Donald Redux wrote:
]Is she, at liberty and with horses, not people, the dominate one?
With horses she is the BOTTOM of the pecking order. She is picked on and is afraid of the other horses.
Hmmm... I think this is going to make sense in a moment.
However, it is vastly different around people. If I were still in the NH mindset, I would say that she is trying to be the alpha and dominate me and that I need to set her in her place.
An alpha mare would be less likely to challenge you. They are usually more curious, more daring, and recognize the obvious alpha human status immediately.
Now the low rank, just like a low rank in pack for a dog, makes the animal both test harder, and look for someone lower than them. Alpha NEVER needs to LOOK for lower. Everyone is automatically lower unless they exhibit alpha characteristics.
The low rank animal is poor at both recognizing it without extensive testing, and has spent their life in the herd "shuffle" of shift heirarchy.
Dominate mares, once their position is clear to the herd is not challenged again until she has passed into incompetence by age and infirmity. And I think it's not a matter of challenge so much as the next ranking mare simply stepping up to the task.
Low rankers are always more difficult to handle.
But like Karen mentioned, maybe there is some sort of pain causing this. I will have her checked over just to make sure.
It never hurts, but do not forget that with low herd rank comes that difficulty with understanding and giving up the challenge of a higher ranking herd member.
What she needs is a dominate herd buddy. That's a little more complicated role to fill but it can be done.
"We can play together, but do NOT challenge me, or no more play," should be the message.
Is this "AND?"
Well, let's discuss that.
If and is about a 'relationship,' as companions between equine and human, what would you expect from a healthy egalitarian relationship with another human?
Would you put up with them threatening to kick "sock" you, to put you in your place?
Or would it be kinder and better for the relationship for you to set boundaries in behavior between you and your human companion?
I suspect we see all kinds of behaviors from AND horses that many horses do not show, because of them being cowed into compliance.
She could just be asserting herself in the moment. A transition phase as the AND principles are being introduced.
I definitely see this as a possibility. We have only had her 2 1/2 months. Her previous owner didn't do much with her at all however, so I don't think it should be that big of a transition phase.
Unless she kicks at you I'll bet it's just testing.
Well, she did kick at me. If I hadn't got out from under the fence as quick as I did, my head might have been kicked instead of the fence.
Sorry, I have to cut this short. I'll be back to write more later.
It will be interesting to see this through with you, and I can guess that other AND members are also interested.
I'd no more let a horse go than a human who 'kicked at me,' or even threatened to.
That is over the boundary. It not only risks me, but others that might also come into range, horse and human.
Unless it's truly defensive (I'd never admonish a horse for kicking at a charging dog, for instance), then it's unacceptable social behavior. We cannot "play," if I have to be THAT careful and frightened for my safety and that of others.
Dakota's owner puts their hay out in the early morning on the way to work, when it is very dark.
He reported to me recently that he felt Dakota's hooves fly right past his head during the food scuffle the two (a pony lives with Dakota) engage in at times.
I never allow them to fight about food when I put out their ration of supplement.
They must settle before I'll feed the first one.
So I have yet another training task for Dakota. And I'll need the owner's assistance.
The hay comes when the behavior is correct. It can be shaped, of course. The owner is very cooperative, and keen to learn about horse behavior and training.
He'll like this, I'm sure.
You frighten me when you tell me she kicked when you were going through the fence in a vulnerable position.
I think human safety is something that AND must look at and think about. Both from the philosophical side (horse's owe us SUCH a payback, historically speaking), but then I don't think we should be severely injured or killed for just that reason.
We could hardly do AND's work for 'the horse," if that were the case. That we had to lay our lives on the line every time we played with our horses.
It's a tough area to examine. I look forward to it though.
How much pressure is unethical, would be a place to start.
And what is and isn't pressure in this context?
Do human to human relationship challenges qualify as a model or partial model to the human to equine one?
And where does ethics come into play here?
I thought of myself, many years ago, just prior to my leaving, for cause, from the horseworld, as an equine ethicist.
I had some very heated arguments with other horsemen and women on issues of ethics in using the horse.
Of course they wrote me off as 'strange.'
Sound familiar to any AND people?