Fortunato will try things with me that he wouldn’t dream of trying with his Trainer, Erin Bell. He finds the holes (in my confidence and capability) and exploits them. In that way, he is a great teacher. He shows me where the holes are, so I can fill them with…presence.
It’s fascinating to watch someone with presence. This is not about size, position, title, force, aggression or intimidation. It’s about the way they enter and read the situation, hold and carry themselves through the rough spots and how they manage the energy and literally change the conversation. Here’s an example:
Yesterday as Erin began working with Fortunato, he wanted to make it a contest of wills. He was pushing forward and trying to bully through her. (He wanted to establish himself as the leader in this lesson.)
Instead of competing with him and allowing the anxiety to accelerate, she changed the energy in the moment. She shifted from moving to waiting – from tension to calmness – from talking to listening.
She created a pause.
As we waited, I literally watched the conversation change. Fortunato went from telling to asking. His energy shifted from rigid to relaxed. There was an emotional shift too – from anxiety to trust. From there we moved forward in a really productive way.
Presence invites people (and as it turns out, equines) to step into the arena and play effectively – to engage, reach, trust and enjoy the process.