Okay, even when I am embarrassed at the length of my other post, and worried about what I have written, it seems I cannot keep away.
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.
I agree that no one would "choose" someone who is abusive or a bully or dictator. That is, if they have a real choice. But the cruelest people I have ever known had dogs and horses that fawned all over them. Followed them everywhere. Could be 'free', loose, and did not leave. Sometimes the instinct of self preservation says that the best, the only safe thing to do is to stay with this person and do everything they ask, never hurt them or run away even if you have the (physical) opportunity to do so. And maybe even have ears up and look okay with it, if that is what they want. (But usually you can see in the eyes that they are not okay at all). And by 'cruelest people' I mean extremely cruel, not that they just used stronger pressure in their training than I would. I mean shockingly cruel.
But... I also think the same result can be achieved with methods that would perhaps not be considered 'cruel' by most, but are still very harsh. The horse realises that the best and only option is to behave in this certain way with the person. But it is not that they have chosen to do this because they like or trust them, even though it may look that way at a glance. (Of COURSE, I am not saying that anyone who uses pressure, and seems to have a relationship with their horse, has achieved it like that - I know people who use pressure and bits and lunge and do everything fairly traditionally, and do have truly wonderful relationships with their horses.)
Just an observation...
Indeed so. It might seem that they follow out of free will.
Maybe it seemed all Germans followed Hitler, all Russians love Stalin and all Belgians agreed with a King torturing and exploiding an African country....
The huger the fear, the more difficult it becomes to see a way to break free. Because if there is only the smallest chance, that one will not succed, the retribution will be to horrible to bare.
To more abuse we take, the less courage we have. And what about those left behind?
Think about women who are beaten up by their husbands. "Just leave him" everyone says... but appearantly, it is not that simple. Now would a massive eartquick not be a great chance to get away, let those behind think you died?
Horses, much like slaves, do not see a way out.
What if they do make a run for it? They know what is out there. Cars, buildings and more people, probably like the one they are dealing with now.
And this brings me to a question I ALWAYS get
(So thank you for bringing this up):
"If you let a horse free like you do, let him decide if he obliges or not, then you will be in serious trouble when there is a life treathening situation where you horse HAS to obey. For instance in traffic or when he is broken free".
I get that constantly.
And my reply is this:
First of all, I can not believe a human can have a 100% control over a horse as a horse simply outnumbers a human at least 5 to 10 times by weight alone. So it does not really matter if the horse is very obedient, it is never a 100% water tight. Look at all the 'accidents' around the world everyday. Mostly with horses who are really obedient all the time and do not seem to have a mind of their own. And all of a sudden they spoke and run off... leaving a human very hurt on the ground.
Second, if one does not force a horse into anything, but offers the horse the choice to find out if the chooses we humans make are of benefit for him, and they actual are.... Then the trust kicks in.
Communication starts and if we are lucky, even love.
When that point is reached, it is an ongoing process of learning to know and trust each other.
If one truely experiences over the years, that an other ALWAYS not only means well, but actually DOES well;
The moment panick rises, the horse will turn to that person. Just as any human would to such a person. Who do you go to when disaster strikes?
One you love and trust and never forced you into anything?
Or those who can make you do anything because you dare not say no?
Now the other way around. When one is always forced to take the decissions of a dominant person, be it good or bad for you...
The moment panic arises, you will not even hear that person, or you shall take advantage of the fact that you can finally really get away.
Even if it could mean sudden death (for you or that person)... you do not care, freedom is all you can think of. And it is normal, instinct takes over, to safe you.
Certain memories come to mind. The one where Owen and I were at a clinic and he broke free from the paddock and was running towards the road when people called me. I ran outside and I saw him go... I screamed with every ounce of love and fear I had in my soul, I screamed his name: OWEN!!!!
He stopped death, turned and came running to me...
To the auditors astonishment...
When my first horse love Jimmy was in the hospital fighting for his live, with a survival chance of 10%, the professor who handled the case said with an astonished face:
"I never incountered a horse which fights so hard for his life!
Normally, they give up really fast. But this one keeps fighting. I am a man of science. But for the first time I am wondering if this one maybe has something to fight for... something he longs to return to?"
I believe that be it man or animal, we can be prisoners of our own fear. because of the instinct of selfpreservation, and often because we want to protect others in the same situation, especially horses being herd animals.
I believe that selfrespect and love for our self and others can set us free, as soon as the occasion arises.
And it always does... sooner or later.