They've only explored one variable, which is a measured heart rate, and a definition of "nervous" and "calm" in the human and horse. This is so inconclusive, it's hardly to be mentioned. They don't take into consideration a horse's previous experience in a round pen, or what sort of people have worked with the horse previously. I find a lot of people who are nervous around horses tend to project their energy no farther than about a foot from their physical body. A horse can only stare at that and wonder if it means anything to them. When they realize it doesn't, they tend to ignore the person, which could result in a lowered heart rate. A calm person can project energy much farther from their bodies because they have more confidence. Horses can pick up on that and wonder when the person is going to DO something! They are more likely to worry about that than if the person were creating some kind of energy they knew had nothing to do with them. Worry can send the heart rate up.
I've seen many a nervous horse calm down in the presence of a calm human, and I've seen many a calm horse get nervous around a nervous human. So, I think the study is highly flawed and doesn't go deep enough with enough variables to prove the theory one way or another.
Return to top