In this series of 5 blogs I will look at the interaction between our horses and ourselves:
- how we can develop a deeper understanding and connection with our equines
- how having us in their lives affects them
- how we can do our best for the horses in our care
The traditional approach to working with horses has been to assume that we need to establish who is the ‘boss’. Horses are generally bigger and stronger than us and so people have tended to believe that we need to hold a dominant position in relation to them. Many of us have also been taught that this model is taken from how horses organise themselves in the wild. We hear stories of the lead stallion, or the alpha mare, and while there is some truth in this, the reality is more complex.
In fact, horse herds often act as a single entity. They will spread themselves out to graze, each animal facing in a different direction, effectively giving them an all round view to watch out for predators. A horse’s usual way of interacting is therefore one of cooperation, synchronisation and leading / following, rather than dominance. Any member of the herd who sees a threat can lead the others, by starting to run. The rest sense the movement and follow. This cooperation encourages cohesion within the herd, allowing them to live together peacefully, so maximising their chances of surviving. The horses will also follow leads in terms of moving off to look for new grazing or water.
In the day-to-day life of the herd, horses tend to defer to those who are older or more experienced. These horses are the ones who appear calm and assured, rather than those who are nervous, or even bossy. Horses like to feel safe, and they are attracted to those who make them feel this way. They are also very sensitive to the energy of others and they can quickly assess who makes them feel relaxed and who doesn’t.
In the next post I’ll look at why domesticated horses sometimes appear to be less co-operative.
The information in this article was taken from my workshops and video series on giving horses a more natural lifestyle and the benefits that this brings, not only to them but to their owners / carers. To see more, please follow this link:
If you have comments or questions about anything in this article, or if you would like to book a session with me, please don’t hesitate to get in touch:
mobile: 07980 669303
You can also read more about me and my work on my website: www.equenergy.com
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