Wouldn’t be great if you could sit down with the special horse in your life and tell each other your deepest darkest secrets? To be able to confront your horse about your relationship and get real answers on how your horse views you and your relationship. Unfortunately we can’t hear it straight from the horse’s mouth so here is the next best thing.
Everyone has a place
As horse owners we often want to be equals with our horse and have a true partnership. Unfortunately the horse world is much like the military, and every horse has their rank/position in the herd. You can rank number 1, number 2, or number 27 depending on the herd size but no one shares a position. When you enter a horse’s life you are also given a position in the herd, and depending on how you approach the horse you can out rank them or rank below them, but in the horse’s mind there are no equals.
Do it, do it now.
Our horses live in a cause and effect world and do not understand the concept of asking, begging, or pleading. Horse 1 says, “I want your grain, so move.” Horse 2 either moves or Horse 1 kicks them. If Horse 1 slowly walked up to Horse 2 and asked “Pretty please, I’m still hungry can I have some of yours?” Horse 2 would just laugh and keep eating. Do horses appreciate kindness? Absolutely, but in their world “please” just does not exist. In order to be taken seriously in the horse world you have to say it then make it happen.
It is not that I’m trying to hurt you, I’m just over you.
When we do not make it a priority to rank above our horse in the herd we subject ourselves to herd law. Horses do not touch or mess with the horses out ranking them but anyone ranking under them is fair game. Pair that with their say it and then make it happen lifestyle and things can get dangerous. Your horse was not maliciously sizing you up with the intent of kicking you this morning as you were trying to pick his hind feet. He told you with his ears to not mess with him because he out ranks you in the herd, and you did not listen so he kicked you. The horse in his mind did not do anything wrong.
The majority of our horse related behavior problems are due to our horses not feeling confident in our ability to lead them and be over them in the herd. Horses are all about their personal safety and they are happy as long as the horses or persons over them in the herd continue to fulfill their need for safety and leadership. Horses do not care if they a number 1 or number 28 as long as they feel confident and secure in their leader. When Horse 1 is no longer able to fulfill the needs of the herd another horse will take over. When your horse does not feel that you are leader material he will work until until he gets over you. It is not that they do not like you or the former herd boss, but an insecure/ineffective leader puts everyone at risk in the horse’s mind.