In her introduction Ania posted this video of Hempfling speaking about a video clip
that shows a woman playing with the horse. In the end the horse kicks the woman.
But I would like to say that not everybody is able to interact with thats dominant horse, and many people (like me at the past) made a lot of misteakes. Very offen anger is interpret as good fun
I'm not this much interested in the aspect of dominance but this really made me think about how we interpret the behaviour of our horse, how we notice its feelings and needs?
How can we prevent misinterpretation and misunterstanding?
I think that we can hardly ever be completely sure that we evaluate the horses behaviour right. Even though there are some common signals, these signals can be the result of many different reasons and there may be different meanings one signal can communicate. For example, when the horse flattens its ears this can result from pain, anger or fear, it can mean that the horse wants the human to go away, to give a treat, to stop what the human does, it may be only a habit the horse does in different situations and so on...
My main goal is to make the horse feel good. But how can I reach this goal if I'm never sure when the horse feels good? I can only assume that I get it right what my horse wants to tell me. So I need to find a way to be as sure as I can that I got it right. Until now I have found three aspects that may be useful: Observe the horse with other horses
I may get a better understanding for the meanings of the the horses behaviour when I see how other horses react to it. That premises that other horses are better in reading the body language than I am but I as they are a members of the same species, I think this is very probable. Maybe this can be helpful in learning to see the difference between play and fight, fun and aggression.Try to see smaller signs and details
I want to react to the information the horse gives me before it has to become louder. On the one hand, I think this is important to stay safe because if the horse sees the only option in doing what it did before more emphatically than it may hurt me sometime because of the lack of other options. On the other hand, I think that this reason isn't necessarily given, as long as the horse has the option to step out of the interaction or we have agreed about signals that always get a special reaction from the human and therefore it is easy for the horse to change the situation.
Nevertheless, I want to be able to see the details the facial expression and the body of the horse shows me so that we don't need static signals all the time.Develop your own language and show the horse safe ways to express its needs
As I wrote before I see a chance in interpreting the horses behaviour right by establishing signals the horse gives the human that always chause the same reaction of the human. Ali described how she introduced a signal that shows her to get off from the horses back
, this seems to be a useful way. I think this could be done with many other behaviours too, for example going away or stopping to touch the horse. A disadvantage is that the communication gets less diverse and the body language does not come so naturally from horse and human anymore. Nevertheless, I think that it is usefull if we want to make sure that the horse can tell us something special in a safe way and that the horse knows that we will react to it.
But still these signals cannot give information about what causes the horse to want the human to stop what he does.
So, these are my first thoughts about the topic. I am very interested in how you interpret the behaviour of the horse especially when it comes to the safety aspect?