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Learning to understand horses

According to psychologists, the bulk of communication problems arise due to misunderstanding. Communication with horses is no exception. Only, if in the case of people it usually leads to a spoiled mood and relationship, then in conflicts with the horse everything can end for a person much more sadly – with serious injuries.

Statistics from Australian hippologist Andrew McLean suggest that horsemen who lack knowledge of horse behavior are more likely to be injured when dealing with them.

This is because without the necessary knowledge it is very difficult for a person to train a horse correctly. And inadequate training can greatly worsen the well-being of the horse, which ultimately provokes conflict behavior, which threatens the health and life of a person.

To prevent this from happening, it is extremely important even before you set out to build a relationship with the horse, study the characteristics of its psyche and behavior, and also understand what and how to teach it.

“A common misconception is that training is only necessary for the horse, although in fact riders also need to have a deep understanding of horse behavior,” – Andrew McLean, hippologist.

Why do we poorly understand horses?

Horse and man are two completely different species. We have different sets of communicative signals, we express emotions and intentions differently.

The ability to understand the language of relatives is partially genetically embedded in us, and partially develops in the earliest period of our life. We learn to understand and creatures of other species, if we grow in their environment. At a young age, the brain is open to this kind of information, it is easily absorbed and becomes part of our nature and behavior. This applies to all types of animals.

There is no fear where there is the ability to understand behavior and read intentions!

For example, my dog, daily surrounded by horses from the age of three months, by itself learned to perfectly understand them and “read” their intentions. When they were relaxed and at peace, he lay under their muzzles on his back and let them scratch their belly with their noses. But as soon as one of the horses came into a playful or aggressive mood and planned to bite or hit, the dog instantly understood this and bounced to the side. However, many dogs that were not able to communicate closely with horses during their puppyhood experience fear when meeting them because they do not understand their behavior. A horse can simply reach out to examine a new object, and a dog can perceive it as a threat and attack in response. So from scratch due to misunderstanding, an acute conflict will develop.

The same thing often happens in a man-horse relationship if the person has not had early experience with horses.

However, even if you have not had such an experience, you can catch up at any age! But since the early mechanisms for obtaining information will no longer work, you will need:

– get systematic knowledge about psychology, horse behavior (this will help you articles from the EquiSense section)

– some time to observe the interaction of people and horses from the side.

You will surely see examples of successful and unsuccessful interactions, and with certain knowledge you will already be able to figure out where people interpret horse behavior correctly and where they make mistakes. You will also understand what such errors lead to.

The dangers of anthropomorphism
Another huge obstacle to understanding the horse is anthropomorphism, or humanization. This is the desire to give human properties to plants, animals, objects, and so on.

Remember, when was the last time you scolded the computer because it slows down, felt sorry for the thrown thing, because it was “lonely and abandoned,” were offended or cursed on the sofa for having beaten (and intentionally) your little finger? All these are examples of anthropomorphism in relation to objects that certainly do not have human properties. And transferring all this to animals for humans is doubly tempting!

“People often use such terms as“ bold ”,“ faithful ”,“ reliable ”,“ bully ”,“ bad ”,“ wayward ”,“ evil ”,“ strict ”to describe horses and say that she“ hates ” , “Loves”, “regrets”, “sympathizes” and “has the will to win”, as well as “generous” and “cooperating”. But it’s obvious that applying human properties to horses can greatly damage their well-being due to certain consequences. ” Paul McGreevey and Andrew McLean “Equitation Science”

Often we talk with the horse, set tasks for her, ask or demand an answer from her and try to motivate her in the same way as we would in a dialogue with another person. Perhaps this is how you communicate with your horse! If it seems to you that you are explaining everything to the horse as clearly as possible (another person would have understood it for sure!), But dialogue still does not occur, perhaps the problem is precisely in the anthropomorphic approach.

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