|I thought I would share something not only meaningful, but also helpful when trying to understand a deeper relationship with your horse.
A various amount of people have their own ways in understanding the psychology of a horse and the behaviors that a horse possess WHILE on a lead rope or being ridden. What about when you are not possessing control of the horse. Do you find that your horse "wants" to be with you, not because you have food and they are food driven, but because they are viewing you as a non threat to their natural way of life. A safe predator verses a threatening predator that has food for manipulation.
I decided to take A LOT of time and become a horse..lol.. now, I know this sounds odd to most, however, to many of us, it makes perfectly good sense. I felt that in order to know my horses to the best of their lives, I needed to know how they are in their natural state of being ( with limited restrictions ) ie: being pastured instead of in the wild.. herded by default instead of by choice, etc, etc.
I started by walking out in the pasture, demanding nothing of my horses. I didn't ask for their eyes to be focused on me, I didn't ask for their ears to be forward in a question mode, I didn't ask them to allow me to touch them. I sat back and watched them graze, watched their technique for grazing, who they grazed with, ( for that moment or day at least until the bands changed from time to time in the herd). I was also careful to keep my forward body ( eyes, belly, arms ) away from them, keeping more of my side towards them. This took off any pressure that could have been conceived as a threat of a predator/human.
I learned that grazing is not all that easy..lol.. it takes time to learn to pluck that grass up without getting roots caught up in your fingers, knowing which grass is sweeter then other patches of grass and why not all grass is desirable to a horse in a pasture. I learned the head movements from side to side motion in grazing.
Before long I was accepted in the bands of herds and was "expected" to graze with the band of horses. I made sure I didn't have the smell of meat coming out of my pours of skin, I took a shower with no perfumed soaps while doing this. If i saw one of the horses in my band lay down to roll, I did the very same thing. I mirrored everything I possibly could. I even let horses know if they got too close in my bubble ( space) by rearing my head as they do, still without human actions nor sound, just as they do with one another.
I used my hands as if it were my mouth ( like a horse) I swished my rump at flies if I saw flies were being a bother. I would stomp my foot while bent over grazing every now and then to get a fly off of me. After many weeks for approx 3 to 4 hours a day of repeating this same process, I was taken in by the alpha horse of the pasture out of 24 horses. He made sure that I was close in his band and no other male horses were allowed to come near me. I was accepted as a mare and actually rubbed on by the mares of this particular band. They rubbed on the back of my neck as they did with one another and groomed me like they did to each other. I repaid the compliment back by doing the same with my head ( never using my hands as I didn't want to be a threat).
I can't begin to tell you what this did for me and the relationship I now have with my horses. It allowed us all to understand one another with differences, yet having acceptance *willingly*.
When a new horse is introduced in the pasture, I make it a rule of thumb to go graze with this horse. It allows this horse to have an immediate herd of 2 and destresses them in a hurry. It also helps the horse become part of a band ( the other horses seeing me graze with this horse and knowing that this horse is not trying to steal their bands away). We have a pasture of VERY calm horses who really enjoy being there ( as much as they can in captivity).
I think the most memorable part of my becoming a horse time was when a couple of the horses trusted me enough to play with me. I am not a young woman, and I wasn't sure how I would handle the playing if I couldn't be at attention. I made sure that I stayed calm and if I thought the play was going to get a bit rough, I would just walk away and go graze some more. It worked out fine and I maintained the trust value and the respect.
I have had people ask me why did I feel it important to do this task, what was I was trying to obtain with my objective. The only response I have for them was that If I wanted my horse to understand my human desires from my horse, then it was only fair that I understand their desires of a human at a horses perspective.
Since then, I have studied ( in the pasture) muscle movements, thinking power of the horse, perfect timing of the days feeding, resting, play. I understand more of the emotional behaviors and what can cause a horse to go lame at a moments notice, hives, gesh, the list goes on and on!
I do realize that this type of wanting to understand your horse as deep as you possibly can is not for everyone. However, I have a goal... that goal is to help many people and many horses become one, to unite as a partner and a natural leader for the horse without removing the dignity of the horse. I can do that now, I can actually look at a horse with a human on the other end of the rope and pretty much tell you what's going on emotionally and mentally and or even physcially with that horse.
If I can even help ONE person become a better horse leader and partner, then everything I have worked towards has gifted itself. If not, then my own journey in becoming a horse, has been one of the most exciting, educational, treasured moments in my life :)
Thought you might like hearing my story as my introduction of myself on this forum. It's unusual, to say the least, however, it's one that will always be in my heart and memories.
Blessings, and look forward to sharing info and chit chatting with each other.
Last edited on Fri Sep 19th, 2008 09:24 am by Annie