Ania, just out of curiosity: Do you have that with humans as well, that you think they should not be interacted with unless you are strong and have no emotions? Or do you think that horses are especially labile, whereas other creatures can cope?
For me it depends from various factors
It depends on whether we are dealing with a domesticated horse "educated" in the classic way or horse "educated" by other methods, how was he ridden or wans't he, who had contact with him, who was his owner, etc. Or it depends how many times a horse changed ownership, grew up in the reserve or from the childhood he was taught by a man. If he was/is at big herd how possition he had/has, how much he is sensitive and how many behavior belongs to him and how many been taught by man.
Classic hippotherapy horse is a very quiet horse, always (for safety for people). This horse will not pay attention to the fact that someone yells near him or behaving "strangely". But the first question that comes to my mind is "why he is so quiet?".
And I know that something is going on here, here is something quite unnatural here because "normal, happy and full of life" horse doesn't have that's behavior.
Concerning horses for therapy, I have no experiences with this. But I see that at our pasture almost every new kid comes with some not so social traits and after having been there for a while he becomes not only happy but also more prosocial with the horses and the other children. This makes me doubt that you have to be the perfect person before being able to get close to horses in the first place. But then I guess it's easier at my place because nobody has to be the horses' leader, and as a friend you are allowed to be imperfect (although I use this word in a very simplified sense here, as for me the strong leader type is everything but perfect).
Romy, this is not the same as horse therapy is. You have horses in herd, they are together, right? And they live together, right? And when someone come to you and you take him and go to your pasture, in my opinion there everything is ok. A man does not have to be a leader in your place, because the horses are in their herd. I really would like to that Eagala could be on open pastures, in reserves. Why they don't take people to reserves where half-wild horses lives? Why they don't show to people who the horses really are? To danger? Because there nobody can cuddle and caress them? Because the truth is so teribble that is better to take 2 or 3 horses from the herd, make them on mascots and pets and show illusions for people? And tell to people how much horses loves us? How much they want to help us? Oh please...my adventure with horses lasts more than 20 years and I saw many things, I experienced many things and I know that the true is not the same as people created
I do not blame the people, do not blame the sick, the weak, depression, autism, disabilities. It's not their fault. Their intentions are always honest and good. They just are not aware of the whole truth of the equine horse business and others shoved them in a world of illusion.
I am absolutely certain that horses can sense humans' emotions, and also that they are much better at that than the other way around. However, I do not think that this precludes interacting with them when not feeling good. Humans also sense when another human feels sad, but this does not necessarily mean that they suffer from this. They can also make him feel better, and this can even be very rewarding. However, I have no idea to what degree it can be rewarding for a horse to make someone feel good. But as long as they are free to leave the situation whenever they want, I do not worry about this. Usually they know better what is good for them than I do, at least in terms of these interaction things.
At the first link I showed you how much the influence the human heartbeat rhythm and pulse has on the horse's heart and his pulse. Emotions are always associated with an increase or decrease in heart rate and pulse. It is scientifically proven and this is not mere conjecture.
Like I said before, you can go with sad, with angry, with depression to big pasture where is a lot of horses, you can go to reserve and be with these horses. But if someone decided to take one or two horses from their herd then should leave his grief at home and makes himself strong and calm for the horse.
As I am a psychologist and do research on the "implicit" coordination between people (e.g. how another person's actions affect our own), empathy is a concept that is quite familiar to me - or especially the underlying mechanisms such as the mental simulation of another person's actions and mental states. However, from that background I also know that these things depend on a mapping of what we see in the other one onto our own system. For example, people cannot simulate (and thus "feel") an action that is not part of their own repertoire, and they get better at this simulation the more experience they gain in performing (not just observing
) actions in the specific domain.
What this means is that we never directly understand the other one but understand how WE feel when we act in a similar way. And as this ability depends so much on being similar to the other one, I doubt that it is possible to know what a horse feels. Actually I doubt that it is possible to know what anyone feels. I think that this will always be our very own interpretation, and therefore probably has more to do with ourselves than the "true feelings" of the other one.
Please don't get me wrong
I don't think that I have some special gift
But my empathy this is what I have learned by all my life, I was not born with this, and this is not a vision
I just understand that the horse is a herd animal and that healthy horse is full of life, is interesting in new things and easy express hisself, not afraid to speak. I can see if horse is only is sleeping and resting or he does not have the will to live. And knowing this makes that it is easy to put me in his situation and understand him better. It is not difficult, and I think everyone can learn it, provided that nobody will be capable human qualities for horses
They just want to help children who need it- and who better to help them than horses?
I think that it is possible to can come up with an alternative. I dream of opening a center for addicts and for children from dysfunctional families, because I come from the same family. Animals, horses can help people but I think in a different way
And for me this is big big difference:
change yourself for a horse that he could have better life and change yourself via the horse by using him to own ambitions