The results were very encouraging. It appears that HRV patterns do indeed reflect a change in a horse’s inner state, although further research will have to be done to confirm this in a more scientifically rigorous manner. There were also clear indications that the horses responded differently to Ellen’s changing states. The most interesting example of this was during the Heart Lock-In periods. Three of the four horses spontaneously walked over to Ellen and nudged or licked her after she started the Lock-In. One of the horses, Shiloh, even placed his nose in Ellen’s lap and stayed beside her for the majority of the Heart Lock-In period. More importantly, these three horses’ HRV patterns became more ordered. On seeing this data, our researchers exclaimed, “We may have just recorded the first example of horse heart coherence!”
The graph above, an example of the state shift that one of the horses, Rusty, was made while Ellen was riding him. In this example, after she pets and hugs Rusty, his HRV pattern shifts to a more coherent pattern.
We cannot draw any definitive conclusions without first doing more rigorous research, but this initial pilot study does indicate that a horse’s HRV pattern reflects its inner state and that horses are sensitive to changes in human emotions, reflected as a change in the horse’s HRV patterns. It is likely that this emotional connection is mediated by an energetic form of communication. We hope to address this question and several others in future studies with Dr. Gehrke and her horses.