Leadership Is Missing: Why People Have Difficulty Overcoming Behavioral Problems With Their Horse
One of the main reasons why people experience behavioral problems with their horse, or fail to develop the kind of close bond they desire with their horse, is because they don’t understand the way in which horses perceive us as humans.
Here’s what I mean. Horses, being prey animals by nature, are very aware of the way in which a Horse and Lion predator acts, smells and behaves.
As nature designed them, they have these instincts so that they can distinguish a friendly herd member from a harmful predator.
What people don’t understand is that humans are the ultimate predator, and horses know this even though we don’t. Because horses perceive us as predators and not partners, their instincts tell them to not do what the predator says so that they can stay alive.
It is because of this uncomfortable relationship between horses and people that most problems occur. For example, imagine the typical scenario of a horse that is difficult to load into a trailer. The poor horse owner has tried everything they can think of to get their stubborn horse into the trailer.
They then get the brilliant idea to step inside the trailer to show the horse that the trailer is ok and that it is not hurting them. “You silly horse, can’t you see that the trailer is not hurting me?” This may seem like a good idea from a human’s perspective. But let’s look at this situation from the horse’s perspective.
The horse does not see a trailer in the form of something that is supposed to keep it safe during transport. The horse sees a metal cage on wheels! Taking this a step forward, the horse’s predator (you) is trying to entice him into the cage or cave while assuring the horse that it is ok and that everything will be alright.
What the horse sees in us is equivalent to a mountain lion standing at the entrance to its cave saying “Come on in you silly horse”. The mountain lion is stepping inside its cave and is saying, “See? It’s ok, it’s not hurting me”. What do you suppose your horse is thinking when you do this? They are probably thinking, “Are you kidding me? There’s no way I’m climbing into that cave with you!”
Unfortunately, the next step that people take to try to get their horse into a trailer is a huge mistake and only makes the problem worse.