Often with the best of intentions to keep things ‘short and sweet’ (as I so often advise clients to with their horses re-training!), I do have a habit of rambling on! SO…. I have put my ‘best hoof forward’ to truly keep this blog short and sweet. After all, you horse lovers have better things to do than screen watching, such as poo picking or tack cleaning!
Here are just a few ideas to ponder on a lazeeee Sunday… (Did I say LAZY!? There’s surely not many lazy days, when you own a horse!)
ALL of us see the world from our own eyes. Though we may try to put ourselves in others shoes, so to speak, we can’t help but experience things from our own perspective. We strive to do our best for our equine companions. But what does the world truly look like from the eyes of your horse?
YOU see your beautiful horse welcoming you keenly with bright eyes, pricked ears and even perhaps a vocal greeting. You’re happy to see your beloved equine friend and companion (and consumer of all your hard earned pennies!).
YOUR HORSE sees their best friend companion too, granted. Naturally though, as a grazing herd animal, they’ll also be happy to see you as you are their passport to their essential3 F’s; Forage, Friends and Freedom.
(Some say horses may also see us as walking vending machines, but that is for you to decide..!)
YOU see yet another dustbin when hacking out on bin day. It’s much alike the dozens that you and your horse have been past together, on a regular basis.
YOUR HORSE however may see a strangely smelly and mysterious object that disappears and reappears only sometimes, each time in a different spot and morphed into different colours, shapes and even smells!
In order to survive in nature, your equine buddy has incredible visual acuity. In addition, naturally he has a strong FEAR drive, so being cautious and taking ‘flight’, if in doubt, makes perfect sense in a horse’s world.
In the same way, even a leaf blowing in the breeze or a small bird taking off from a branch, can worry a HIGHLY sensory horse. Designed to pick up on the details, they will pick up particularly on the teeny weeny details. Things that we can easily miss. Even reflections in puddles or shadows and light ‘spots’ on the ground can be perceived as a threat to a horse who is finely tuned for noticing the details in order to survive in nature!
This is why horses ‘spook’ at novel things quite often!
YOU see communication as being mainly spoken language along with some body language too.
YOUR HORSE however sees body language as the main way to communicate! Using vocal sounds rarely, your horse may well hear much ‘white noise’ coming from you. Among the array of sounds, there is the odd learned sound, such as the welcome sound of your car when you arrive, the feed bin, and training aids such as ‘back’, ‘over’, ‘good boy’ and so on.
As highly sociable creatures horses communicate constantly (and in the main in a subtle way) to one another. Being a keen observer of how our own movements and gestures affect our horse, and our shared relationship, can be fascinating!
YOU see hacking out alone as an opportunity to ‘be at one’ with your horse, to enjoy together time and build your bond.
YOUR HORSE however maysee this alone outing as threatening, or may feel insecure. This is owing to their strong social nature as a herd animal. SAFETY IN NUMBERS is what your horse is programmed for, which is also why going away from others (or being left behind) in a field, at a show, in the stable, etc., can be a threat, from the eyes of a horse.
Every horse is an individual of course. Some feel safer with others, whilst others are more independent and will feel safe enough with their human companion, once the trust and bond is formed.
It’s good to remember…
If we’re having a day when we’re in a rush, a tad impatient or a little tense for whatever reason (as we ALL can be from time to time!), your sensitive horse may pick up on your vibes. From the eyes of your horse YOU are a member of their herd. A calm and confident herd member can be trusted and relied upon. This is especially important to a herd animal whose natural survival would depend on group co-operation and harmony. You horse will feel safer and more relaxed, the calmer you are and the more consistent in your handling.
It can only be a good thing to look at the world from the eyes of your horse. With understanding of how the world looks to them, we can more fully provide for their needs.