We had a funny incident at the barn a few weeks ago where hubby tripped and fell down. All the horses took off running away! I told him that they were hoping that his body would delay the invisible mountain lion from getting to them.
Horses are about moving all the time but yet have a connection (Carolyn calls it magnetic) with each of us. Their group is web, sometimes we are farther away but always connected.
For the life of me I cannot remember where I learned this little tidbit. I think possibly I just figured it out watching how horses react at liberty.
I do know it came to mind when I was attacked by a stallion while I was on horseback, had my leg kicked and broken, and after dismounting fell flat on the ground when I tried to walk.
I had an elderly man with me riding on my own mare, well broken mare at that, but a bit flighty. Arabian x SB. He, out of concern for me rode up close to me and stepped down from her ... which I was telling him NOT to do.
Hoping I could get him to dismount a distance away, let me get partially to my feet so she'd recognize me again and could be brought to me to ride out of the pastures.
She of course, seeing an animal on the ground (me, of course) and no longer having a human in control on her back, wheeled and took off. She being my only transportation back to the barn over a mile away. The gelding I had been riding was long gone with the stallion chasing him.
The story had a good ending, but not the point here, of course. Gelding safe, stallion safe, old man safe, my mare safe. No one got a scratch but me, and my saddle, which the stallion was biting all the way until the gelding was clear of the stallion's herd.
(Though nearly forty years later, I sit here feeling the ache in my leg and hip brought on by the weather and work, originating from that one powerful kick from the stallion).
I had trained my mare under saddle to be calm and handle fearful events. She trusted her rider. But I had not done much ground work with her on "demons that crawl through the grass and leap up and grab little horsies by the throat and kill them."
Of course, the fear of something alive, or that could come alive, crouched down low to the ground is innate in horses. Heck, humans watch for that too. We were also prey as well as predator ourselves.
But what is most peculiar is that the same object, to a horse, standing upright, is something entirely different when seen laying prone.
From that time on I trained, from the ground as well as mounted, every horse I worked with to deal with "potential sabertoothed tigers" more calmly and look to the human to protect them.
Of course the complication with this exercise came when I used myself as the "potential sabertoothed tiger," on the ground. I was something of a curiosity in the horse world around me because of the strange things I'd do in training and handling horses. As you might imagine this wasn't the only strange thing I chose to do.
And those came about because I did so much horse watching.
Your husband transformed, as surely as those kids toys, from human form into sabertoothed tiger when he hit the ground.
I fancy that one side of the horse brain processes upright animals, and the other side, prone ones, animals, that conform more to images of creeping predators in the horsey mind. And that ordinarily, without special training they are not well able to discriminate between.
It fit in with my later training objective of stopping and standing quietly if a rider fell from the horse. Many times when a rider falls he or she becomes the ancient beast from species memory that will rise and attack again I think.
We've all seen occasions of how the horse pulls back from the fallen rider and hangs back against the reins if the rider hasn't sense enough to let go.
Naturally I could not have lesson horses doing that, so I trained a lot of horses to not be afraid of the fallen rider. Or "husband on the ground."
Donald, the loquacious, with too much coffee in him.