I'm actually loving having some of my horses get "vicious" in role play.
Sunrise has never play acted vicious - she's not got any hangups I think.
But Rosie (half crazed rangy tb
) USED to be vicious in reality, constantly leaving scars on the other horses from her teeth.. and occasionally me when I wasn't quick enough.. I've had her tooth and hoof marks decorating my hide a few times...
But something just extraodinary has happened. From the moment that she understood that I was encouraging and celebrating her wild play, even the crazy vicious demonic looking stuff, she has become like docile pet.. hardly bites the other horses, and has chosen to be my best friend, and allow me to take liberties (like applying ointment to her tummy, or checking her feet) that I formerly had to fight her for. It seems as if releasing her agression in role play is allowing her to relieve her frustrations, old fears, tension, and connect with her thinking, calm self after. And she no hint that her role playing would ever spill over into actual harm.
Donald, what does your background in psychology tell you about this?
That every horse, human, and situation is unique and special and deserves attention and analysis on its own merit...not trying to fit into a predetermined pattern.
AND has a unique chance to explore this way, despite the limits of the written word as we reveal our discoveries to each other.
I've said before in expressing my appreciation and excitement about AND:
Each of us, you and I, are exploring at the frontier of the new horse/human association. We are, it seems, finding ways to blend the two beings in new ways.
The majority of you members are far ahead of me in your exploration.
It appears to me that you are, with your partners, examining and exploring as I did with children when I was practicing, what the potentials are. And of course the common denominator is 'healing,' just as you suggest so strongly.
... snip for brevity ...
Not saying that I would recommend to others that they encourage this agressive play with their horses.. only because I don't know how capable others are or what their relationship with their horses is. Of course, it COULD be dangerous.
A small point. Standard methods of riding and training are already shown to be sometimes dangerous.
Those that practice the standard methods would have those with an AND philosophy think otherwise. That they are safer, and we are more in danger.
That's not, at this time, quantifiable, but I hope one day to read that indeed WE have fewer injures and deaths related to being with horses than they do. (Forgive my crudeness of mind, but I work with data, and I like data).
Each of us would be wise to follow the direction you expressly point to above.
And so, WE individually have the responsibility for our horses, and ourselves, and for others that might be part of the exploration.
The great wonder we feel when our horse trusts us and of course the trust we feel for them in return is the counterpoint to this great strong beast at play and at his survival work.
That does not require us to become careless. I fact, philosophically we could say we are MORE aware of the risks.
I believe it is respectful of the horse to remember his and our history. We both were once prey.
And we were once their predator as well.
For my part, this humbles me more when they trust me, and I remember our history.
Being as I'd prefer to live, I'll honor the horse's right to retain his instinctive survival skills. And be responsible for myself.
What you are seeing, from a therapeutic viewpoint:
Could it be that you have given, as others might be doing with Chase the Tiger as well, the tool of survival back to them and thus they feel safer with you, and in general?
I can almost hear your horse's sigh of relief all the way across the Pacific.
Our history in breeding and taming them has been, as was recently remarked here, to suppress, and control, and even deny them this innate wildness the must have, from their viewpoint.
What a wonderful mystery to explore.
To you and all, stay safe.