Sensitive Horsemanship was founded by Didi Wood, a high IQ autistic with "Asperger's Syndrome", bipolar disorder and some OCD thrown in.
The particular type of sensitivity that goes with autism, combined with a lifelong study of horse and human psychology, equine science, nutrition and physiology, classical equitation and various different philosophies of "natural" horsemanship, give Didi a unique perspective on both horses and humans.
One of the ways autistics differ from neurotypical people is that their animal instincts have never been significantly eroded by social conditioning. In fact, some theories state that autistic people are more like prey animals than predators - why they seem to have a native sensitivity towards horses. Another way autistic people differ is that they are usually very self-aware: they know at any point in time what emotion they are feeling, be it good or bad, and why. They are also highly tuned to emotions in others - vibes.
Normal people tend to be more predatory in nature: goal orientated. They also tend to repress bad emotions and frequently don't even know, or won't acknowledge, the cause. But bad emotions have to come out somewhere. It's why people snap, dig, bitch, criticise - go to war.
Ever seen a situation where a horse is being difficult when its handler is grumpy? Horses are emotional mirrors: they will behaviourally reflect the bad mood right back on the handler.
People usually don't know they are being moody: if asked why they are being so, the person will often either deny it, even perhaps say it is you! If you are lucky, they will instead appear to pause and after some reflection they may come out with a "now you come to mention it, I am a bid fed up about x" revelation.
The mission of Sensitive Horsemanship is to try and stop all of this by helping people through teaching, written material and information sharing to:
A person with this sensitivity, skills and knowledge is a Sensitive Horseman. Such a person will have more fulfilling relationships with horses. But the instinctive sensitivities, emotional awareness and empathy - often termed "EQ" - Emotional Intelligence - will lead to more fulfilling human relationships as well, both at work, at home and at the yard! Think "Happy Horses & Happy Humans".
A Sensitive Horseman never thinks they have achieved all this - never becomes a "horsey know-it-all". It is impossible to know it all, there is just too much to learn. Sensitive Horsemanship is all about lifelong learning and personal development.
A Sensitive Horseman's lifelong journey should include study of all philosophies. So we provide links to various other organisations. We don't endorse one version or practitioner over another and you will find a lot of debate on the Internet about each one. Even if they don't agree with a particular style of horsemanship, or don't like a particular practitioner, a Sensitive Horseman recognises that each has something to offer, even if just a paragraph of text or a bit in a video. A Sensitive Horseman does not slate other people and will keep their opinions to themselves unless very specifically asked.
This is the "Sensitive Horsemanship Code of Conduct": be respectful of those around you, don't be rude, treat people and horses as you would like to be treated yourself, help people if they ask, don't help people if they don't ask, and do keep an open mind and keep learning.
Finally, we don't endorse the term "natural horsemanship". We think the word "natural" doesn't really indicate the entire philosophy. What both horses and people want from us boils down to one thing: sensitivity. Hence why we use "Sensitive Horsemanship" instead.
Please feel free to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, for bookings or anything.
© 2015 Didi Wood. All Rights Reserved.
For enquiries, please e-mail email@example.com