Humans are used to dealing with language barriers among ourselves. We have developed facial expressions and body language movements that help us to express ourselves when we find we are in a place that speaks a different language. In today's world, there are apps that can translate what you say to a different language of choice. Amazing! It truly is a wonder and I am sure these apps have saved many travelers some time and frustration. What about our animal companions though? How do they handle different languages?
Unlike humans, animals have retained their ability to receive messages in other ways than verbal communication. They receive picture images, pick up on energy, and are experts in body language. This is why I am able to communicate with animals regardless of which human language they are used to hearing! It is really a wonder, actually.
I was blessed with communicating with a horse who has been in the US for a very short time. His birthplace was Belgium. I noticed he had no issues understanding me. I also noticed that he was able to express himself very clearly to me, and I had no issues understanding him. When the subject of his trainers came up, this beautiful boy did state that he was having trouble understanding what they wanted from him. So what was going on? If language is not an issue, why did this horse have trouble with the trainers? instead of trying to figure it out myself, I decided to get the answers straight from the horse's mouth. (see what I did there?)
When I asked him what the issue was with the trainers (I have found that most communication issues, among several others, lie with the humans), his response made perfect sense. The first thing he said was that their energy and body language did not match what they were thinking. Because commands sound different (different words used), he relies more heavily on images he picks up from their thoughts and body language. If the trainer is multi-tasking in their mind, the horse is getting confused. He needs a little time to associate the new word with the movement, but cannot do that if the trainer is not clear and consistent.
Another thing this boy let us know was his preference in communication style. he loves the soft and gentle voice, cooing, a maternal presence, and a loving touch. He does not like to be barked at, and is not a fan of vigourous and lengthy training sessions. He would do better with shorter sessions and those made with a more playful focus. The key to any happy and successful relationship is honoring the soul of the individual, even if it is contrary to what was assumed. In this case, this horse was bred to be a jumper. He has a few fears based on an old incident. His new family loves him so much that they scheduled a communication session to find out what he thinks and feels. With the information they received, the family is going to take things slowly with him to give him time to adjust to his new surroundings. They are also on board with his communication preference and more than willing to give him all the love he needs. And carrots and apples, especially apples. =)
If you are interested in animal communication to learn about what your companions are really thinking and feeling, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org