interviews, motion video, organic eating, holistic health

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Linguist Deborah Tannen, a researcher of gender communication styles, asserts that men and women tend to use distinctly unique verbal cues and body language in their communication. Such differences in style often complicate and interfere with communication between couples and within families in conflict. Horses have no interest in mixed messages and subtext; they require their humans to be very present, in the moment and very clear in expressing what they want. While humans often talk themselves out of their gut feelings, horses rely on gut feelings that, over millions of years, were critical for making the right survival decisions. This dynamic was very telling in the tale of a couple that came for help in their relationship. The alpha mare was very friendly with the wife but would not go near the husband, nor would she allow any of the other horses to come over to him. Later the wife confidentially revealed to the therapists that she experienced physical and emotional abuse in the relationship. Couples and families who have come to Relationship Ranch to work on their issues, go through exercises with the horses, learning to lead and direct them, not with a rope or bridle, but through intention and body language. If the clients are unclear, unsure or posturing in any way, the horses will not cooperate. Grimes related a story about a couple struggling with power issues related to money management. Their history included the husband's presumption that he was more experienced and better equipped to make the financial decisions for the family. Integrating a dialogue about money manage­­­­­­ment with a session directing a horse around the pen, the husband couldn't help but notice that his wife's ideas were more effective at getting results with the horse. This contributed to a more equal balance of power between the couple, leading to a significant improve­ment in their relationship. A horse will not do what you ask it to do unless there is respect with the request. The client has to earn the respect of the horse. Horses ask clients to mean what they say, and say what they mean. Clients have to try things out, see what works; trial and error is ok. Horses live in the moment, as they ask you to do, and they generally are forgiving as you're learn­ing how to work with them. When you learn to be as open, present and respectful with your family as you have to be with a horse, you can experience miraculous improvements in your relationships. See Grimes and Hamilton in action in an amazing video on Nightline by clicking the video link above. You’ll see how a couple close to the breaking point achieves healing and reconciliation with the help of the horses of Relationship Ranch. A Distinctive style . com 71

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