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WHAT DO HORSES THINK?

I think a lot when I am around my horses and am constantly challenging my thinking and checking in 'Does it make sense?'. We have not the feintest idea what horses actually think so I try and come from a horse's perspective. As a prey animal it's abssolute priority is security. Without this of course nothing else matters. Then sustenance and finally procreation. Now I keep all my sport's horses stabled except for a good hour or 2 of work 6 days a week. None of them have stable vices, they are all polite and well-behaved. Add to that when I let them out the stable loose they will happily wander back in again after a short while it makes me think. For a human of course nothing could be worse than being 'imprisoned' in a stable. But that's just it it is the human perspective. Yes, but horses have long legs and need to move all the time. But the long legs are for running from predators. The ancestors of the modern horse were small, short-legged beasts. And then a horse came to me recently who I know well and had been with me 7 months ago for training. When he came back this time he was very nervy but after just a day or 2 back in the stable he is his old self. And that got me thinking what had happened? Well, out in the field (remember the horse can't logicalise) he is exposed to danger the whole time and must be constantly on his guard. In the stable, he is safe and as long as he has company, is well-nourished and exercised regularly why would he want to go anywhere else, or at least, it clearly doesn't harm him. Now I am not saying that turnout is not a good thing, just musing on a myth that horses must be turned out as much as possible in order to be content. Next time you observe your horses turned out take a look. They eat for up to 16 hours a day, rest and stand doing not much for the majority of the time: no videos, no books, no holidays. They're not human and I believe as horsemen the onerous is on us to keep that front and centre when we work them. Next week i'm going to talk more about poor behaviour and nervousness and what might cause it. A recent insight I had has taken me quite by surprise...

Samsara Equitation Equine Rehab Centre - nr. Whitney-on-Wye, HerefordSamsara Equitation Equine Rehab Centre - nr. Whitney-on-Wye, Hereford