Horsey Therapist

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Such an important shift

... one way to "sack out" a horse ...

I was very saddened this morning to read on a yahoo list about a woman who was sore from wrestling with a 2 year old to get him haltered and led to the round pen... And she was reporting equally worrisome trouble with two other horses.

I urged her to experiment with getting the horses' sense of curiosity engaged so they are looking for how to understand why she is there and what they can do to fit in with her plans.

[I'm getting my business card reprinted with my current contact info. I have a slogan printed on the cards: It's our nature to get along. This goes for horses and for people. How denigrated have become our expectations of relationships that we have to be reminded of this!]

Horses are hard wired to get along with other herd animals. If they are fighting us, it is because they perceive us as a threat. It won't ever be safe or fun that way, for us or the horse.

There is no safe and sane way to force a horse to do something.

They weigh more than we do and their awareness of what is happening around them is ions beyond what we are capable of! They spend 24/7 keeping track of their environment. We spend most of our time racing after our thoughts regardless of the real information perceived through our senses. Horses have a huge advantage unless and until we learn to use our brains to engage their brains. Our brains truly have a bigger capacity, but that doesn't mean we are using more brain space than they are, or more effectively. I have seen little evidence that humans use their brains better than horses regarding awareness of what is happening moment to moment in the environment.

My emphatic tone is because I am worried. Someone new to horses and approaching them thinking it's normal to use stud chains and to fight to halter a horse? Well, yes, this worries me.

I hope that each of us (myself included!) will develop the habit of questioning any beliefs that support domination and force.

I hope that each of us will notice when we feel upset and/or threatened by a horse, and should we find ourselves responding with the faulty notion that manhandling the horse will fix things, we will seek help to learn how to better understand and get along with our horses. Help is available. Someone with more horse handling experience can help.

Horses are wonderful, willing animals, unless we show them that life around humans doesn't offer anything sensible or enjoyable for them.

I hope that each us will challenge our old ways of thinking. I trust that each of us will be amazed again and again --and even brought to tears -- as we experience how a horse behaves when given a choice and when given something to be interested in. We need to explore what changes we can make in how we approach our horses, and play around with getting things done without force, even without any tack at all, until a better understanding developes between us humans and our equine companions.

Understanding and handling horses for what they are -- horses not humans -- is not magic but it does require a change in us humans: how we think, what we expect, how we behave. I know I had to be shown this stuff in person before I could even imagine the possibilities.

Everyone, please stay safe.


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