by Alan Brownlie

Horses are incredibly tuned in to what’s happening around them. They have had to be for their survival because they are prey animals. Since we’re predators, they are even more aware of our actions and intent. Whereas we constantly flip between past, present and future, they are focused on the right here and now.

Their eyes aren’t like ours, they see all around.  They hear the  same way with their ears from virtually all directions.  Although they communicate using rudimentary sounds, they are masters in the art of non-verbal body language. This results in them being able to read us pretty much ‘like a book’.

Horses are very, very hard to fool and want simple and direct messages from us.  They have a very strong herd instinct and when approached properly will bond with us if we can show them that we are calm honest, strong, friendly leaders. We can facilitate this not by forcing our foreign language upon them, but by learning and using their language and then dealing with them openly and directly. The indirect systems of communication we use in our complex social structure do not work well. Playing it straight does!

Unlike us, all horses, having lived in a herd structure, speak the same language. But like us, they are all different from one another to the extent we allow or encourage them to be. Some are the strong, silent, thoughtful type. Some are the quick to react, impulsive kind. There can be playful, curious, and inquisitive types, and friendly, stand offish and gregarious types. For these characteristics they can be loved, appreciated, and put up with, but can also be the source of frustration until we figure them out. When we do we can appreciate them as a source of great enjoyment and enlightenment and they can help us to get back to simple basics of life. Some like to call these unique variations ‘horsenalities’. Persons working with a horse can appreciate a similar personality to their own or learn to relate to a dissimilar personality in a simple straight forward way, free from the anxieties and depressions we often experience when dealing with other humans in trying situations. In summary we could learn a lot about ourselves and others from our HORSES.