Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Quick Tip #81--Understand That Your Horse Is Not A Dog
Seems like a silly thing to have to point out but many major problems between horses and people is that people , consciously or unconsciously, expect their horses to act like dogs. Worst of all they interpret a horse's actions as they would a dog's actions.
It took me too long to understand this problem. I got tired of the ridiculous concerns that people express when they see a horse aggressively eating every blade of grass he can reach and pulling the lead rope from the hands of novices to reach better grass.
They ask,"Why is he so hungry? Doesn't he ever get fed?"
It finally dawned on me that such a reaction would be appropriate if a dog spent every moment possible aggressively eating.
We are predators, as are dogs. As such we innately understand much of their motivation and actions in response to that motivation. We do not have that innate understanding of prey animals.
Predators want warm, confining living spaces. Prey animals fear them as death traps. Predators like to frolic and demonstrate what is obviously to us exuberance on a nearly daily basis. Adult prey animals rarely demonstrate this behavior and often when they do it is the result of being in fear. Predators seek excitement. Prey animals seek relaxation. Predators seek autonomy. Prey animals seek security.
The only thing worse for your horse than treating him like dog is to treat him like a person. Any solid relationship with a horse must begin with an actual understanding that your horse is a horse.
Posted by Steve Edwards