Are you looking for an excuse? This can explain some of the behavior of your horse

by maxx

January 21, 2021


We generally tend to look for excuses for the behavior of our animals.

Especially in dog training, phrases like “He’s never done that before!” have reached national prominence and always elicit a smile from us (depending on the situation).

Also in horse training there are phrases we hear over and over again. Phrases like:

“He usually never does that!”

“He’s just young!”

“That’s just a stallion / mare”

…and many more. Because there must be a reason for the behavior of our horses and of course they are allowed to have bad and good days – we have those too.

But there are a few rules that simply must not be broken.

Because I hope that there are a few rules for you, too, that you just always keep. Even if you have a bad day.

Just imagine you go to a restaurant.

The waiter is in a bad mood and serves you your food without any fun.

Maybe that’s why you give him an extra friendly smile or mirror his rude manner.

But hopefully you won’t get up and throw him into the next corner just because his service attitude isn’t what you would have liked him to be.

You also won’t leave without paying (unless the waiter just doesn’t bring you a bill after repeated requests), but you might forgo the tip.

So even if we always wish for the most harmonious and respectful interaction possible with our fellow human beings, we will not always get it – even through no fault of our own.

And yet, even on bad days, most people will remember their good childhood manners and won’t go after you, push you, bite you or kick you for no reason.

And that also counts for our horses – and for ourselves!

Because no matter who of us has a bad day:

Neither you have the right to physically attack your horse because of it, nor your horse has the right to push, kick or bite you.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a stallion, a gelding or a mare in heat – some rules just always apply.

And safety comes first – and before harmony and trust.

Because it’s the fundament for it. And with horses in our densely populated homeland, it is indispensable in order not to put yourself, your horse or even third parties in danger.

Before you start worrying that we are humanizing our horses too much with my restaurant example:

For horses, polite etiquette applies in more ways than one!

Because they are much less moody and emotional than we are.

They would never question the herd leader simply on a mood – at most, they would refrain from a game or a crawl.

His sovereignty, the confidence that he (or rather she) will provide the best possible protection and care for the herd, nevertheless remains unchallenged.

Unless the hierarchy is in upheaval or the herd leader is getting old – but even in horses, leadership qualities do not necessarily have anything to do with physical strength.

So what is there to consider on bad days with your horse?

Of course, you can and should be considerate of your horse’s condition – whether mental or physical.

But with your behavior you can influence this condition of your horse positively.

By being his rock in every situation. Give him security, something he can orientate himself on. His support, whom he can trust.

This means that, if possible, you always give your horse a fixed framework within which your interaction takes place.

This framework includes above all a fair and consistent treatment and a certain predictability on which your horse can always rely.

This also includes fixed rules that your horse can always follow – and that you yourself always implement without becoming emotional.

Often we tend to protect our horse, e.g. when he is in heat or when there is a stallion with mares around (insert another difficult situation for your horse here).

We don’t take it with the rules so exactly any more, react much later than normal – but with it we mostly only unsettle our horse even more instead of doing him something good.

Because especially in special situations, we as the “herd leader” are asked to give our horse an extra portion of security.

We have to give our horses the feeling that we have the situation under control and that everything is fine, especially in exciting situations or in moments when their heads are perhaps somewhere else.

And we convey this to the horse not by pushing or being pulled around, but only with a nice reminder that the situation is not that exciting and the horse can calmly occupy himself with orienting himself to us and keeping the rules for our interaction.

Again, this has nothing to do with strictness or harshness – rather, it has to do with benevolent guidelines that give our horse security at every moment and allow his trust in us to grow.

Of course you are allowed to have empathy with your horse.

But pity often only makes many situations worse.

Because your horse senses when something is wrong with you – but it doesn’t sense why.

And since horses have completely different worries than we humans do, it happens far too often in everyday life that the horse blames various environmental stimuli for our inner restlessness, work stress or nervousness that we carry around with us, and thus becomes much more unsettled.

So always try to keep the image of the “rock in the surf” in mind and give your horse more security with your rules instead of “mothering” him – this actually often has rather the opposite effect.

In this sense I wish you many many good days with your horse and even more sovereignty, empathy and good leadership qualities – because you can never have enough of them 😉

All the love,

Your Kenzie

Circensic Seminar by Kenzie Dysli

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