This is the first section of my new ebook, Back to Basics, enjoy!
“The horse is a prey animal and is built for flight. In the wild, he saves himself by running from danger. The horse is constantly on the lookout for what he perceives as a predator. Anything out of the ordinary or unfamiliar will put him on high alert. Some horses are more sensitive and alert in this way than others, but all horses have these instincts and can be unpredictable. On the other hand, we, as humans, are predators. Our instincts are completely different than the horse. We act direct and focused, while the horse is constantly scanning his surroundings, taking in changes by sight and smell. The horse’s instincts tell him that he must not be too focused, that instead he needs to be always looking everywhere, always vigilant.
Horses are also herd animals; they find comfort and safety in a group. To a horse, being alone means being in danger. Horses have a hierarchy in their herds, the more dominant types establish themselves as leaders, and the others fall into their place somewhere down the pecking order. Horses tend to correct each other’s bad behavior with a quick aggressive move, then the issue is forgotten and everyone goes back to grazing.
Horses are also highly sensitive to changes in emotion and energy. When in a group, horses are acutely aware of each other. If one horse hears a rustle in the weeds and tenses up, the rest of the group senses it immediately and they are suddenly on high alert as well. It is for this reason that horses are so good at sensing our emotions. They feel us sit nervously in the saddle, and they become nervous as well, looking for whatever danger we must be seeing. It is very important that you are relaxed and calm when riding and working with horses, if you are not, the horses will pick it up immediatly. In the next section, I will talk more about overcoming your fear around horses and learning how to relax.
We are so lucky that the horse is willing to work with us, trust us, and even allow us to ride on their backs even though everything about our nature screams that we are predatory. If you are mindful about the nature of the horse as you interact with them you will be a much better rider and horseman or horsewoman. Contrary to what some trainers may say, we cannot change the nature of the horse. Instead we should look to understand their nature and find better ways to work with horses and communicate with them. It is the sensitive and intuitive nature of the horse that makes riding such a special and unique experience.”
If you like this, you can get the rest of the book and the video that accompanies it at www.crklearntoride.com. You can also buy the kindle edition of the book below for only $3.99.
Thanks to Luis Torres Del Valle for the above photograph of my mare, Penelope and another of my favorite horses, Fudge!