We project our reality, our level of awareness and our beliefs about ourselves and others onto our horses.
I think it’s very important to look at and become disciplined in the way we describe our horses.
“He thinks he’s a dog!”
“He hates to work”
“She’s just like that! She always does that”
“Mares, am I right?”
“She loves falling into the corners and she hates going straight”
Firstly, it’s important to examine the culture of riding and horse keeping we are brought up in. What do we regularly say about the horses we ride? Is it an accurate reflection of reality? Quite often not. No horse thinks they’re a dog, they’re quite aware they are a horse – but people often treat them like dogs and reinforce or create “puppy like” behavior- ie, pushing, mouthy, distracted and ansty behavior. Some horses are certainly more playful than others, but, they are still a horse.
No horse hates being straight, but they do hate being unbalanced and will be pretty ingenious in finding ways to maintain their ability to stay upright by falling in, body tension and other postural compensation patterns. If you understood all the work your horse was doing to maintain forward and upright movement without good preparation, training and physical fitness, you would be amazed. This ties into the description of lazy – if you knew how hard your horse had to work to make those slow, choppy tense steps, you’d know he isn’t lazy, he’s over burdened. Body tension creates a block that takes far more effort to push through. Looseness and strength create effortless forward motion.
Your horse doesn’t hate to work, they hate work that doesn’t bring comfort and relaxation. Horses brought to balance in work absolutely love to be there.
Your mare isn’t just grouchy for no reason – her behavior is calling awareness to her physical needs unmet, her painful body, her unbalanced hormones, her disdain for rude and careless handling.
Watch what you say about your horse – it reflects not what’s wrong with the horse, but what’s missing from their life, that their caregivers have not provided for them.