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Horse Sense Business Sense
6919 Meadows Town Road
Marshall, North Carolina 28753

Phone: (828) 683-7304
Fax: (828) 683-6281
E-mail: josie@horsesenseotc.com




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Horse Sense Business Sense helps professionals in the many fields of Equine Assisted Practices offer top-level programs in their communities through workshops/trainings, symposiums & conferences, consulting & immersion programs, curriculums, a working student program, and much more.

Over a decade ago, Horse Sense began the journey into becoming a top-notch EAP/EAL facility. We are eager to help other Therapeutic Horsemanship, Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning programs make it, and make a difference, in their community.

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What's New at Business Sense?


Oxytocin, Entrainment and Human/Animal Bonding

In session, we’re observing a variety of concepts playing out: synchrony and dyssemia, social intelligence, empathic accuracy, and others. This interaction between horse and client is even more complex than we realized. Several other aspects to consider in equine-assisted practices include the effects of the hormone oxytocin and the process of entrainment.
Oxytocin is released in all mammals who are in physical contact with one another. It has been linked broadly with our ability to make social connections, as well as with bonding and anxiety and fear reduction. A research project by Dr. Andrea Beetz of Germany, investigating if human-horse interactions have a positive effect on difficult mother-child relationships through measurement of oxytocin levels, stated:

One of the central common principles underlying relational behavior of humans and non-human mammals is the oxytocin system. Oxytocin reduces anxiety, …reduces and buffers stress. Furthermore, it decreases the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, which results in a lower blood pressure, and increases activation of the parasympathetic nervous system…. The present evidence suggest that oxytocin has important modulatory effects on social behavior (less aggression, facilitation and stimulation of social interaction and communication), stress coping (stress reduction), emotional states (less depression, increased trust in others), pain (reduces pain, elevates pain threshold), and the autonomous nervous system. (Beetz, Kotrschal, Unvas-Moberg, & Julius, 2011, p.2)

In Kerstin Unvas-Moberg’s The Oxytocin Factor: Tapping the Hormone of Calm, Love and Healing (2011), she states:

Touch and physical contact initiate a reinforcing cycle and produce increased secretion of oxytocin; this makes us more curious and interested in establishing contact, and, this in its turn, releases still more oxytocin, and so on. (Kindle Locations 868-870)

Meg Daley Olmert, author of the book Made for Each Other and producer of several documentaries, explores the neurochemical basis of the brain forging the powerful human-animal bond. Science now recognizes Oxytocin as a factor of social bonding;...

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It was when I was getting on the plane to return home from a business trip to Austin (TX) a few weeks ago that I heard about the "surprise" winter storm that hit the farm. Snow??  Immediately, I reached out on social media to get an update on the current weather and the state of the roads.  Gracious friends were happy to share their news; by the time we landed, I felt fully armed with the best information and I made it home safely.  

Surprises also come along when you are operating a business. Oftentimes, how well you respond to those surprises may determine the direction of your business and maybe whether you will even have a business six months down the road.

What do you do?  You do the same thing I did on my return from Austin.  You reach out to colleagues, folks who can give you their experience on dealing with a similar challenge. Talk to people who are facing the same challenge.  Are there projections on how this challenge might change over time? 

Information is power in most situations and business is no different.  Cultivate those business friendships, BE THAT FRIEND to others so that when you need to reach out to advice, there is a supportive circle ready and happy to help.

Happy Trails! 



Mindfulness and Mindful Learning

Mindfulness is the hot topic these days, and this wonderfully worth-while concept is on the lips of many people, from all different walks of life. Mindfulness, of course, has an impact on EAP, if for no other reason than Mindfulness is about attention. Siegel (2007) explains “Mindfulness in its most general conception offers a way of being aware that can serve as a gateway toward a more vital mode of being in the world…” (p. 4).

Mindfulness, at its core, is about attention, and there’s nothing to grab and hold a person’s attention like three horses frolicking ten feet away, or feeling a horse’s skin quiver to shake off a fly, or rubbing the soft, silky spot right at the tip of the horse’s nose. “Mindfulness in its most general sense is about waking up from a life on automatic,” Siegel (2007) states, “and being sensitive to novelty in our everyday experiences” (p. 5). Novelty, getting away from functioning on “automatic”, and coming back again and again to the present moment, are all part of the EAP experience.

Mindful learning is also at play in the equine-assisted psychotherapy and learning practice:

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