Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Horse Sense: can it be taught?

The "Fugly Horse of the Day" blog is always an entertaining, educational, and occasionally frustrating read. Today she poses the question: Is 'horse sense' a totally natural thing that's just instinctive, or can it be taught? The Natural Horsemanship people, like the infamous Pat Parelli, seem to think so. I think it's instinctive, but that the "animal reading" instincts can be further developed with proper training and learning from old hands. For instance, I'm pretty good with animals, but I have a huge amount to learn when it comes to reading and handling horses. What's saved my bacon so far is patience and freedom from the fear that I'll hurt their wittle feewings if I slap (flat of the hand), poke (finger, elbow), or growl at them for bad behaviour.

1 comment:

ornerie said...

I think we're hard wired with some horse sense...we're predators with a long history of pack behavior after all. some of that translates. big posturing works on horses as well as it works on slimey salesmen in bars :)

and some can be taught. WHY does my horse rub on me? HOW do I tell him its not ok without making him fearful? When is he pulling my chain and when is he really scared?

but I think some of it can only be learned through experience and by being the type of person who will listen to the horse. they are usually pretty good about telling you when they're unhappy, but you have to be receptive enough to hear it.

or so I see it...