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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:00 am 
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So this is where I’m stuck—I do believe it is morally acceptable for a human to maintain the role of “alpha” with their horse, but I do not believe that this entitles them to abuse, punishment, or cruelty.


I read it over again and to me this is quite clear. :)

I said it before, but yet again:

As an alpha is chosen, I can not believe a horse would ever choose someone who is abusive as alpha.

Therefore the matter resolves itself.

Being a dominant bully or dictator... the moment your 'subjects' have the chance to ridd themselves of you any which way, they shall.
That is only natural, instinct of self preservation.

Be it horse, human or otherwise.

And sometimes one chooses someone of an other specy to show (part of)the way.
We choose tho follow those who we think or feel is of most benefit to us at that given time do we not?

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:06 pm 
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hello, i love this topic, actually it is a big part of the reason that i was expelled offf the NHE forum. i have had a real lot to do with herds both in captivity, over large acres, and in nature.i have lived with herds all my life and have been fortunate to have experienced first hand living with them. i have studied them and become one of them

i know that the way "Alpha" was intended in this topic was not in a bad way :) , but the actual title Alpha is not the 'leader', the alpha in the herd is not the lead horse, nor the respected one. they are normally socially stunted horses with a bad attitude. in nature there are not many at all, but in captivity they are created all the time! :huh:

these horses normally come about because they are not socialised well, that are put in isolation, and that they are treated in a manner that does not suit the natural inclination of the horse. horses raised like this can be likend to children that have also suffered a situation that goes against the natural way. children of abuse or children not socialised often either become extreamy withdrawn, or they become the agressor. horses are the same.

there is an order to the herd, and there definately is a pecking order, but it is not what people think. it is extreamly flexable, and there is no ladder, everyone has someone that they guide, or that they listen to.

for example, my very very old horse, 36, has next to no standing at all when feed is involved. but he has the most incredible privelage there is. the mares camp their foals with him, and he guides them. now then you have the horse that is totally dominant over food, but when they approach a foal to a lesser dominant mare without permission, the mare will lunge at him, and he will withdraw. i also have a gelding that is an elected leader. he is not dominant over big boy, but when there is a problem, he can bring the entire herd around and not be questioned, even by big boy.

i have around fifty five horses here. my herd that i came to know very very closely is now mixed with my mums. so now ther are alot more young horses in the herd. it is great because they are not horses with issues. so the herd has a whole new dynamic. they do not rely on me so much, but they are working alot better together. they have a better social structure. everyone is given a job, and they do have rank. this is definately needed when there is a disaster. so even in the herd, there are no equals.

i believe in trying to earn the title "elected leader". i am not an Alpha, because i do not use agression to push the horse around, but i definately will elevate my body language and send away a horse for bad behavior. i can freely walk through my herd of mares foals geldings with food and i have a position of respect. but i am also the one that they turn to when there is a problem.

i have had my herd come galloping to the house and call to me, to take me down to an injured horse. i have had horses come and call to me when a horse has gone missing. they turn to me to see how i face danger. i have had some awesome experiences, and at some point i will share them. but i am reserved about this side of things, as it caused me so many problems in the other forum.

i love the way that Karen put it about equality. i think that this satement is fantastic, actually her entire post was.

Quote:
I think a truly equal relationship isn't possible, simply because we confine our horses and we ourselves are not confined. We make decisions for them at times without consulting them. Not that we could specifically consult them, but you know what I mean. Sometimes things must be done, whether the horse wants it or not. In other words, my horse can tell me that his teeth hurt him, but he's not going to suggest I call the vet and have his teeth floated. And horses need to be trained to accept this, or be drugged. They have no say in it.


i actually thought that her answer was brilliant. i too think that we take the leader position, we chose for them what is safe and what is not. we decide so many things on their behalf that it is most definately not equal. i love my horses truely, and they are family. but i do not walk in to their paddocks and believe that they are on equal footing to me. it would actually be dangerouse to me to be consdered equal.

i need to enter the herd with total confidence and with an aire of arrogance, because i must believe that i am the strong and great leader that the herd needs. i must have no fear, i must know that i am safe, because fear unfortunately is normally associated with agression from man. i have had horses charge at me because of their hatred to humans( i have alot of rescue horses from extream situations). i have had threats and i have had very very close calls, but when i stand my ground and lift my energy up to its max and walk towards the horse knowing that I AM THE LEADER, i know that i am not equal. i am not there to inflict pain, nor am i there to dominate the horse into submission, but i am there as a guider, and my believing that i have the highest ranking gives me that power, so that i can do what is best for them.

there is alot going on at the moment, so i have not been able to concerntrate, but i will finish reading all the posts on this thread tomorro, and then i will probably realise that i was totally off base and that what i have said is irrelevant. :blush: :blush: i am sorry if it has been! :f: i hope that i have said something that makes sense. ;)

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:29 pm 
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Quote:
hello, i love this topic, actually it is a big part of the reason that i was expelled offf the NHE forum. i have had a real lot to do with herds both in captivity, over large acres, and in nature.i have lived with herds all my life and have been fortunate to have experienced first hand living with them. i have studied them and become one of them


Glad you are here to share your massive knowledge with us then :)

Quote:
know that the way "Alpha" was intended in this topic was not in a bad way , but the actual title Alpha is not the 'leader', the alpha in the herd is not the lead horse, nor the respected one. they are normally socially stunted horses with a bad attitude. in nature there are not many at all, but in captivity they are created all the time!


what's in a name, this is probably how discussions start :)
When I say Alpha I mean 'elected leader'

All others are in my view dominant anti social horses, mostly indeed brought up by humans and lacking a lot of horse education...
This was also discussed here before, but I can not remember which topic.
It was about people saying that horses use violence on each other in nature and therefore they themselves could use violence on horses.
The question was how to respond to that and then I said that what others viewed as 'in nature' was actually 'in paddock with anti social horses brought up by human, not knowing how to live in a herd etc.'

That is why people think that alpha and bully is the same.

in the rest of your brilliant post you describe how I have come to experience horses and their horse culture and how I describe it to people.
I am glad to have you, with this vast experience on the subject, seeing it the same way! :)

Quote:
i need to enter the herd with total confidence and with an aire of arrogance, because i must believe that i am the strong and great leader that the herd needs. i must have no fear, i must know that i am safe, because fear unfortunately is normally associated with agression from man.


And that is what makes a great alpha! That is also exactly what I mean!
One IS an alpha or one is not! there is no way of faking it, especially with horses. And this is why you are the elected leader (Which I thus call Alpha) and the same reason why other's are and the rest is not.

Quote:
i have had horses charge at me because of their hatred to humans( i have alot of rescue horses from extream situations). i have had threats and i have had very very close calls, but when i stand my ground and lift my energy up to its max and walk towards the horse knowing that I AM THE LEADER, i know that i am not equal.


I have had the same... and this is exactly what I meant with the natural instinct of self preservation.
I do not think it is real hatred. It's just about keeping one's health and not walking into the same trap again.
With my own Alpha - elected leader Owen, he charged at me several times and one time I could not get away so I just stood there. I felt I could not be the boss of him in any way. So I simply surrendered.
And that was enough, his agression dropped right then and there and from the of on he started to trust me and we started to become friends.

About being equal, that too can be seen as 'what's in a name'. When one is a true leader, one is elected. Because a true leader always serves those who elected him or her. The 'followers' know the leader is intelligent, experienced, knows how to make connections and has more logic then average, has a huge ability to love, and loves the ones that put themselves in his or her care so much that he shall always make choices for their benefit but still knows how to take care of him/herself.
Because he sees them as equals. It is just that every one has his own special unique ability and for the leader, that happens to be just that, bein a leader.
So everyone has his own unique place. And for me, one can only be a true leader, a natural alpha, an elected leader, when one sees every one equal to himself.
And in that respect, I would define equal as 'just as important'

So we think a like, but put different names on different things :)

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:48 pm 
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So interesting to read about your observation with your herd, Jess!! :)

jessplum wrote:
i know that the way "Alpha" was intended in this topic was not in a bad way :) , but the actual title Alpha is not the 'leader', the alpha in the herd is not the lead horse, nor the respected one. they are normally socially stunted horses with a bad attitude. in nature there are not many at all, but in captivity they are created all the time! :huh:


I think you only have a different use of the terms than many people in this forum. Over here the horse often referred to as "alpha" is what you call a leader and what you call an alpha is called a dominant horse (or simply just a bully ;)) by many people here.

Quote:
i too think that we take the leader position, we chose for them what is safe and what is not. we decide so many things on their behalf that it is most definately not equal.

...

i need to enter the herd with total confidence and with an aire of arrogance, because i must believe that i am the strong and great leader that the herd needs.


I totally agree with you that we are not equal (for the reasons I stated in my post above) and also that there are things where we have to be the one to decide. BUT for me this is limited to situations where it is necessary. In all the rest of our interaction I don't feel that I have to make the impression of a leader, just because leadership is no issue in those situations.

I think that's the same for humans. Just an example: Some weeks ago, I went for dinner with two very dear friends of mine, Leon and Katrin. Leon is a professor and Katrin is his secretary. So he most definitely is her boss and more than that, he is a person that you totally trust and admire, not because of his position but because of his character. A real alpha so to say. Throughout the entire evening there was not one situation where he met her with an expression of arrogance or being in any way superior to her - mostly not even showing a lot of confidence. In fact there were situations where she made fun of him (or I and her together, which is when he has no chance anymore and all he can do is give up :twisted: :green:). And most of all we just had fun without ever thinking about one of them being higher in rank. Oh, and when they are talking about activities with children for example, Katrin is the one who is clearly leading the conversation - just because she has more to say in that area.

What I meant to say with this example is that although he clearly is the boss in one area of life, there are at least just as many situations where he neither has to display it nor be it. I think that a big share of all this leadership is very situational, both in terms of being necessary and being clearly defined. That is what I want to have with my horses, too. Be the one who decides when I must, have them be the ones who decide whenever they can and most of the time just meeting each other at one level. Not being equal, but with no one of us being superior.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:37 pm 
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oh, i totally agree. i can see how use of words can be confusing. i had not read many of the posts befor i decided i wanted to write about my experience with herds.

i do know exactly what you mean Josephea, i think what one person thinks equal means is not what another person thinks. i feel that my horse should not feel owned, but a member of my family. i feel that horses think and feel on a far greater level than peopple know.

i know that horses an communicate in an intricate way, using energy, bodylanguage, and expression, and therefor they have a language, and according to modern thought, thus demands a level of respect as an inteligent being.

i love my horses in a way that i describe as being like my own children. i will do anything to make them happy, and i will not do anything that is to their detriment. i am sad when people trade horses, and they treat them like objects. i feel that all animals are able to experience great ranges of emotion, and i wll not purposfully hurt an animal. ( i have been told that i am wrong because i cannot even kill mice, but i know that they are just as intelligent and able to feel)

we are all worthy of fair treatment, and we are all equally heree on this earth to appreciate life. we are equal in that sence. i think that i thought that equal meant something different.

Romy. i do know exactly what you mean. i do not even think about the position that i hold when i am with the horses that i play with. they are free to be comical and playful with me. when we are having one on one, we are just two friends having a great time together. :love: :love:

and i love love love yourillustration on your friends. that is so exactly how it is!!! you could not have explained it better! :applause:

i do love this topic, but i think that i have to read it all. i am not good at concerntrating on words. i am dyslexic, and reading irritates me, but i am enjoying this, but it will just take me a little while to get through it!! :D

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:19 pm 
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Well I am slightly ADD...not diagnosed, just certain of it. Or maybe just undisciplined. I read so much as a child, but now it is very hard for me to take the time and focus to read carefully with good comprehension. I have to work at if very hard!

Quote:
but i will finish reading all the posts on this thread tomorro, and then i will probably realise that i was totally off base and that what i have said is irrelevant.


Nothing is ever irrelevant if it comes from your own heart and mind. And often it is just a very good mental exercise to put our thoughts into written words in order to explore them, sort them and begin to clarify them. So please feel free, always, to express your ideas whether they are similar to someone else' or not!

:f:

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:43 pm 
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I think and feel much the same Jess... :yes:
Horses and a lot of animals have served many purposes for humans as 'object for survival and work'.
Now the time has come that animals serve their last purpose to us humans.
To help us find our true selves again and finally evolve to their (spiritual and pure) level.

I truly believe we are very fortunate to be living at the dawn of humaneties greatest transformation... from surviving, to living to being.
Call me crazy, I know... :alien:

But I do think my relationship with Owen is really interesting as I do not see myself as his leader, and still I can not be safer with anyone than him apart from my partner Ralph.

with all other horses, I have to be selected as leader, to make things practical :) The way you describe.

@ Romy, maybe it is time for that AND FAQ, hey?

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:59 pm 
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Josepha wrote:
@ Romy, maybe it is time for that AND FAQ, hey?


Yes! :) The problem is only that on many questions there are as many answers as there are people.

But you are right, some issues and questions come up more often than you can reply. For example I feel that I can't write a single word about my opinion on using treats anymore, because I have done this soooo many times.

So what I am doing now is posting links to threads where the issue has been discussed already. At home I started making a list with links today. Now I am at work, but I think I will just do this list again and then we can make a sticky in the Research section or as a general announcement about where all those links to threads on certain topics can be found.

I will start asap! :)


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:55 pm 
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I have the same, and great idea!
So happy to have you :kiss:

But I think that certain things like indeed equality and alpha could be difened as 'how does AND see it'
So people just know what we mean, that's all.
And of course can disagree as much as they want too :green:

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:28 pm 
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For a long time I was really comfortable thinking about my guys as family, and more specifically, as four-legged children.

I'm finding now (thanks in part to Stardust's revolt of a few weeks ago, both in my psyche as I dreamed about him and in reality when Patrice's buddy Margaretta came to visit and Stardust dissed me as clearly as a horse can diss a human ;) ), that, too, has shifted.

The lenses in my glasses changed again, and I suddenly saw Stardust as self-contained, powerful, and an adult. (And as a gloriously manly one at that!) :D

I have come another step in perceiving ourselves as equals -- and am finding the mom/kid language no longer feeling tasty on my tongue. I still think of us as family, but they're feeling more like cousins, or siblings to me now -- Circe, because she's still young, feels like maybe a younger sister, Stardust a peer.

And this feels like it's dramatically changed our relationship again -- he is magnificent and opinionated with a confidence I've never seen in him before -- and more open to me at the same time.

I wonder if the next layer might be seeing him as a wise older brother? I never had one, and always wanted one! :)

I love how fluid this is becoming for us -- I love how much I'm learning about us and how we interact and how that is changing long-held perceptions!

:)
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:30 pm 

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Leigh,
I agree. They change from "children" to adult children, and just like adult children the relationship completely changes.
Jessy, it is so great to have you share from your experience what I could only learn from books so far. Having only one horse makes it so much more difficult to learn about horse body language and herd behavior so your input is really important for me.
I was also thinking that our exchange of information on this forum is so much like what you described about horses relating in a herd. Everyone has a different area of expertise and/or experience and will over time be recognized as a leader in that area. At the same time everyone has areas where they need to learn so much more from everyone else and become the student.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:13 pm 
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:evil: Birgit, i think that sounds just right. i think this forum does worrk like a herd, because it is like a family. although i think this family works better than mine LOL!!! :lol: :lol: mine has more arguements, and i have not seen one of them on here! :D

Karen and romy, i just love the very warm way you express the way you feel, i cannot imagine how special your horses muust have to have a fiend as wonderful as you are.

Leigh. i know exactly what you mean. i see all the horses that i have around as my family members, and people have laughed at me when i say, Grenny is like an older brother that i never had!!! i have such deep respect for him, and he is so wise. he is the herd leader, by gentle guidance only, and i see him guiding me in the same loving and kind way. the other day, a member of my family gave someone permission to move him to a small paddock with their horse to keep them comefortable while they were served.

i did not know this, and when i went to do my checks, he was gone. for an hour and a half, i went over every piece of the two hundred or so paddock looking for him frantically. i was in the worst state you could imagine. i thought that i was looking for his body. :sad: :sad: but i found that once i had searched the property and he was not there, i was even more terrified about the prospect that some person had taken him and i did not know where. they could be doing anything to him. :sad: :sad: i was sick in the stomach and at a hysterical point now!!!

i was finally told where he was and i went to him, on seeing this member of my family that i have known deeply for fifteen years i dropped to my knees and threw up. i cant tell you the terrifying feeling. iGren just put his head on mine and did not understand the emotion that i was showing. i sat and cried for a while with him. then i got angry!!! :evil: :evil: i went back to the person that had given permission, and i tore strips off them. i amnormally not someone that becomes agressive., but my protection button had been pushed too far.

my horses are not POSESSIIONS!!! they feel safe that they can live in their herd and be totally confident that they are proected. they are family, and others cannot understand this. Gren is like my brother in a relationship way, but the protection i feel towards him is like that i feel for my children! :love: :love: :love: they cannot protect themselves from people, and they are volnerable. i have now stopped a relationship with a member of my human family, because of deep feelings towards my equine one.

i wanted to share this because it has caused me so much greif that i could barely function yesterday, yet other people do not get it. do you all get why i was so terrible angry. grenadiere is not an object, he has rights, and knowone hasthe right to just use him. he is 25 yr old warmblood, he has a heart murmer, and he is the kindst being i have ever known. the fact that someone thought that they could just let a stranger "grab" him and lock him in a little paddock........oh, imagine the way he felt being removed from his herd....he was voulnerable to the elements, and dogs were near. oh, imagine if we as people were just pulled out of our family and moced to another, without warning...... i am just so upset.

am i too worked up, do i have reason to be? or did i over react? i feel that they were so wrong and i have caused a great division in our family because of it.

i have vented and i should probably not have put this here, but i felt that i needed to. i want people to understand the intensity that is the relationship between horse and human, and i want to know why it is that people do not understand this? they would be upset if i were to give the keys to their car to someone, so how can they not feel the depth of this, when the horse is so much more than an stupid object like a car!

i am sorry.....right off track. but i think that i am pointing out that yes, i am elected leader, but my horses all take on the role of family members, and as an individual, some are at a very high status to me. i see them as a warm and loving and strong and safe person to be with. but as far as protecting them and making the decisions and guiding them , i am the leader.

so Josepha, i totaly and utterly, and completely know what you are saying about the feeling that you have. it sounds like gren and i. i will take some photos of him today. he is the most wonderful horse that i have ever known. he is my friend and i feel safe with him on a deep level, like i would imagine an older and and protective brother to feel like.

well, i have rambled and rambled, yet i do not know if this makes any sense. i think that i have taken this fantastic topic off course, but i think that it makes it a little clearer to me what you are talking about with equals. i think that writing down my feelings has made me see what it is that you are saying, and i do agree. but this feeling seems to come with time, much like getting to know a new person, the relationship takes time, and i think that at first we must be like a leader to them, until they feel safe enough to move from that level to a level with much more equal footing. does that make sense?

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:39 pm 
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Oh, Jess, what a truly horrifying thing to go through.

A version of this happened with a friend's horse (my tormenter/buddy/ beloved teacher David the TB, for those of you who've met him through my stories) a while back.

Her neighbors had an acquaintance who wanted to play with a horse -- so they, unbeknownst to David's owner (for want of a better quick word) told this guy he should just feel free to go and work David if he wanted.

My friend arrived one day to find a complete stranger chasing David around at a dead flat gallop in the arena in the middle of the day in 100 degree heat... :ieks:

Why ANY of them thought this was appropriate is beyond me -- mind-boggling.

My friend ripped him one and called the cops...

This was bad enough, but to not be able to find Grenny is the worst. I can only imagine how frightened you were! I'm so sorry -- but I'm so glad that he's okay.

:pet:

(And don't worry about venting -- I think when we get violated like that, and/or someone we love gets violated like that, we need to let it out or all of the fear and anger that comes up can get toxic in our systems! Hearing each other, comforting each other, celebrating each other are all things this herd does really well!) :)

:kiss:
Leigh

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 2:02 am 
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:huh: :ieks: :evil: :evil: :yes: :clap: :kiss:

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 5:50 am 

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Hello there. This is a very emotional subject for me, so I'm not sure I shouldn't just stay away. I feel like this because almost always when I have encountered people talking about being the alpha/leader/whatever term they chose, even when they had seemed kind, what it actually meant was they that they did some really harsh things, and saw every tiny move their horse made as them trying to be dominant, or "disrespectful" ( :evil: ) ... when it is nothing of the kind. But I don't think that's what any of you do.

I am just going to put my thoughts down. I have written a LOT on this subject over the years, often when I was feeling very angry and upset (I don't mean I ever attacked anyone! A lot of what I have written I have never shown anyone, it was just for myself, to get my thoughts in order and so I could get it out and not yell at anyone), so I fear I might have a certain way of writing that sounds like I am saying "This is right and you are wrong" I've tried not to in writing this today, but if I do PLEASE don't take it that way, I know that's not what this forum is about, and besides I think you are all great :f: :D :f: and agree with much of what has already been written here, even if I think of it in a different way to some of you.

I don't think we can be "equal" exactly, for the reasons other have already stated. I think I will just quote Romy's entire post here:

Quote:
I do not think that my horses and I are equal. For one we are very different beings, so where will it lead us to wonder about equality? We do share certain characteristics and we differ from each other in others. Our rights and tasks are shared according to this.

One of the things we share is that we are living beings and with that, besides our basic needs (food etc.), we need a certain amount of agency. So I am very careful neither to take away too much of theirs nor to completely give away mine.

But there are many diffences between us as well. I try to incorporate them into our living together so that everyone decides according to what is beneficial for him (and us!) and according to his judging capacities. I do know more about the human-dominated environment we are living in, so I am responsible to watch for our safety. My horses do not know that it is dangerous to run around freely with all the streets and cars, so I keep them in a pasture unless I am with them.

They know more about their own feelings and capabilities, so they have a huge share in deciding about what we are doing together in our work and play. I do not know by myself what exercises they can/want to do at any given moment, so I make suggestions but the decision is theirs. We train at liberty (or with a lunge line around the neck when we are outside) and they can decide what they want to do and what they don´t want.

And then there are things that we decide together or where we are taking turns, because each of us is capable of making good decisions about that – like where to go on our walks.

I am not sure how much practical implications the question about being equal or not being equal has. For me the question is more how to make the best out of the life we have – and that means that I don´t ask myself that much if it is their or my right to decide about certain things, but to ask who can make the better decision in a given situation. We don´t have the same knowledge, so we don´t have the same rights. But, and that´s the important point for me, we both do have rights and spheres of competence. Maybe more because we are different than because we are equal.


Yes, this!

Okay. Now for my own thoughts. I can go in with my horses, even when they are all together in a herd, even when we had more than 7 and they were all in a group, I don't have to have any sort of attitude. This is not just with these, but the same with other horses and herds I have got to know. I don't even have to be confident. Even if I'm feeling very anxious and scared of everything that day, at least one of them (usually Holly) will come up and be comforting. No one takes advantage of me not being confident, or anything else I might be feeling. This is even with horses who used to kick/bite/charge etc like Bonnie. (Of course, when I first get a new horse, I will not go in with them feeling less than calm and confident, because I have no idea what their experiences have been and how they might react to that.)

In fact, the only times I have ever been in REAL danger from dangerous horses attacking, WAS when I was thinking I should be dominant/leader, going towards them with an attitude, making them (even in a gentle way) do something, or driving them away when they charged. I have also had horses charge at me because of their extreme fear of humans, because they had been so terribly abused. I used to do the same thing Jess does, lift my energy/stand my ground. Then I would drive them away if that didn't stop them - with one mare I felt it was a life or death thing, (and not just a kick or strike, I felt she wanted to attack and attack until she stomped someone into the ground) her view of humans was that bad.

It 'worked' (some of the time), but it was just proving that yes, human approaching = bad things happening. We were getting trust in other areas, slowly, but that wasn't helping. Nor was it actually stopping the charging or threatening to kick for good.

An old, very very experienced horseman gave this advice, for the extremely dangerous mare: WALK AWAY. But surely, I thought, this would let her know she could push me around? Well, no. Not at all, because it was nothing to do with that. An old horseman of all people is not someone I would have expected to say, listen to the horse telling you she is not comfortable with you being there. Especially when she was telling it in such a violent way, old horsemen (most horse people!) in my experience tend to find even a much, much lower level of aggression completely unacceptable, whatever the reason. (And she was utterly terrifying and seriously dangerous. The look she would get in her eyes... :ieks: ) So, okay, next time she charged me I walked away. And every time after that. (But there weren't many because I started walking away before she got to the point where she needed to charge me.) Said "okay" as I was leaving, and left. I didn't run away scared, I just left. Magic happened. But not really magic, just her finally realising all people were not evil and would listen to her! She became SO much easier to deal with and less dangerous. This has had the same effect with others. I know it is possible to stop them charging etc by driving them away very strongly, especially in a roundyard, but I do not want to do that. And I don't need to. :D

I don't think that thinking like this makes me someone the horses can't turn to for protection or guidance. Quite the opposite. They will call out and tell us if something is wrong, and take us and show us what it is. And if the neighbours are on their bikes or the dogs are there and Bonnie gets scared she will scream out for one of us to go and stand with her. Mum can call out to Holly (from in the house, and Holly is across the road!) that it's okay, if a cattle truck goes by or parks out the front at the neighbours' place (she is terrified of them) and she will calm down. All kinds of things like that. So we are definitely something to them, I just don't think it can be the same as a horse-horse relationship. It isn't.

I don't feel I have any position or rank in their herd. I'm not IN their herd. I'm a human. We are a certainly a family, of humans and horses, but I don't think it is a herd. Can, and will I, protect my own person (or someone else, or another horse if they are being badly bullied) if necessary? Yes. (But in a lot of situations, as above, even when it might seem to be the only option, often I have found it isn't the best thing to do at all.) Would I make a horse move out of the path of an oncoming truck, even if they didn't want to? Obviously. (If my human friend was standing in the middle of the road and for some reason oblivious to the danger, and wouldn't listen to me, I'd grab their arm and pull, or push them out of the way too!) Have I held onto the lead or halter while I/vet/someone else gave medical treatment the horse didn't want? Yep. (Though I do prefer to use positive reinforcment and them choose to stand for treats if at all possible.) But this is (I so agree with you Romy!) a situational thing.

I can't be alpha/leader/anything like that. They don't think I'm a horse, they don't treat me anything like another horse, and I don't attempt to treat them as if I am another horse. Just because they have rankings (even though they are far more flexible than people think, Jess reading about what you have witnessed with this, I have found the same, and talked to others and read studies that have found this to be true, also) in their own lives as horses --- I don't believe this means that in their interactions with *another species* - humans - there has to be a rank like that. I think they are smarter than that. We are horses and humans getting along together as best we can, and they know this. But I also don't think that makes us "equal" depending on your definition of that. As others have said, how can we be exactly "equal" when we are so different, and also, yes - I keep them confined and I CAN have the final say on things. But again, these are such human things, nothing to do with a herd rank.

I do feel it is far more like a family, we are a little human/equine family with relationships that are not quite like horse/horse or human/human relationships or communication, but our own. And, when I have to decide something for them, it is as if they're children, which I think is a quite a lot different to "I am the boss and am going to make you do this because I am the boss". Or maybe I see it that way because my mum always was A PARENT and didn't feel the need to do things to "show she was the boss" like some of my friends parents did (like saying no to something because they could, as a show of authority, rather than for a reason). That always confused and frustrated me. I might not have always AGREED with my mum's reasons for not letting me do something, or been very happy about it, but she did not do frustrating and confusing things to prove to me that she could. Anyway, I am rambling and going off track a bit here. Though I think it is similar - I will only insist on something with the horses when it is necessary. Not to prove anything.

I know a lot (most?) of you have come from NHE, I did not and I know next to nothing about it, so I'm sorry if what I'm saying is anything like what they say. (I think someone said that they think the same re: humans are not horses?) These are just my own beliefs. I have, of course, been ridiculed every other time I have written anything like this and shown it to anyone. Also the ever so patronising, "you are only young, (when I was around 17; I'm 22 now, but that's still young, so go ahead..) you will realise you are wrong one day, probably when you get badly hurt" etc. etc. But my horses are fine, I am still alive, and in fact feel safer and safer with them every day.

I'm sorry if I sound defensive. That's what it is - defending my own views, not attacking anyone or even trying to argue. :sad: :sad: :sad: I'm just sharing my own personal thoughts and experiences, I hope that's clear. :sweat: OH and I'm VERY sorry for this being so long :ieks: if you have read all of this you deserve a medal. :applause:

:f:


Last edited by kate on Tue Mar 27, 2018 3:13 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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