When we welcome horses into our lives, we make a life change. Sure for ourselves, but more importantly for the horse. Even those who had been with and enjoyed the company of horses all of, or most of their lives have had those moments. For some there have been many of those life changing moments. I’ve had my share. I’ve learned from the horses I’ve known how difficult that transition can be for the horse. I fear folks sometimes don’t totally understand the depth of emotions horses carry.
Their emotions run deep, far deeper and much more powerful than most horses show. It is a horse’s nature to conceal their emotions, pain and confusion. Keeping secrets is their most powerful defense mechanism.
Oh sure nearly every person recognizes pinned ears, the tight eye, swishing tail. We all smile at the nicker, nuzzle and run to great us. We understand the refusals, crowhops, and willing softness and cooperation. But do we catch the hidden displays of emotions? How can we if they’re hidden?
When horses make a move into our world, our lives, it is a wonderful and extraordinary thing for us. It is a monumental thing for the horse, but most horses are masters of disguise.
Horses memories last a lifetime, and so do the emotions that are attached to those memories. Even if the horse is owned, ridden and loved by the same person when moved to a new boarding facility, that horse will pine for friends it left behind and need to adjust to the new horses in her world. Read my story, “There is more to our story.” Imagine the horse moved from one owner to another, and a new home all at the same time. And many horses endure that far too often. It took Kessy six months to accept and enjoy a hug.
|Kessy loves her hugs now. She'll even come ask for a hug.|
How can we see and feel those hidden emotions? The most important aid is to understand our horses are not “for us.” They are “part of us.” We don’t have a horse “for us” to show, trail ride, jump, barrel race or learn dressage. Our horse makes those things possible for us, because they are “part of us.” See the world from your horse’s point of view, be part of her, and quickly you’ll gain an understanding of those moments when your best friend just “seems a little off.”
Gitty Up, Dutch Henry