The Heart of a Horse

When we were at FR, the BO’s young daughter told me I was funny because I usually held a two way, verbal discussion between myself and the horse. That is just one of my little oddities that I do for my own amusement. Of course, it’s dangerous to anthromophize an animals’ intentions with human motivations but generally my comments are harmless ones such as me: “you want this carrot right?” Z: “me want carrot!” LOL!

Since I work mostly by myself, when the barn is empty of humans, I have to take my amusement where I can.

A friend once told me she didn’t think horses could love. I replied that horses loved us in the way horses’ love – not human love. Horses love those who provide the companionship and leadership they crave as part of their encoded survival needs. Do they love us because we pay the boarding bill? Of course, not! However, I do not think this cheapens the value of their love, rather it is more pure then human love which can be bought by looks or money.

Horses, as in dogs, have a simpler nature. One without the need to destroy or harm just because of greed, politics, religion or the color of someone’s skin. Their emotions are immediate and, as such, not generally deceptive. Horses who exhibit viscousness mostly do so because humans have taught them this – not because their natures (generally – as there are always diseased individuals in a group) have it. Stories you’ll hear of horses being “bad” generally end up with the person learning the horse was in pain or had been abused.

As I wrote in my last post about Z, she has quite the aggression drive. However, she is also affectionate, craves companionship, and is curious. Although she seems immune to a lot of things that would scare other horses, there exists, at the same time. a certain fragility and need for support from an outside individual. I think this duality is something that the trainer she saw in the spring did not understand.

When a horse seems brave and bold on the outside, you think they feel the same way on inside. Yet, I think Z is much more needier for support then it seems on the surface. Just as human bullies, bully out of hiding their emotional weakness, some of Z’s aggression hides a horse that really wants confidence (cavaet here that this is not a non-confident horse – I’m talking about degrees as some of her aggression is simply wanting her own way and dominance). I’ve been slow to recognize this duality.

While you could expose Z to much and ask much of her, it’s my belief she became overwhelmed when she was at RH. He was throwing stuff at her too fast for her to process and when she came back, while on the outside she seemed accomplished, inside she was a bit of a mixed up mess.

This is where the danger is in applying human feelings when they are horse feelings. Human wise we might say, suck it up and just do it. Horse wise, when overwhelmed the desire becomese flight (Z’s nature is not a runaway) or fight (which is her nature). So hence the resistance I’ve been dealing with all fall.

Yes, it looked like we had regressed but this time was really rebuilding her confidence level in herself and me.

That SHE could do it.

That IT was possible.

And IT was OKAY.

This entry was posted in Training, Z. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Heart of a Horse

  1. Kathy says:

    If you listen closely, you will hear your horse talk. Sometimes it’s barely more than a whisper, and sometimes it is a shout. Horses are very good at communicating, we just need to become good at listening.

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