Gem Twist wrote:
Does anyone else seem to have this with their horses? Can anyone explain this to me on why he seems to feel he needs to be told whats going on?
I do this with my horses. Put yourself in Laskas place, a friend approached took hold of your arms and started swinging them from side to side. My guess is that you would become either angry or frightened but if your friend said they were doing this to ease your sore neck, just an example, your response would be different. I can't see why it is different with animals they still need to understand why we do certain stuff to them.
Hope that helps.
I've discussed equine/human communication before, and I've made this point before, but will expand on it just a bit.
Let me begin by saying that I do not believe that horses have a very large vocabulary of human words they understand as we understand them. On the other hand they have their own level of communication understanding that likely surpasses ours, but is very very different than ours.
We have lost, I think, through evolution, some of the very things horses have developed over time into powerful communication tools. I believe, for instance, that they can smell a thought. And that they can understand or sense in their own way the intent of the one whose thought they smell.
In other words, they understand intent better than we, though at a less accurate level we do occasionally understand another's intent.
For them though, intent is just about everything in communication. And their sense of smell, hearing sounds we cannot (like your heartbeat if you are riding them, and your respiration, no matter how quietly you may be breathing), as well as "patterns" of behavior, all give them a much clearer picture of intent than we are capable of forming.
How do WE deal about intent in our communication? We TALK. A lot. Or we don't talk at critical moments.
But talk is what we do. And if we talk congruently with our feelings then we SMELL RIGHT to them.
We move right, we sound right (timbre of voice, tone, etc.), our hearts beat at a certain rate, we breath at a certain rate and volume, all this tells them what our intent is.
To be congruent in our intent WE must speak, or we must learn to be so centered that even in silence of voice, everything else gives out the message of our intent.
That is why some people can be around horses and calm them without even speaking. Their breath gives the peaceful intent away to the horse. As does their internal organ sounds.
Do I have research that supports this I can cite? No, not in particular, but recent research does show that horses can very well sense our state of "expectation," about a pending anxiety provoking event. I laughed at the report because my experience is that they are capable of sensing directly far more subtle things than anxiety. And responding in kind.
Bonnie is doing things with me that no horse I've owned or worked with has ever done before, though Koko, my QH stallion came close to some of the things she does. But with Bonnie we, Kate and I, began socialization very carefully, and focused on congruity. If I am upset with Bonnie I am very clear with her about it. If I am feeling loving and nurturing I make sure she knows it.
And if I have to doctor a scratch I again am clear about what I intend to do, and yes, I sometimes use my voice, I talk, but NOT TO TELL HER WORDS, but to talk to myself, though I address her, to shape myself into a congruent whole for her to read.
I know others here who do this. And the method is less important than the doing, and the goal - to be as utterly congruent with our horses as we can possibly be. The result, besides getting on about business, is this: trust. No small thing. We accomplish little between us of any worth without it. That is between humans and between humans and horses. It's the same for horses. They survive together a great deal by being able to trust, so it makes sense they've have very heightened sensory abilities.
I will continue to talk to my horses, but I am sure the non-horse person, and many horse persons as well, will not know what is actually happening.
I took up congruent language too with the horses of every student of mine this past year. My students must think it rather funny not only the way I talk to their horses, but especially that I wuffle their nostrils as an invitation to exchange breath, and the horse's never refuse.
I've had only one complaint. And that is when the horse is being worked as I give a lesson if it's confused the rider has trouble keeping it from coming to me. New work for the horse almost always results in the horse turning into the circle where I am standing. I've suggested we let the horse do this a few times so I can explain to the horse what is wanted.
One horse in particular has become almost too calm for her work. She just would rather hang out with me. I have to be stern with her to convince her that indeed, I DO want her to do what the rider is asking.
My experiments with Bonnie include "discipline." That is I expect her to maintain respect for boundaries. She's young so I'm very tolerant of her mistakes and exuberance but she shows very clear signs of working on "the problem," I present to her. More and more she is "thinking," things through.
The poor student in the dyad of Bonnie and I is myself. My time is spent more in the old way than the new. I have to remind myself almost continually to be congruent and to communicate to her more fully.
Instead of "move over," I have to remember to say to her, "I need to get by, please move over."
"I'll clean your hoof if you'll 'gimmeyourlittlefoot'" instead of just yanking her leg off the ground (which I could do, as I know the pressure points to rudely force a horse to lift their leg).
I could train her to submit. I won't. I'll ask politely because it's good for ME to do so. Good for my karma, and good for my mental health.
And other than being misunderstood by those not in the know, not the least trouble for me.
Does it work?
Am I right about human/equine communication?
We'll see in time.