Hmmm I just read this, while researching a different subject then horses…
Milton Erickson, for example, often used a technique called confusion, in which he said things that on the surface seemed logically contradictory and yet in essence conveyed an ingenious creative truth. When patients heard these things while in a trance, they literally could not get anxious because anxiety and relaxation are mutually exclusive physiological states.(emphasis mine). The sympathetic nervous system controls arousal (and anxiety) and the parasympathetic nervous system controls relaxation, and only one system can be in control at any one time.
So, when deeply relaxed patients in a trance heard Erickson say confusing things, they just gave up their conscious objections and accepted the underlying, healing truth that Erickson was speaking.
I will need to spend time thinking upon this. Circumstances have shown how this is true by using breathing, centering and body consciousness exercises while riding, but now I’m thinking how this applies to horse behavior and the use of “head down” and feeding in the training.