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Who are you to your horse?

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Sandy Biggs of Xenophon Equus Centre says; “Horses see us as one of three things at any given moment:

1. A threat
2. Insignificant
3. A herd buddy.”

When we train horses, it is easy to become so focused on what the horse is doing, that we can forget how the horse perceives us. Horses live in the moment, but they also form strong associations through our repeated actions around them. If we take only an authoritarian approach, the horse may perceive us as threatening. If we never set boundaries for the horse or we often ignore (or do not notice) subtle behaviours indicating that the horse is feeling insecure or unguided, the horse may see us as insignificant. This is typically displayed by what we as humans would consider “rude”, “disinterested”, “unmotivated”, “pushy” or “fresh”. A herd buddy, however, indicates that there is some form of relationship and understanding between horse and human.

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