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New Meaning to “Horse Sense”

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Dr. Ellen Gehrke

Dr. Ellen Gehrke

To find out, the IHM research team partnered with Dr. Ellen Gehrke, a qualified HeartMath instructor, to do a preliminary research project with horses. Dr. Gehrke has combined her 20 years of teaching leadership and management experience with her passion for training wild horses.

In this pilot study with four horses, we hoped to see if there was evidence that a horse’s inner state was reflected in its heart rhythm patterns, similar to what we have found in humans and dogs. Additionally, we wanted to determine if there were any indications that her horses were responding to a change in Ellen’s emotional states.

We placed 24-hour ambulatory ECG recorders on Ellen and on each of her four horses to measure their heart rate variability (HRV) during a series of different conditions and interactions. There were periods when each horse was alone eating in the corral while Ellen was sending them loving energy using a HeartMath technique called a Heart Lock-In®. There were also periods when they were being groomed and ridden. This protocol was followed separately with each of the four horses.

Ellen and Tonopah's HRV patternsEllen and Tonopah’s HRV patterns during the Heart Lock-In period


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Sara, from the HeartMath Institute

Sara Childre is President and CEO of the non-profit Institute of HeartMath. Since 1991, Sara has helped oversee and develop HeartMath trainings, educational products and scientific programs. She was appointed vice president and CFO of the institute in 1992, then president and CEO in 1998.


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11:06AM PST on Jan 17, 2015

Thanks. Please visit draft horse rescue site:

8:53AM PST on Feb 19, 2013

Thank you, sharing!

10:58PM PDT on Oct 7, 2012

Horses are sensitive and intelligent beings & we can learn from them.

2:58PM PDT on Sep 30, 2012


9:10AM PDT on Sep 23, 2012


10:56AM PDT on Sep 22, 2012

interesting article :) thanks for sharing :)

9:39PM PDT on Sep 21, 2012

Thanks for sharing

8:39AM PDT on Sep 20, 2012


5:27AM PDT on Sep 20, 2012

wonderful anlmals

2:47AM PDT on Sep 20, 2012

Thanks, interesting.

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