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Basic Horse Psychology
Horses do not think like humans and their first basic thought is for their own safety and well being. A horses motto is act first and think later. This is how they have survived over the years.
A runaway or bolter is labelled a bad horse but this is how nature designed them. A horse will naturally run from anything that he thinks will endanger its welfare even if it is only a bird jumping out from the hedge or a unfamiliar object lurking in its path. A piece of strange wire laying on the floor to a horse could be a deadly snake or that plastic bag blowing across the yard could be some terifying horse eating monster. It is natural for a horse to react in this way.
It is up to the horse owner to educate the horse to overcome his fears slowly and thoughtfully a horse should not be punished for what nature tells him to run away from.
Horses are also individuals and should be treated as such they all have their own unique characters dislikes and preferences, not all horses are the same some will learn more quickly than others, some are natural leaders and some are born to follow this can also be inherited. Watch horses in a field together you can learn a lot by just taking the time to observe them as a group.
Horses temperaments vary from horse to horse and should be treated individualy as well. Horses experience all kinds of different emotions, frustration, anger, exitement, to name but a few. You should get to know your horse and interprate his different emotions.
A horse left alone, when its companions have gone out for a hack or returned to their stabes will start to fret and worry. Horses are gregarious animals and like company. To their way of thinking there is safety in numbers, and a single horse is vulnerable. When watching horses in the field watch how they opperate as a herd. If most are taking a nap you will usually find one that is keeping watch.
Horses are wonderfull animals and we should all take the time to learn a little about their behavior and try to understand things from their point of view. Learn the language of Equus.
"When a courageous horse is unwilling to approach some object, it must be explained to him that it is not so awful, and if this fails, you must lead him gently to it and touch it yourself. Those who compel a horse with blows, make him more frightened than ever, for horses believe whenever they receive harsh treatment in such circumstances, that the feared objects are reesponsible for their discomfort."
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The Horse's Prayer
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